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December 2015/January 2016

Workplace exposure standards for hazardous chemicals

By Safe Work Australia

Have your say

Safe Work Australia’s Chief Executive Officer, Michelle Baxter, is urging interested parties to express their views about exposure standards for hazardous chemicals used in workplaces in a public consultation process.

Exposure standards refer to the airborne concentration of individual chemicals in the worker’s breathing zone, which, according to current knowledge, should not cause adverse health effects or undue discomfort to nearly all workers.

Exposure standards are specified in the model Work Health and Safety Regulations as mandatory legal limits to protect the health of workers and minimise exposure to chemicals in the workplace. There are some 644 exposure standards, as listed in Workplace exposure standards for airborne contaminants.

‘Safe Work Australia is holding the public consultation process to examine the role of workplace exposure standards and how they could be reviewed and maintained,’ said Baxter.

‘All interested parties are encouraged to express their views about exposure standards by making a submission in response to The role of chemical exposure standards in work health and safety laws: discussion paper.

‘This is an excellent opportunity for workers and businesses using, storing, handling and generating hazardous chemicals, and any other interested stakeholders, to comment. We want to hear your thoughts on the use of exposure standards, the impacts of compliance, their role in the regulatory framework and how they can best be reviewed and maintained.

‘The input received through this public consultation process will help inform policy options for the regulation of workplace exposure standards,’ said Baxter.

The public consultation period is open for six weeks from 9 November 2015 until 18 December 2015. Submissions close at 5.30 pm AEDT, Friday 18 December 2015.

You can read the discussion paper and submit your views via the Safe Work Australia public submissions website:

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