Chemical use must comply with WHS laws

Use of chemicals in the workplace: Are you complying with Queensland's Work Health Safety laws?

Agribusiness
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Primary producers must ensure their chemical use complies with Queensland's Work Health Safety laws.

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Kylie Wilson

Kylie Wilson

Chemicals have long been used in primary production.

For example, most in the dairy industry use a variety of chemicals for cleaning, treating animals, controlling pests, applying as fertilisers and in some cases adding to feed. Various crops require a multitude of useful herbicides, insecticides and pesticides.

Overall, the responsible use of chemicals in these industries is beneficial to both primary producers and consumers.

But these chemicals can be dangerous and increased enforcement of Queensland Work Health Safety laws mean that the safe use, handling, and storage of chemicals in the workplace is more essential than ever.

Under WHS laws, the primary responsibility rests with the employer to do whatever is reasonably practicable to eliminate or minimise health and safety risks arising from their business or undertaking.

But it's important to note that WHS obligations also extend to workers, who have a duty to take reasonable care for their own health and safety, and who must not adversely affect the health and safety of others.

What that means is if there is a comprehensive system in place, which is properly communicated to the workers, then the workers themselves are responsible for adhering to that system.

Hazardous chemical safe storage checklist:

Every primary producer who uses chemicals in their business should ask themselves the following to assess compliance with work health and safety obligations when storing hazardous chemicals:

  • Is the chemical hazardous and if so, how?
  • What are the risks and what measures are currently in place?
  • How can I control the risks?
  • What administrative controls can be used?
  • Do I have the necessary personal protective equipment?
  • Are there additional mandatory measures under work health and safety laws for my chemicals?
  • Have I monitored and reviewed my control measures?
  • Do I need to ask more questions?

Complying with work health and safety laws can be confusing but it is essential to ensure that the right practices and procedures are in place to comply with these laws. If you are concerned about the measures you must take, you should seek legal advice, or consult Workplace Health and Safety Queensland.

  • Kylie Wilson is a partner at Holding Redlich. The information in this publication is of a general nature and is not intended to address the circumstances of any particular individual or entity. Please contact Holding Redlich at www.holdingredlich.com or call 07 3135 0500 for further information.
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