Chemicals manufactured or imported before 1 January 2017 can continue to be supplied without needing to meet the labelling requirements of the model Work Health and Safety Regulations.


The Globally Harmonised System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS) officially begins in Australia on January 1, 2017.


There were concerns among chemical suppliers and manufacturers about having to update labelling for chemical products that had already been manufactured or imported before the end of 2016.


However, Safe Work Australia CEO Michelle Baxter has confirmed that these products can continue to display the existing labels which met requirements prior to 2017.


“From 1 January next year, hazardous chemicals may only be supplied to other workplaces without GHS labelling if they were manufactured or imported on or before 31 December 2016, and were correctly labelled at that time,” she said.

“This approach will ensure a smooth transition to the globally harmonised system, or GHS, and will avoid an unnecessary burden on suppliers to re-label existing chemical stock.”

However, it’s important to remember that any chemicals manufactured and supplied in Australia from January 1, 2017 must have labelling which meets GHS requirements under the Model WHS Regulations.

“In 2017, manufacturers and importers operating under harmonised work health and safety laws must label their hazardous chemicals in accordance with the GHS under the model WHS Regulations,” said Ms Baxter.

“I encourage all suppliers to accept only correctly labelled stock from this point forward.”

New South Wales has also provided an exemption for ag-vet products, on the proviso their labelling is in English and meets APVMA requirements. Any agricultural or veterinary products manufactured or imported from January 1, 2018 will need to have GHS-compliant labelling. South Australia has also clarified that schedule 4 and 8 veterinary products are exempt from the new regulations as they are already subject to restricted controls.

Workplaces in the Northern Territory also have some extra time to comply, with Worksafe NT recommending that you ensure you only buy correctly GHS-labelled and classified products from June 30, 2017.

For advice and consultation on your labels, contact us at, or visitWorksafe Australia for more information about GHS.