A globally integrated supply chain is essential to worldwide chemical manufacturing. Australian Chemical Manufacturers import many chemicals from other countries due to price advantage and availability.

Some imported chemicals are used as raw materials for the manufacture of other chemicals others are rebranded or distributed by the importer for the Australian market. It is important to note that as an importer of chemicals you become responsible for compliance with Australian WHS regulations, including the accuracy and content of the Safety Data Sheet (SDS) for the imported product.

Many manufacturers remain unaware of the obligations to ensure that Safety Data Sheets for imported products are aligned with Australian requirements. Safety Data Sheet databases are often full of SDSs with a foreign manufacturer/supplier name, address, and telephone number. Simply filing away an imported product’s SDS and making it available for workers is not enough to satisfy Australian regulations.

Under WHS Regulations, a business that packages or re-labels a hazardous chemical with its own product name is a manufacturer and has the same duties as other manufacturers. From 1 January 2023, you must use GHS 7 to classify hazardous chemicals and to prepare labels and SDS. The obligations are briefly summarized below.

  1. The importer automatically becomes the responsible party.
  2. The importer is responsible for compliance with the GHS-7 and must include their name and address on the SDS and label.
  3. The importer is responsible for SDS information and for providing any updates to labels and SDSs.
  4. An employer who imports hazardous chemicals for use in their own workplace is responsible for conducting a hazard classification of the chemical, producing the SDS and appropriate label, and all other applicable provisions of the standard.

The Responsibility of Chemical Importers

Chemical importers must understand they are responsible for Hazard Communication, hazard classification, and SDS compliance. Safety Data Sheets for imported products should be reviewed and reauthored, when necessary, for OSHA compliance. Hazard classification criteria and the extent of GHS adoption are variable across global jurisdictions. Trusting the accuracy of a Safety Data Sheet, authored in another country, is a risky business. Knowing your obligations as a chemical importer will avoid OSHA infractions and ensure that workers are protected.

Lupin Systems can assist chemical importers navigate safety data sheets and safety regulations.