Introduction

Toxic substances include any chemicals, mixtures and articles that can pose a significant risk to health and safety if not managed and handled correctly. The substances may induce adverse health effects or present physical hazards or both.

Examples of toxic substances that can cause adverse health effects include:

  • Toxic chemicals – when ingested or inhaled
  • Chemicals, such as acids, that cause skin damage when unprotected skin is exposed
  • Carcinogens such as asbestos that have a long term impact when exposed

Examples of chemicals that can immediately injure people or damage property include:

  • Flammable liquids
  • Compressed gases including those held at low temperatures
  • Explosives

Businesses and research laboratories have specific duties under WHS regulations to manage the risks to health and safety associated with generating, handling, transporting and storing hazardous chemicals in the workplace. These include:

  • Ensuring correct labelling of containers and pipework and lockable storerooms, using approved warning placards and displaying safety signs.
  • Maintaining a register of toxic substances and notifying the appropriate regulator if manifest quantities of hazardous chemicals are stored.
  • Identifying any risk of physical or chemical reaction of toxic substances and ensuring their safe containment and stability.
  • Ensuring workplace exposure standards for toxic substances are not exceeded.
  • Providing information, training, instruction, safe handling equipment (e.g. gloves) and supervision to workers, and where relevant, providing health monitoring.
  • Providing a precautionary spill containment system for toxic substances
  • Obtaining the current safety data sheet (SDS) from the manufacturer, importer or supplier of the toxic substance.
  • Controlling ignition sources such as naked flames, and being aware of the accumulation of flammable and combustible substances.
  • Providing fire protection equipment, firefighting equipment and emergency and safety equipment, such as alarms, neutralising substances, breathing apparatuses and hazmat suits.

Businesses must also manage risks associated with using, moving, storing or disposing of toxic substances at a workplace. These risks should be minimised and reviewed periodically, taking into consideration the following:

  • The hazardous properties of the toxic substance.
  • Any potentially hazardous reaction (chemical or physical) between the substance and another chemical or mixture.
  • The nature of the work to be carried out with the hazardous chemical.
  • Any structure, plant or system of work that is needed in the use, handling, generation or storage of the toxic substance.

Failure to manage the risks associated with hazardous chemicals is a breach of model WHS laws.

At the bottom of this profile are brief details of a number of the experts that Expert Experts represents. Call our office to discuss your requirements and to obtain a recommendation that suits your needs and budget.

Expertise in Action

Employers are required to take reasonable steps to manage health and safety risks associated with toxic substances and dangerous goods for workers.

If an incident involving toxic substances occurs within a workplace, a hazardous materials (HAZMAT) response team may be required to respond. A response team is comprised of hazardous material experts who specialise in detecting, containing and removing any release or potential release of hazardous substances in order to control or stabilise an incident.

Our experts in this area are specialists in the analysis, treatment, storage, transport, disposal of and containment of toxic substances. They can offer opinions on the appropriate response in the event of an incident and also provide opinions in legal cases involving dangerous goods.

Sample Reports

For some fields of expertise we have some sample sections of de-identified reports. Please contact our office if you are interested in a sample.

Cost

The overall cost of expert opinion depends on the services required. Some of the key factors that affect the cost of advice include:

  • The need for a view or inspection of a location
  • The quantity of documentary material to be reviewed
  • Whether there are reports of other experts to be reviewed and commented on in detail
  • Whether there is a need for conferences with the expert either in person or by telephone/Skype
Relevant Articles Model Work Health and Safety Regulations (2016)

This is a consolidated version of the Model Work Health and Safety Regulations. These Regulations are a national model law and are intended to provide the basis for nationally consistent work health and safety laws.

Workplace safety - hazardous substances

This article lists some common hazardous substances and their side effects as well as outlining some guidance in how to manage them in the workplace.

Relevant Cases Inspector Cook v State of New South Wales (NSW Police Force) [2013] NSWIRComm 114

In 2009 police officers were conducting an audit of drug exhibits in a drug vault. In the course of the audit the officers were exposed to safrole and methylamphetamine and suffered irritation and burning sensation to their eyes, nose and throat.

Related Blog Articles

Profiles of Experts in Ergonomics - Toxic substances, smoke, fumes, gases and dangerous goods

Below are short profiles of a few experts with expertise in this field. Please contact our office to discuss your specific requirements and to obtain a recommendation that suits your needs and budget. Expert Experts are experts in finding the right expert for your needs and you pay no more to use Expert Experts than if you searched and found the expert yourself.

  • #ID1996

Chemical Engineer / Safety, Health and Environment

ID1996 has more than 30 years’ experience as a Chemical Engineer with expertise in safety, health and environmental issues, dangerous goods, hazardous chemicals, process reviews and project management across a vast array of industries.


  • #ID12521

Dangerous Goods and Chemical Safety

ID12521 is a workplace safety consultant with expertise in relation to dangerous goods and chemicals. He is extremely well-versed in the interpretation of state, national and international legislation and codes relating to the storage, handling, transport and use of such substances.


  • #ID12286

WHS - Safety and Emergency Response Consultant

​ID12286 has a career spanning more than two decades, initially within emergency response and he now owns and operates a highly successful international consultancy firm specialising in high risk workplace WHS/OHS.


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