Fact Sheet 8: Hazardous Substances – Employers’ Responsibilities

The OHS regs outline 10 major responsibilities for employers who allow the use of hazardous substances in their workplaces.


What this means for you

Employers must:


  • Obtain a material safety data sheet (MSDS) (Section 162)
  • Make sure containers are appropriately labelled (Section 163)
  • Make sure hazardous substances are properly used (Section 164)
  • Monitor employees’ health if they are exposed to hazardous substances (Section 165)

EXAMPLE: The monitoring, or surveillance, must be carried out by a WorkCover authorised medical practitioner and any expenses associated with the monitoring should be met by the employer. This may include biological monitoring if necessary

  • Keep a register of hazardous substances (section 167)

EXAMPLE: A register must include a list of all hazardous substances at the workplace and all MSDS. This must be made readily accessible to all employees and there may need to be kept for a specified number of years. For asbestos a register must be kept for 30 years.


  • Make risk assessments and record assessed risks (Section 168)
  • Keep a record of carcinogenic substances (Section 169)
  • Provide personal protective equipment (PPE) (Section 15) and tell employees about any limitations of the PPE (Section 15b)
  • Obtain information about risks (Section 16) and provide it to workers.
  • Provide emergency arrangements (Section 17), including:
    o Safe evacuation
    o Emergency communications
    o Appropriate medical treatments

This fact sheet can be downloaded as a Word document at the bottom of this page and printed out for distribution. Please note the download process can take up to five minutes on some computers

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Click here to download Fact Sheet 8: Hazardous Substances – Employers’ Responsibilities

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