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's work health safety (WHS) 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.

This publication does not deal with every important topic or change in law and is not intended to be relied upon as a substitute for legal or other advice that may be relevant to the reader's specific circumstances. If you have found this publication of interest and would like to know more or wish to obtain legal advice relevant to your circumstances please contact one of the named individuals listed.