Legal Updates – Regulations for Hazardous Chemical Agents 2021

The long expected OHS Bill will be out for public comment soon.

Having seen previous drafts of the Bill we expect penalties to increase from R100 000 to approximately R 1.5 Million for serious contraventions.

In March 2021 we say the promulgation of the “Regulations for Hazardous Chemical Agents”, the previous Hazardous Chemical Substance Regulations 2008 have been repealed.

The new Hazardous Chemical Agents Regulations contains alot of the previous content with some new focus areas such as alignment with the GHS (Globally Harmonised System)

In short but not limited to:

  1. Definitions – “hazardous chemical agent” or ‘HCA’ means a GHS-aligned chemical agent as provided for in Annexure 1
  2. Scope of application of the Regulations -Subject to the provisions of sub-regulation (2), these regulations apply (a) an employer or a self-employed person who carries out work at a workplace which may expose any person to an HCA at the workplace; and (b) a manufacturer, importer, supplier or retailer of an HCA that is intended for use at a workplace.
  3. Information, Instruction and Training – the employer must provide training in particular through the SDS – Safety Data Sheet
  4. Duties of Persons Who may be Exposed to Hazardous Chemical Agents – employees must obey any lawful order
  5. Assessment of Exposure – assess HCA risks by any route of intake (every 2 years)
  6. Air Monitoring – where HCA is airborne develop a monitoring programme (to be done by an AIA – approved inspection authority)
  7. Medical Surveillance – employees must be subject to medical surveillance if exposed to certain listed HCA’s or where an identified disease may occur under the working conditions
  8. Respirator Zone – required where restricted limits are exceeded for an HCA
  9. Records – Air monitoring records to be retained for 30 years and 3 years for relevant investigations
  10. Control of Exposure to Hazardous Chemical Agents – defines the hierarchy of controls to be applied to manage HCA
  11. Personal Protective Equipment and Facilities – defines requirements for PPE , respirators and facilities
  12. Maintenance of Control Measures – controls must be implemented and maintained
  13. Prohibitions – may not use compressed gas to coal HCA, no smoking, eating or drinking when using or exposed to HCA
  14. Classification, Labelling, Packaging & Disclosure – linked to GHS
    • Safety Data Sheets – SDS must be GHS compliant and include all 16 points
    • Labelling of Hazardous Chemical Agents – Manufacturers, importers , resellers , suppliers must ensure suitable labelling of HCA
    • Packaging of Hazardous Chemical Agents – Must be in sound condition, legible labelling, comply with NRTA
    • Disclosure of Ingredient Identity – As per the SDS
  15. Disposal of Hazardous Chemical Agents – Must be read in conjunction with the Waste Classification Regulations and the Norms & Standards for waste to landfill
  16. Offence and Penalties – 6 months imprisonment and R 500 per day