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CHEMICAL SAFETY IN SCHOOLS

Chemical safety is an important issue for schools. 

All schools need to manage hazardous chemicals as per the WHS Regulations. This includes maintaining a hazardous chemicals register and holding current Safety Data Sheets (SDSs) for each hazardous chemical and ensuring all containers are appropriately labelled.

Some examples of where you may find chemicals in schools:

Staff areas and kitchens - washing up liquid, dishwasher chemicals.
Laboratories -  various laboratory chemicals.
Art classrooms - paints, solvents, glues.
Technical classrooms - solvents, stains, glues. 
Photography dark rooms - developers, fixatives.
Cleaner's storerooms - cleaning detergents, bleaches, drain cleaners.
Maintenance sheds / rooms - petrol, paints, spray paints, oils.
Swimming pools - acids, chlorine.

Science and Technology

The Science K-10 syllabus, which incorporates Science and Technology K- 6, states that "A student's sense of wonder and curiosity about the natural and made world is fostered through actively engaging in the processes of Working Scientifically and Working Technologically". While schools foster learning through practical activities, they must also meet work health and safety (WHS) obligations as a business.

An example of a risk assessment template is provided in word format to support the recording and documenting of the risk management process in the context of science and technology. 

Guidance

We have developed some guidance documents and checklists which may assist schools in managing the risks associated with hazardous chemicals in the workplace.


Chemwatch GoldFFX

AIS provides member schools with access to the Chemwatch program GoldFFX. The program is used for managing chemicals and contains a database of Safety Data Sheets (SDSs), both the vendor SDS and Chemwatch's generic ones.

Web address:
https://jr.chemwatch.net/chemwatch.web

The existing school user identification and password can be accessed by the principal when logged into the AIS website at 'My Profile' > 'ChemFFX Credentials'.
Chemical Safety in Schools (CSIS) Package

The AIS has negotiated with the DET to make the CSIS package available in PDF format. As this document was written with reference to the Occupational Health and Safety Act 2000, Hazardous Substances Regulation 1996 and Dangerous Goods legislation; care should be taken to review this in line with the new Work Health and Safety Act and Regulation 2011 and pending changes to the Globally Harmonised System for the Classification and Labelling of Hazardous Chemicals. Refer to legislation links above.

Sections 2.1 -2.3 and Appendix C relate to the use of the CD's that were provided with the package. Due to technology changes and the age of this document these are no longer relevant and the sections are not found included herein. Chemwatch GoldFFX is the latest software package and is available for member school's use as per above.