ACTED - Chemicals in Australia

Some terms used in chemical regulations

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Accessible information

No difficulty or undue delay is experienced either directly, or if necessary, information obtained on request by the supervisor of an employee, or by the workplace representative.


Acute Effect

A toxic effect which occurs immediately or shortly after a single exposure.


Acute Toxicity

Acute toxicity, means a toxic effect which occurs immediately or shortly after a single exposure. Contrast to chronic toxicity. It does not indicate the severity, only the duration of exposure.


Additive effect

The combined toxic effect of the combination is equal to the simple sum of each individual component (ie. 1+2=3). An example is organophosphate insecticides.


Adequate information

Information on the foreseeable risks to health and safety of persons. To include information about the nature and conditions required to ensure the substance is safe including, if relevant, warnings if the substance is not to be used in a certain way.


ADG Code

Australian Code for the Transport of Dangerous Goods by Road and Rail. As a Code, it provides basis for State Governments to provide legislation for packaging, marking, transport and storage of dangerous goods.



A suspension of liquid or solid particles in the air. The term includes mists and fumes, which are generated from the gaseous state by condensation, smoke which is a dispersion of carbon particles in air, and dust-clouds. Not to be confused with an aerosol pack/can, which are sometimes incorrectly referred to as `aerosols'.


Aerosol Pack (Can)

Usually a small metal can containing liquids, powders or pastes with propellants which discharge the contents through a valve system. Aerosols may contain flammable, toxic or corrosive substances. Whilst individual dispensers are marked in accordance with AS 2278 including the appropriate class label, combination packagings are marked and handled as Class 9 Dangerous Goods.



Australian Government Publishing Service, operates the Commonwealth Bookshops retailing Australian Government publications.


Alcohol (Resistant) Foam

An extinguishing medium which is resistant to ketones and esters which could break down other types of foam.



In relation to plant means to change the design, add or remove from plant if it may affect health or safety. It does not include routine maintenance, repairs or replacements.



The amount is the aggregate of litres of liquids and/or mass in kilograms. WA legislation defines the amount as the (unitless numeric) sum of the capacity and quantity.



Where the toxic effect of a substance reduces the combined effect of the two substances (ie. 1+2=1). An example is methanol and ethanol.



A specific treatment for chemical exposure.



API followed by group of numerals refers to a standard or a code of the American Petroleum Institute.




A description of the substance in physical terms.


Approved Name

Used in the SUSDP, the Approved Name is defined in Part 1 in terms of options depending whether for therapeutic use or not.



An item with specific shape, surface or design and end function according to its shape and undergoes no chemical or physical change during the end use (ie. excludes particles and fluids, and substances). Defined in the National Code.




AS followed by a group of letters and/or numerals, refers to the appropriate Australian Standard published by the Standards Association of Australia.



A substance which, as a gas or vapour, can cause suffocation due to a lack of oxygen.



A common antidote for organophosphate pesticides, such as malathion, which affect the nervous system.


Autoignition Temperature

The lowest temperature at which a flammable gas or vapour in an air mixture will ignite from its own heat source with needing a spark or flame.


Biological Exposure Index

A biological exposure index is defined by Worksafe as a warning level of biological response to a substance or agent, or warning level of the substance or agent or its metabolites in the tissues, fluids or exhaled air of an exposed worker.


Biological monitoring

Measurement of hazardous substances or metabolites in the body tissues, fluids or exhaled air.


Boiling Point (b.p.)

Indicates the temperature at which a liquid boils (changes from a liquid to a gas), normally at atmospheric pressure (101.3 kPa) unless a different pressure is stated.



See boiling point.



In relation to transport of Dangerous Goods,

Class 2, in container greater than 500 litres

Other than Class 2, in container being either,

< liquids or paste; greater than 500 litres, or

< solids greater than 400 kg.


Bulk Container

A container other than a packaging used for the storage or handling of dangerous goods.


Bulk Density

Also known as apblank density. A measure of density applied to powders. Refer density.


Bulk Depot

A depot within premises in which dangerous goods are stored in bulk.


Bulk Store

Used for storage of:

Gases, of Class 2 with a capacity exceeding 500 litres

Liquids or pastes in a container exceeding 250 litres

Solids in quantities exceeding 400 kilograms, but excluding packages.

Includes process vessels used in batch processes such as metal plating baths.



An embankment of earth or a wall to form a perimeter of a compound where dangerous goods are stored or manufactured. Also called a spill collection compound. Determined by State Dangerous Goods Regulations with requirements depending on the quantities, class and packaging group.



Is the internal volume of a receptacle closed as for transport.

WA legislation defines capacity as the water capacity of a receptacle used for liquids or gases measured in litres.



Cancer inducing



For the purpose of determining the needs for placarding, Hazchem identification etc., a category is the packaging group for each dangerous goods class, or if there is no packaging group for that class, the category is the class. Manifest category is a Class 2.3, Packaging Group I, or other dangerous goods class. (Class 1, explosives and Class 7 radio active substances are recommended for inclusion)


Chemical Abstracts Service Number (CAS RN or CAS No.)

An internationally recognised registration number assigned by the Chemical Abstracts Service to uniquely identify either a chemical, a group of similar chemicals or a mixture, (including a fortuitous mixture such as an oil refinery product).

The CAS Number (sometimes described as a Registry Number or RN) consists of up to nine digits and provides an accurate way for retrieving a substance from a computer database. The CAS number is simply a reference number and, unlike the UN number, cannot be linked to any particular chemical or physical properties.


Chronic Hazardous Substance

A class of dangerous goods used in Western Australia (Class 10 to become Class R) consisting of any substance n.e.s. which are carcinogenic, hazardous, mutagenic or teratogenic. Specific storage and handling procedures apply. See also Restricted Dangerous Substance.


Chronic Toxicity

A toxic effect which is demonstrated after repeated or prolonged exposure which need not occur immediately after cessation of exposure.



Refer Dangerous Goods class.


Class Labels

A diamond shaped warning system with a pictorial representation and indication of principal hazard. Refer ADG Code and AS 1216.


Cleaned free of dangerous goods

See Free of dangerous goods.



An abbreviated chemical name for carbon dioxide gas. It is also the common name used for the fire extinguishing medium using carbon dioxide stored in a cylinder.



Combination Packaging

Combination packages consist of an Outer Package and one or more Inner Packages. Inner Packages always have an outer package. Certain Packages meets specified criteria.



The process of burning.


Combustible liquid

A liquid with a flashpoint and a firepoint at a temperature less than the boiling point. There are two classes:

Class C1 - flashpoint of 150EC or less

Class C2 - flashpoint greater than 150EC (ie. greater than C2).


Commercially Confidential Information

Information which if released into the public domain, would commercially disadvantage a firm. Applied by the Commission to ingredient disclosure.



Means the substances do not react together to cause a fire, explosion, violent reaction or lead to the evolution of flammable gases or otherwise lead to injury to people or danger to property.


Competent Authority

Means an authority designated by the Government concerned. A list of Competent Authorities are provided in ADG Code Appendix 1.2 and Appendix 1.3 - Appendix 1.1 is relevant.


Competent person

Defined by the Commission as a person suitably qualified (by qualification, experience and/or training) to carry out the kind of work for which the person is required or engaged to perform the required task (to comply with the Standard/Code).


Composite Warning Placards

These placards are the same as Emergency Information Panels (EIPs as used for vehicles specified in ADG Code Section 3.7) excluding the lower section detailing the emergency information and specialist advice. They comprise of the Correct Technical name, UN No., Hazchem Code, class label and Sub-Risk (if any).



An area of land enclosed within a raised perimeter formed by the land contours of the surrounding land or by a bund. It is also a term to describe a chemical product.


Concentration cut-off level

A term used by the National Commission to assess whether a mixture containing hazardous substances is a hazardous substance for the purpose of labelling, MSDS and other purposes. Refer Approved Criteria for the Classification of Hazardous Substances produced by the National Commission.



The person who engages the prime contractor to transport the goods or the person who transports the goods.


Consumer package

A package intended for retail display and sale which may have been consolidated into a larger package for the purpose of transportation and distribution.



Means anything in or by which substances are partly contained, covered or packaged excluding the vehicle or freight container. Includes empty containers not free of the substance. The National Commission excludes tanks and bulk storage containers, as defined in the ADG Code from its definition of containers.


Correct Product Name

Refer Correct Technical Name for definition.


Correct Shipping Name

Refer Correct Technical Name for definition.


Correct Technical Name

In relation to dangerous goods, means the name as also specified in column 2 of section 9, and further detailed in section 1, of the ADG Code as the Correct Shipping Name; name of goods specified on the Schedule to the Standard for the Uniform Scheduling of Drugs and Poisons as published by the NHMRC; or a name commonly used in scientific and other literature to accurately identify the substance.


Corrosive substance

Classified by the Commission's Approved Criteria for Classifying Hazardous Substances.


Cryogenic Liquid

Class 2 good gases with a boiling point at atmospheric pressure of below -150/C and stored in liquid form at or near atmospheric pressure. Contrast to Liquefied Gas.



A container, which is designed to be refilled, with a capacity of more than 100 mL and less than 500 litres (ie. not a bulk container which are greater than 500 litres) for packaging Class 2 goods.


Dangerous Goods

To be identified as a Dangerous Good, a substance must meet the criteria of one of the classes of dangerous goods of the ADG Code or named in section 9 of the ADG Code including section 9.6 being goods too dangerous to be transported. Refer also Appendix of this guide. Not to be confused with the term hazardous substance (refer Appendix 1).

Dangerous goods also include empty packages and receptacles which have contained dangerous goods unless decontaminated or otherwise made free of dangerous goods.


Dangerous Goods Class

The Dangerous Goods class is a number assigned to a group of dangerous goods which exhibit a single or most significant risk by certain criteria. Dangerous goods have immediate effects and are explosive, flammable, corrosive, chemically reactive, highly combustible, acutely toxic, radio active or infectious. (Some hazardous substances are also classified as dangerous goods.)

Indicating the hazard and the predominant risk, the class assists to determine the response required in the event of an emergency. It also provides a basis for packaging, labelling, storing and moving goods. The dangerous goods class is allocated to a substance under the Australian Code for the Transport of Dangerous Goods by Road and Rail (ADG Code).

Where the substance has hazards in more than one class. ADG Code, paragraph 2.4.5 (or this Guide page 371) determines precedence (and Sub-Risk). The other class(es) are the Sub-Risk(s) of the substance.

Classes 1, 5.2, 6.2 and 7 always take precedence over the other hazards (and hence not included in the table).

For multiple risks or where there are Sub-Risks, the lowest value (most severe) packaging group applies to the goods.


Dangerous occurance (dangerous goods)

Any unintended significant loss of containment from a bulk vessel;

An unintended fire or unintended explosion;

Injuries to person or substantial damage to property or the environment; or

A significant and unintended loss of Packaging Group I or Class 2.3 Dangerous Goods.


Demountable Tank

A tank other than a tank container used to transport dangerous goods which is permanently attached to the vehicle carrying it.



Ratio of the mass of a substance to its volume and usually measure at 20EC and expressed as grams per cubic centimetre (g/cm3).



Skin - usually used in connection with absorption through skin (dermal absorption).



To reduce the potential of an item to that of the ground, normally by direct connection with a conductive cable or strap. It reduces the risk of static electricity discharges.



Effects are the outcome of exposure to substances via oral, dermal and the inhalation routes, in terms of being; acute lethal (ie. could cause death), non-lethal irreversible, (not likely to cause death but permanent effects could occur) severe, irritant, sensitising, carcinogenic, mutagenic and teratogenic. See also Appendix 2.



Transport Emergency Information Panels. (Used for vehicles and detailed in the ADG). See Composite Warning Placard.



An event which is dangerous or potentially dangerous to life, property or the environment which is the result of a leak, spill, fire or explosion of hazardous materials during transport, storage or handling.


Emergency Information Panel

A panel used on vehicles with dangerous goods aboard which provides the name of the goods and other details relevant in an emergency aimed at reducing the risk to persons and the environment.


Emergency Procedure Guide

These are documents required to be used by the transporter of dangerous goods and available from Standards Association of Australia as the AS 1678 series (described in AS 2931 - 1987).

There are two types; the product specific type (EPG) for a specified substance, and a group text type (GTEPG), indicated by an alphanumeric number, for product groups within each dangerous goods class. A group text GTEPG could substitute for a specific EPG. They should be indicated on the MSDS with their selection based on reference to ADG Code, section 9, column 6.


Emergency Services

Firefighting services and organisations with functional jurisdiction for emergency response.



A person working under contract of employment apprenticeship or traineeship.


Employee representative

Person elected to represent a group of employees on health and safety matters



A person or corporation, including self-employed, who employs persons (in contract of employment and traineeship)



For Outer Warning Placards, any entrances to premises for road and rail vehicles, and for Composite Warning Placards, all types of entrances used by people in any way (ie. including vehicles and on foot).



See Exposure Standard



Evaporation means the release of molecules from the liquid or solid. Evaporation decreases with increasing boiling point and can generally be regarded as negligible if the boiling point exceeds 350EC.


Evaporation rate (relative evaporation rate)

The time to evaporate a liquid compared (ie. as a ratio) to the time for the same volume of a reference liquid such as ethyl ether.


Exemption Limit

Is the maximum quantity of a dangerous substance for which no placarding is required. It depends on the dangerous goods class and packaging group. The greater the hazard, the lower the Exemption Limit.



Explosive substances decompose when triggered by sparks or friction, causing a chain reaction. Although such a decomposition is often attended by fire, the reaction does not need an external source of oxygen. A flammable vapour/air mixture is not an explosive.


Explosive Limits

See Flammability Limits



The intensity, frequency and duration of any contact with an agent that is present in the environment.


Exposure Standards (ES)

Exposure standards detail levels of airborne concentrations of substances which, according to current knowledge, does not impair the health, or cause discomfort to the workers. Exposure standards are generally expressed as a time-weighted average (TWA) concentration of a substance over an eight-hour working shift, and applied to an eight-hour day, for a five-day working week over an entire working lifetime. TWA permit excursions above the limit provided that they are compensated by equivalent excursions below the limit during the workday.

Worksafe has produced the publication, Exposure Standards for Atmospheric Contaminants in the Occupational Environment. Where no exposure standards have been allocated, acceptable overseas exposure standards may be used with the source clearly identified. It should be clearly recorded if no exposure standard has (yet) been allocated for the substance (and it should be understood that this does not mean that the product has a low hazard).




Premises used substantially for the purpose of agriculture, horticulture, viticulture, dairying, pastoral or similar activities.


Fire point

Applies to liquids to indicate the temperature at which the substance first evolves enough vapour to sustain burning for at least 5 seconds in an open container. Measured and defined by IP 36/84 Open Cup method. This temperature is usually higher than the flash point.


Fire resistance

The minimum fire resistance rating of a item of construction (eg. door or wall) and measured by AS 1530, Part 4 in a grading measured in minutes. Measures 1.structural adequacy, 2. integrity and 3.insulation in that order.


Fire risk substance

A readily ignitable substance such as waste paper, hay etc.



Capable of being ignited and kept burning in air or, in the case of flammable liquids, those substances which have a flashpoint less than 61EC.


Flammability Limits

The concentration range of a flammable vapour in air at which a flame can be propagated or an explosion will occur, with an ignition source. There is always an upper (too rich) and a lower limit (too lean) that should be included. The wider the flammability limits, the more violent is the explosion of a cloud of vapour reaches a source of ignition. The terms flammability limits and explosive limits mean the same.



The flashpoint is the lowest temperature at atmospheric pressure (101.3 kPa) at which a liquid gives off so much combustible vapour at the liquid surface that this vapour, when mixed intimately with air, can be ignited by a flame or spark.

A specific definition for the purposes of classifying substances is provided in AS 2106. The flashpoint is determined by the closed cup (c.c.). The lower the flashpoint, the higher the risk of ignition and fire.

The majority of flammable gases have flash points far below 0EC and the indication 'flammable gas' is used instead.


Free of Dangerous Goods

Used in connection with a container, equipment or a pipeline in relation to;

- gases, volatile solids or liquids, means cleaned to the extent that they contain less than the TLV values;

- Class 2.1or 3 goods, or goods with Sub-Risk 2.1 or 3, cleaned to the extent that the concentration of flammable vapour is less than 5 per cent of the lower flammable limit (at ambient temperature); or

- for non-volatile liquids or solids - cleaned as far as practicable.


Freight Container

A container of a more permanent character than a Unit load, suitable and designed for repeated use without reloading, whether or not designed to be secured with fittings for that purpose. Whilst including containers when carried on a chassis, it excludes vehicles and packages. Defined AS 1563.



Fugitive Emissions

Any gas, liquid, solid, including vapours, mists etc, which escapes from any equipment, product, facility etc.



A suspension of liquid or solid particles in the air formed by condensation of vapours from heated substances (including metals produced during welding). Also includes the vapours produced by a decomposition reaction.

Moisture in the air often promotes the formation of mists and fumes by reactions with vapours.



A substance which at ambient temperature and pressure appears as a gas, meaning that the molecules of the substances travel free in open space. Formless, can be changed to the liquid or solid state by cooling and/or pressure.


Generic Name

A name applied to a group or family of chemicals (eg. alcohols) precisely defined by the National Commision in the Codes for MSDS or workplace labelling, as groups with similar risks to health and safety.


Handling (of dangerous goods)

The conveying of dangerous goods with a premise, manufacturing, processing, movement, use, treatment, dispensing, packaging, sale, transferring, rendering harmless, destroying and disposing.



Refer Appendix 2, Health Effects for definition.


Harmful Substance

A signal word used in workplace labelling by a systematic classification.



The potential for physical harm to life, health or property. See also risk.


Hazardous Area

Defined AS 2430, Classification of Hazardous Areas - Explosive Gas Atmospheres.


Hazardous ingredient

A hazardous ingredient;

1. meets any of the health effects criteria of the National Commission's Approved Criteria (see Hazardous Substance and present at a concentration exceeding the specified cut-off level;

2. dangerous good, ie. meets the classification criteria of the ADG Code; or

3. liberated or generated in the application or use in the workplace from any substance or article that complies with point 1.


Hazardous Materials

Includes dangerous goods and hazardous substances as defined in State legislation which includes other substances which, on release, could threaten health or the environment.


Hazardous Substance

A substance which has the potential through being used at work to harm the health or safety of persons in the workplace including substances which may be produced in the workplace (eg. from welding rods, plastics processing etc.).

The National Commission has defined a Hazardous Substance as a substance that;

< is included in the National Commission's List of Designated Hazardous Substances (about eight hundred substances); or

< meets the criteria for a hazardous substance in the National Commission's Approved Criteria for Classifying Hazardous Substances.

It excludes certain substances whose presence or use is not related to a work activity, being foodstuffs, therapeutic agents, cosmetics, tobacco and its products and toiletries and toilet products.


Hazchem Code

The Hazchem (emergency action) code provides information to emergency services in terms of type of extinguishing agent, protective equipment, spill containment, prospects for violent reaction, and need for evacuation.

The code consists of a number followed by a letter, and an optional third letter `E', eg. 3YE.

Refer AS 1216, Part 2; ADG Code, section 9, column 5 for specific listing for identified substances; and ADG Code sub-section 9.3 for determination of the relevant Hazchem code for mixed loads (ie. by a rule of precedence page 394).

Refer Appendix 3.


Health Hazard

The property of a substance which can cause injury from exposure by any means.


Health Surveillance

The monitoring, including biological monitoring, of individuals for changes in health from occupational exposure to a hazardous substance.



A substance containing only hydrogen and carbon.



See Intermediate Bulk Container


Ignition Temperature

The temperature at which solids, liquids or gases spontaneously catch fire.


Ignition Source

A source of energy sufficient to ignite the flammable atmosphere including by naked flames, mechanical and static electricity sparks and electrical equipment not approved for use in hazardous situations.


Immediate Container

A term used in the SUSDP to describe containers into which the substance (ie. poison) is directly packed excluding a container for consumption or any immediate wrapper.


Immediately Dangerous to Life and Health

Refers to a concentration of a toxic substance which presents a hazard as an immediate threat to life or health, or an immediate threat of cumulative or delayed effects on health. It is also defined as a situation where it is NOT possible for a person to escape without losing his life or suffering health damage within 30 minutes, or without severe eye or respiratory irritation, or other reactions which could inhibit escape.


Immediate Wrapper

A term used in the SUSDP to describe metal foil, waxed paper or other wrappers not for consumption used as the first wrapper for a dosage unit containing a poison.



Not capable of mixing with water.


Person that imports goods or items (including plant) intended for use in a workplace.


Incompatible goods

Used in ADG Code in relation to transport of dangerous goods.Describes goods that could interact to substantially increase the risk of death or injury to a person, or harm to the environment or to property.



A component of the substance including impurities.


Intermediate Bulk Container

A container used for the transport of dangerous goods other than Class 2, with a capacity of not less than 250 and not more than 3000 litres and designed and constructed to be loaded from a vehicle.


IP Methods

Methods of testing etc. of petroleum products as published by the Institute of Petroleum.



A common emetic (to induce vomiting) available as a syrup.



A substance that on contact with tissues and membranes produces irritation or inflammation tissues or on inhalation irritation or inflammation of nasal or lung tissue.



A molecular rearrangement of a chemical which is indicated by a different prefix such as alpha, 1,1,2-, bis etc. Isomers can have different toxicity levels.


Journey (dangerous goods transport)

Any journey between a point at which goods are picked up or set down and the next point at which goods are picked up or set down.



A abbreviation for kilo Pascals (1000 Pascals) a measure of pressure. See Pascal.



A warning notice used on containers. Defined in the National Code of Practice for the Labelling of Workplace Substances and the ADG Code.



Where dangerous goods are used for analysis, research or teaching.



A concentration of a substance in air that produces death in 50 per cent of experimental animals on short term inhalation expressed in mass per unit volume of air.



The amount of substance that produces death in 50 per cent of a population of experimental animals. Normally expressed as milligrams per kilogram of body weight.


Liquefied Gas

Refrigerated liquid or liquefied gas under pressure and low temperature. Contrast to cryogenic liquid which is at or near atmospheric pressure.



Liquefied Petroleum Gas, a common low boiling flammable gas mixture.



For the manifest, a location for each manifest category, can mean a region within a store indicated by means of a grid reference. For a manifest, the location is the store identified in relationship to the overall site.



See Material Safety Data Sheet


Major load (dangerous goods in transport)

The goods of which the greatest quantity is carried on the journey.



A statement on stored quantities primarily for emergency services as defined by the National Code of Practice for Emergency Services Manifests.


Manufactured product

Manufactured products are goods of Class 3, PG II or PG III, (ie. Class 3.2) with at least 10 per cent non volatile materials (as per AS 1580, Method 301.1) and in containers with a capacity less than 30 L. Includes many paints and adhesives.



A person who manufacturers goods or items (including plant) for use in a workplace.


Manufacturer's Product Code

Identification codes (including batch codes) for the product as used by the manufacturer or supplier. This can help with product identification including the age of the product, (important for products which deteriorate with time).


Material Safety Data Sheet

A document describing the properties of a substance defined in the National Commission's National Code of Practice for Completion of Material Safety Data Sheets.


Maximum Quantity

For the purpose of the Manifest, the maximum quantity is defined as the upper limit of any quantity stored or kept.


Measure Pack

One or more sealed containers each containing a measured quantity of poison for use on one occasion as a pesticide and which forms part of a single primary pack.


Melting Point (m.p.)

Indicates the melting point of a substance (when a solid changes to a liquid or vice versa) at atmospheric pressure. If there is a significant difference between the melting point and the freezing point, the range is given. In case of hydrated (with crystal water) substances the apblank melting point is given.

If the substance decomposes during melting at atmospheric pressure, the term `unknown' may be used.


Metric Standard Conditions (MSC)

Conditions at a temperature of 15EC and at an atmosphere of 101.325 kilo Pascals.



To reduce to the lowest practicable limit.


Minor load (dangerous goods transport)

Any goods which are not part of the major load on the journey.



Applies to liquids capable of mixing with water in any proportion to form one liquid phase. Opposite of immiscible.



A suspension of liquid particles in the air, formed by condensation of a vapour.



A combination of mixed chemicals including by-product components.


Molecular Mass

A measure of the weight of a substance on a molecular basis. For gases, it can be used to determine an important feature of whether they are heavier or lighter than air. Air is taken to have a molecular mass of 29 so that a gas with a molecular mass of more than 29 will tend to stay at floor level, which, if flammable, has important implications in flame propagation. Used to determine the relative vapour density.



The survey of activities used to control hazardous substances in the workplace (excluding biological monitoring).



See melting point.



Capable of changing genetic material (in the cell)



A characteristic of some substances of being able to change the genetic material of cells which can impact on health, or in sperm or ova can lead to sterility or hereditary effects in later generations.


National Commission

Abbreviation for the National Occupational Health and Safety Commission (Worksafe Australia).


National Code of Practice

Abbreviated reference used as for example for `National Code of Practice for Completion of Material Safety Data Sheets' produced by the National Commission. Some have become National Codes.



Cell death - often used to indicate cell death of skin on exposure to corrosives.



A substance which cancels or partially cancels out the potential effects of certain chemicals. Includes soda ash or lime to neutralise (ie. convert to a pH of about 7) spilled acids, as well as acids to neutralise alkalis.



National Health and Medical Research Council is an advisory body funded by the Government.



National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (USA)



Refers to the eye.


Odour Threshold (value)

The minimum concentration of the substance in the air capable of being detected by the sense of smell. Normally expressed in parts per million (ppm) or milligrams per cubic metre (mg/m3). As odour thresholds can deviate very significantly depending on various factors, they cannot be used to determine safe working levels (refer Appendix 5).


Outer Warning Notice

A notice showing the word `HAZCHEM' in form and dimensions as required.


Oxidising material

A substance, not necessarily capable of burning, that can start a fire.



The complete result of a packaging operation consisting of the packaging and its contents.


Package Depot

A place where packages are stored.



A term used by the ADG Code to refer to certain containers used for transport of dangerous goods.

Class 2 - with capacity not exceeding 500 litres;

Liquids (other than Class 2) not exceeding 250 litres; and

Solids in container holding or not capable of holding more than 400 kilograms in undivided quantity.

Packaging includes other components and materials necessary for the container to perform its containment function.


Packaging Group (PG)

As defined by section 2 of the ADG Code, which divides the dangerous goods of classes 3, 4, 5, 6.1, 8 and 9 into one of three groups according to the degree of danger they present for packaging purposes; `I' (or `PGI', great danger), `II' (medium danger) and `III' (minor danger). They are precisely defined in the ADG Code, section 2 according to various criteria depending on the class, such as the flashpoint, LD50 and corrosiveness.

L Where there are goods of the same class but of different PGs, the lowest numbered PG present (ie. the highest danger) will apply to the goods as a whole.


Packaging Method

Not to be confused with packaging group. Refers to the proper methods of packaging as also provided for in section 5 of the ADG Code and referenced by column 8 in section 9 of the ADG Code.


Package Store

Where packages are kept ie. excluding bulk stores



A unit of pressure (refer AS 1000) more commonly encountered as kPa (1000 pascals) and used in connection with atmospheric pressure at sea level which is 101.3 kPa (equal to about 760 mm Hg).


Per cent Volatiles

Percentage of a product that can be lost on long term evaporation usually under normal ambient conditions.



Abbreviation for Packaging Group.


pH, (at concentration)

An indicative value on a continuous scale of 0 to 14 representing the degree of acidity (or alkalinity) of an aqueous solution of the product at a particular concentration. Where a value of 1 indicates a strong acid, 7 indicates neutrality (like pure water), and 14 a strong base. The concentration should be specified (usually 1 per cent). See also pHs.



The pH (see above) of a saturated solution (the maximum amount which can be dissolved at a given temperature - usually 20EC) of the product in water.



A warning notice used to indicate the nature of substances stored as defined by the National Code of Practice for the Placarding of Chemical Stores.


Place of Public Assembly

Means any place of worship, public building, school or college, hospital, theatre, etc. where people are accustomed to assemble but excluding a public street.



Includes any machinery, equipment (including scaffolding), appliance, implement or tool, and any component or fitting or accessory.



A term used in the SUSDP to indicate any substance or preparation listed in its Schedules.


Poisons Schedule

Refer Standard for the Uniform Scheduling of Drugs and Poisons (SUSDP).



A substance, which does not have a toxic effect, increases the toxic effect of another substance (ie. 0+2=4). An example is isopropanol when combined with the toxic substance carbon tetrachloride).



Parts per million expressed on a volume/volume basis for gases and not to be confused with the units mg/m3.

ppm (v/v) in gases

ppm (w/v) in liquids is same as mg/l

ppm (w/w) in solids is same as mg/kg

For gases, to convert from ppm to mg/m3, multiply by the molecular weight and divide by 24.4.



Means practicable with regard to;

< the severity of the hazard or risk in question;

< the state of knowledge about the hazard or risk and any ways of removing or mitigating the that hazard or risk;

< the availability and suitability of ways to remove or mitigate that hazard or risk; and

< the cost of removing or mitigating that hazard or risk.

An alternative; Means practicable with regard to;

< the safety and performance standards which are to be met; and

< the systems and procedures by which these are to be achieved and maintained.



Includes a structure or a building, a place (whether or not built upon or not); and part of premises.


Primary Pack

A term used in the SUSDP to describe the pack in which a poison and its immediate container or immediate wrapper or measure pack are presented for supply or sale.


Prime Contractor

The person who takes responsible for the transport of the goods from one place to another. It does not include employees or sub-contractors employed or engaged by that person for that purpose.


Product Category

It is desirable to group each product in a product category eg. detergents for MSDS description and database retrieval basis. Whilst there are no defined rules, one option is the internationally accepted `Harmonized Commodity Code' as used for tariff classification purposes, and by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.


Product Name

The Product Name is normally the trade name, brand name, code name or code number which is provided by the supplier.


Protected Work

Includes any building in which people are accustomed to be assembled and employed. Includes churches, offices, shops, ships at permanent berthing facilities and factories.



Capable of spontaneous ignition on exposure to air (goods of Dangerous Goods Class 4.2, eg. white phosphorus).



WA legislation defines quantity as the mass of solids expressed in kilograms.



The capacity to combine chemically with other substances. Reactivity is therefore important for the safe use and storage of hazardous materials. When reactive with water, it is particularly important information for the emergency authorities who often use water as an extinguishing and cleaning medium. As most substances are in some way reactive, the MSDS should address reactivity with common substances (for example, air or water).


Refrigerated Liquid

Refers to Class 2 goods kept in a liquid form below the ambient temperature but excludes cryogenic liquids.


Relative Density

Refer Specific Gravity.


Relative Evaporation Rate

See evaporation rate.


Relative Vapour Density(air = 1)

This number indicates how many times a gas is heavier than air at the same temperature. For vapours from liquids and solids, this value applies only for the vapour from the boiling liquid, therefore not for normal ambient temperatures. Do not use if boiling point greater than 350EC.

The relative vapour density (to air) is calculated as the molecular weight of the vapour divided by 29 which is the molecular weight of air.


Relevant Public Authorities

Public authorities whose jurisdiction and responsibilities extend to occupational health and safety. Likely authorities are listed in Appendix 7 of the Worksafe Code of Practice.



To restore to an operating condition/state excluding routine maintenance, replacement or alteration.

Respiratory system

That part of the body used for breathing.


Restricted Dangerous Substance

A class of dangerous goods used in Western Australia (Class 11 to become Class R) being specified substances which are explosive, subject to autopolymerisation or particularly reactive. Specific storage and handling procedures apply. See also Chronic Hazardous Substance.



A person or business supplying articles or substances for remuneration.

Retail Warehouse Operator

A person operating a warehouse holding unopened packaged goods intended for retail sale.



The probability that a hazard will give rise to an adverse effect at a level in a specified period. It is normally indicated in descriptive terms, such as high, modest negligible etc. See also Hazard.


Risk assessment

The process of evaluating the probability and consequences of injury or illness arising from exposure to identified hazards associated with plant.


Risk Phrase

A phrase used to described the hazard of a substance as per the Approved Criteria for Classifying Hazardous Substances.



Standards Australia. Formerly known as the Australian Standards Association who produce a broad range of publications including many for the safe use of hazardous materials. See also AS.



See; Self Accelerating Decomposition Temperature (SADT)

Safe Storage and Handling Information Cards

Cards published by Standards Australia as AS 2508 providing information on hazards and safety as relevant to spills, leaks and fires and first aid.


Saturated Vapour Concentration.

The concentration of the vapour above a substance usually expressed at 20EC at standard atmospheric pressure.




Self Contained Breathing Apparatus. A full face piece, air tank, connecting hose and other fittings.




The substance is classified by the SUSDP as a drug or poison.


Screen wall

A fire rated wall (or `screen wall') provides a barrier against fire and between incompatible chemicals in case of fire. Often defined as a wall (eg. a brick wall without any openings) with at least a 4 hour fire resistance; if the storage area is not roofed, the wall must be 1 metre above the highest stack of dangerous goods.



A requirement for storing or moving incompatible goods in separate depots or vehicles. The goods are basically determined by dangerous goods class although State dangerous goods regulations for storage may also recognise packaging groups, the physical form and other characteristics. For storage, separation by a screen wall is permitted under certain circumstances. Segregation is defined and detailed in section 7 of the ADG Code. See also Separation.


Self Accelerating Decomposition Temperature (SADT)

The lowest temperature at which self-accelerating decomposition may occur. Normally applies to organic peroxides and other substances which can decompose, often violently, on heating due to their inherent instability.



To become increasingly sensitive to a substance.



A substance that causes (a substantial proportion of exposed people or animals) to develop an allergic reaction, or to become very sensitive to the substance (which may occur with minute quantities).



A requirement for incompatible goods to be stored separately and kept apart by specified (separation) distances. Determined by State Government Regulations recognising their dangerous goods classes, packaging groups and other key characteristics of the product. See also Segregation.


Service Stations

A retail establishment for the general public mainly supplying petrol, LPG and other petroleum fuels including LPG, for motor vehicles whether or not in conjunction with the sale of foodstuffs and other consumer goods to the public.


Shipping Document

A document completed by the consignor with his instructions to have the goods transported. Includes a consignment note.


Signal Word

Words used on labels of substances to indicate the relative severity of hazard.



SI Number

See UN Number


Signal Word

Used on workplace labels to describe the relative severity of hazard.


Sole Packaging

Sole Packages are intended to be transported without outer protection (see also Combination packaging).



Are liquids which can dissolve substances. Organic solvents are also used in paints and adhesives and include;

aromatic solvents eg. xylene and toluene;

aliphatic hydrocarbons eg. kerosene and n-heptane;

alcohols eg. ethanol and isopropanol;

glycols eg. ethylene glycol;

esters eg. iso-propyl acetate;

chlorohydrocarbons eg. methylene chloride;

ethers eg. diethylene glycol;

ketones and aldehydes eg. acetone and MEK.


Solubility in Water

The amount of a substance which may be dissolved in water. Solubility in water should be expressed in grams/litre (g/l), or parts per million (ppm) parts of water may also be used. The temperature, in EC, at which the solubility was measured should be stated if known.


Specific Gravity

Indicates whether the substance floats on water or sinks. For gases condensed to the liquid phase, the density of the liquid phase is given. As a ratio, the specific gravity of the product (also, and more properly, known as the relative density), is its mass compared to the mass of an equal volume of water. The Specific Gravity of water is therefore by definition equal to one.


Spill Collection Compound

See bunding


Spontaneous Combustion

Solids or liquids which spontaneously heat and ignite in contact with air. (eg. white phosphorus.)


Standard for the Uniform Scheduling of Drugs and Poisons (SUSDP)

The Standard for the Uniform Scheduling of Drugs and Poisons (SUSDP) as produced by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) is the basis for State and Territory Poisons Act legislation (which may differ between regions in detail). The legislation applies restrictions at the point of sale.

There are nine Poisons Schedules listing substances or types of substances which require certain labelling and description, packaging (inner and outer), controls on advertising and supply, storage, and for some, the permitted level of impurities.


Storage in Bulk

See Bulk Store



A person other than the an employee who is engaged by a prime contractor to transport the goods.


Sublimation Point, EC

A substance sublimes if on heating it passes directly from the solid to the vapour phase, without melting or passing through the liquid phase. This should be mentioned under boiling point.


Subsidiary Risk (Sub-Risk)

A risk, indicated by reference to a Dangerous Goods class, in addition, by the rules of precedence, (refer section 2 of ADG Code) to the principal class to which the product is assigned.



See Subsidiary Risk.




Term used to describe Chemicals, materials, goods, products, formulations and preparations, ie. whether or not pure or single substances. A term used for any natural or artificial substance whether as a solid, liquid, gas or vapour form, but excluding articles.


Superior Package (dangerous goods)

Packages as approved by the Competent Authorities as superior packages.



Means importers, manufacturers, wholesalers and distributors of workplace substances.

The National Standard for Plant defines supplier as including a person who supplies a plant for use in a workplace by way of sale, lease, exchange or hire, whether as a principal or agent for another.




An abbreviation, refer Standard for the Uniform Scheduling of Drugs and Poisons.



The combined toxic effect is greater than the sum of each agent alone (ie. 1+2=5). An example is carbon tetrachloride and ethanol.



A tank is a receptacle with a capacity of liquids of more than 250 litres and of gases with more than 500 litres (ie. a tank is not a packaging).



See teratogenic.



Able to produce abnormalities in a developing foetus, that is, causing birth defects. The EEC now refers to toxic to reproduction.


Threshold Limit Value

Threshold limit value. In three categories, these values are an exposure standard determined by the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH). It is the airborne concentration of substances at which persons may be exposed in the course of their daily work, on an indefinite basis without adverse effect. (Refer Appendix 5)

Not used in the National Commission publications, it approximates the Exposure Standard TWA basis for most substances.



See Threshold Limit Value


Toxic (poisonous)

The ability of a substance to cause damage to cells or tissue whether or not at the point of contact. Refer also Appendix 2 for definition when used to describe a substance in terms of its health effects.



Refers to the potential ability of a substance to cause deleterious (toxic) effects.

Low; causes readily reversible changes which disappear after exposure stops. Causes some discomfort.

Moderate; may cause reversible or irreversible changes to exposed tissue but not permanent injury. Causes considerable discomfort.

High; capable of causing death or permanent injury in normal use.



The study or relating to toxic effects


Trade name

A registered product name used by the manufacturer or supplier. The name need not relate to the chemical name of the product or its ingredients.


Transport Containers

Transport containers includes freight containers, portable tanks, tank containers, demountable tanks and Intermediate Bulk Containers used in connection with the transport of dangerous goods.



An expression to indicate the extent to which a container is filled. Often expressed as a percentage of free space of the capacity of the container.


Unit Load

A device for transporting as a unit consisting of a number of packages which are those which are;

< stacked and secured (by strapping, wrapping etc.) to a load board such as a pallet;

< placed in a protective outer receptacle such as a pallet box;

< permanently secured in a sling.

Excludes single large receptacles such as a portable tank and freight containers etc.


United Nations (UN) Number

Also less commonly known as the Substance Identification Number (SI) and UN Transport Number, it is a system of four digit numbers, assigned to a substance, or a group of chemicals with similar hazardous properties (eg. cresols).

Based on a common characteristic, the UN number provides a very useful and important link (via sub-section 9 of the ADG Code) to the Hazchem Code, Emergency Procedure Guides (to provide emergency information), dangerous goods class (to assist for safe handling and storage), the packaging group (to indicate the degree of hazard) and the method for safe packaging.

Where the substance is not listed (ie. under its Correct Shipping Name in sub-section 9.4 of the ADG Code), the UN number may be deduced (ADG Code sections 2.6.1 and 2.6.2 by matching the class, sub-risk and packaging group of the substance with the listed substances of sub-section 9.4, each of which have corresponding UN numbers. ADG Code sub-section 2.4 should be used to determine the class, sub-risk and packaging group.


Unstable Substance

A substance which can undergo changes by way of decomposition, condensation, self-reaction or polymerisation.



Use is defined to mean for the National Model Regulation as the production, handling, storage, transport or disposal of substances in the workplace. Excludes transport where carried in compliance with the ADG Code or where held in transit for longer than two working days. Use also excludes the transport of substances carried in compliance with the International Maritime Dangerous Goods Code, the Technical Instructions for the safe Transport of Dangerous Goods by Air or relevant Commonwealth, State or Territory legislation.

Use is also defined in the National Standard for Plant as to work from, operate, maintain, inspect and clean.



The gas of a substance which is normally a solid or a liquid, and is also formed above a liquid or solid by evaporation.


Vapour density

The mass (density) of vapour compared to an equal mass (density) of air. With air assumed to be 1.0, vapours with a density greater than 1.0 will sink (staying close to floor.


Vapour pressure

The pressure over a liquid created by its vapour. The higher the vapour pressure, the more volatile the substance.



The mobility (thickness) of a liquid. Usually provided in technical measurements but for the MSDS may be described in common descriptive terms such as 'like water', `oil', `syrup', `paste' etc.



Readily able to pass into the vapour state.



A term which can mean practical or reasonably practical.



Any place, including aircraft, ship or vehicle, where a person works, likely to work, or goes while at work.


Worksafe Australia

Worksafe Australia, (the National Occupational Health and Safety Commission), under Commonwealth law is a tripartite body only authorised to disseminate information for use at workplace level. That information may be adopted or formally referenced by State Government legislation.

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