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National Environmental Management Act, 1998 (Act No. 107 of 1998)

Environmental Management Plan : Department of Labour

Chapter 4 : Environmental Management Policies

4.6. Hazardous Chemical Substances Regulations



These regulations apply to an employer or a self-employed person who carries out work at a workplace which may expose any person to a Hazardous Chemical Substance (HCS).


It is the duty of the employers after consultation with the health and safety committee established for that section of the workplace, to ensure that the employee is adequately and comprehensively informed and trained, as well as thereafter informed and trained at intervals as may be recommended by that health and safety committee, with regard to matters such as the:

potential source of exposure;
potential risks to health caused by exposure;
measures to be taken by the employers to protect an employee against any risk from exposure;
precautions to be taken by an employee to protect himself or herself against the health risks associated with the exposure, including the wearing and use of protective clothing and respiratory protective equipment;
necessary, correct use and maintenance of safety equipment, provision of facilities and engineering control measures;
necessity of personal air sampling and medical surveillance;
importance of good housekeeping at the workplace and personal hygiene;
safe working procedures regarding the use, handling, storage and labelling of the HCS at the workplace; and
procedures to be followed in the event of spillages, leakages or any similar emergency situation which could take place by accident.


The regulations require employers to provide written instructions of the procedures to the drivers of vehicles carrying the hazardous chemical substances.


These regulations also provide for employees to follow instructions given to them with regard to the:

prevention of an HCS from being released;
wearing of personal protective equipment;
wearinq of monitoring equipment to measure personal exposure;
reporting for health evaluations and biological tests as required by these regulations;
cleaning up and disposal of materials containing HCS;
housekeeping at the workplace, personal hygiene and environmental and health practices; and
information and training.


Responsibility is placed, through these regulations, on the employer to control the exposure of an employee by introducing appropriate work procedures which an employee must follow where materials are used or processes are carried out which could give rise to exposure of an employee and that procedures shall include written instructions to ensure:

that an HCS is safely handled, used and disposed of;
that process machinery, installations, equipment, tools and local extraction and general ventilation systems are safely used and maintained;
that machinery and work areas are kept clean; and
that early corrective action can be readily identified.


The employer must ensure that the emission of an HCS into the atmosphere complies with the provisions of the Atmospheric Pollution Prevention Act (Act 45 of 1965).


With regard to the avoidance of the spread of contamination of an HCS, the regulations place a responsibility on the employer to take steps, to ensure:

that the HCS in storage or distributed are properly identified, classified and handled;
that a container or a vehicle in which an HCS is transported, is clearly identified, classified and packed; and
that any container into which an HCS is decanted, is clearly labeled with regard to the contents thereof.


To ensure the safe and proper disposal of HCS the following have been provided for within the regulations:

ensuring recycling all HCS waste;
ensuring that all collected HCS waste is placed into containers that will prevent the likelihood of exposure during handling;
ensuring that all vehicles, re-usable containers and covers which have been in contact with HCS waste are cleaned and decontaminated after use in such a way that the vehicles, containers or covers do not cause a hazard inside or outside the premises concerned;
ensuring that all HCS waste which can cause exposure is disposed of only on sites specifically designated for this purpose in terms of the Environmental Conservation Act (Act 73 of 1989), in such a manner that it does not cause a hazard inside or outside the site concerned; and
ensuring that all employees occupied in the collection, transport and disposal of HCS waste, who may be exposed to that waste, are provided with suitable personal protective equipment.