Hazardous substances can harm the health of people using them or anyone who may be exposed to them. A wide range of industrial, laboratory and agricultural chemicals are hazardous. When used in the workplace, these substances may generate vapours, fumes, dusts and mists. If these substances are breathed in, absorbed through the skin or swallowed, workers may suffer immediate or long term health effects. Exposure may
cause poisoning, irritation, chemical burns, cancer, birth defects or diseases of certain organs such as the lungs, liver, kidneys and nervous system. The harm caused by hazardous substances depends on the substance and
the level of exposure.

Dangerous goods are substances that may be corrosive, flammable, explosive, spontaneously combustible, toxic, oxidising or water-reactive. These goods can be deadly and can seriously damage property and the environment particularly when stored in bulk.

Learning Outcomes:
On completion of this short program participants will be able to:

  • Understand and overview the legislative framework that applies to thestorage, handling and use of hazardous substances and dangerous goods within the workplace.
  • Comprehend the routes of entry taken by hazardous substances to affect the human body with appreciation of published ‘exposure standards’.
  • Explain the categorization and labeling system for hazardous substances.
  • Appreciate the factors that inform a risk based approach to the management of hazardous substances.
  • Read and interpret a materials safety data sheet (MSDS)

Duration: 4 hours

Aims: To provide participants with the required knowledge as specified by WorkSafe in order to carry out their role under the OHS Act and OHS Regulations 2007.

Target Audience: Managers and Supervisors, HSRs, Workers interacting with hazardous substances and dangerous goods.

Mode of Delivery: Formal Presentation, Handouts & Practical Examples (tailored to workplace).

Prerequisites: None

Delivery by: Experienced and specialist occupational health and safety practitioners formerly employed by WorkSafe Victoria in key policy and inspectorial roles over many years.


  •  Hazardous Substances, Dangerous Goods, Poisons, Carcinogens
  •  Legislative Framework including Compliance Code
  •  Human Physiology and Exposure Standards
  •  Risk Management
  •  Labeling
  •  Storage/Segregation
  •  Ventilation types
  •  Personal Protective Equipment & Clothing (PPE&C)
  •  Documentation, manifests, Material Safety Data Sheets
  •  Globally Harmonized System
  •  Notifiable statutory incidents

Download PDF course outline: Chemical Awareness Training