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Risk assessment when using chemicals

Man considers risk assessment when using chemicals

Is pest management your territory? Commercial cleaning, perhaps? Maybe you are right across urban and commercial weed control?

Whatever your focus, the various state and territory work health and safety laws require a risk assessment to be carried out prior to the use of any chemicals.

You should also be writing up a Safe Work Method Statement. This makes sure you’re well covered in the case of an enquiry from SafeWork NSW or similar.

A risk assessment is required to ensure the health and safety of others, including the general public, animals and environment. It ensures they are not put at risk whilst you conduct your business.

Identifying risks

In conducting a risk assessment when using chemicals, look to the workplace in which you are conducting business activities.

You should identify if there are, for example:

  • People, including children, present or in the vicinity
  • Animals near the area to be treated
  • Children’s play areas or equipment in the area to be treated
  • Edible vegetation or other non-target vegetation that could be affected
  • Aquatic systems, e.g. fishponds, dams, creeks, rivers or drains, near the area to be treated
  • Water held in tanks that could be affected


You also need to ensure that the weather conditions are suitable to undertake a chemical application. In particular this applies to the wind direction and strength.

Be sure to assess these hazards appropriately as you conduct a risk assessment when using chemicals. Otherwise, you may be held accountable for spray drift or environmental impairment. This is a situation that can turn serious and attract big costs to rectify.

Help with assessing risks

General liability insurance will provide you with protection for claims involving unintentional release or escape of pollutants. However, correctly assessing the risks prior to treatment is the ideal way forward for everyone.

Rapid Solutions has developed a risk assessment and chemical record keeping paperwork system to help our insured clients in meeting legislation and licence requirements. Contact us to discuss this further.

Reading this ‘risk assessment when using chemicals’ article and think you need formal training or a brush up of your skills? Did you know Australia’s various states and territories have different licence requirements and regulations? Visit our Rapid Training area of our website to read about simple 100% online training courses.

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