On 29 March 2021, the Minister of the Department of Employment & Labour published the Regulations for Hazardous Chemical Agents 2021 in Government Gazette (GG No. 44348) under Government Notice No. R. 280.

With this publication the Hazardous Chemical Substances Regulations 1995 was repealed in terms of Regulation 17(1) of the 2021 Regulation.

The Regulations for Hazardous Chemical Agents 2021 is not an entirely new regulation, but merely an amendment of the Hazardous Chemical Substances Regulations of 1995.

Many of the changes to align with global practice in terms of the UN Globally Harmonised System.

Although most of the regulation is unchanged some of the significant changes include, but are not limited to:

  1. Regulation 1 Definitions: Inclusion of additional definitions (“Carcinogen” or “CARC”; “CAS Number” or “chemical identity”; “chemical agent”; “consumer product”; “container”; “cut-off value” or “GHS cut-off value” or “GHS concentration limit”, “Hazardous Chemical Agent” or “HCA”, etc.
  2. Regulation 3 Information, Instruction & Training: More topics included such as information on how to access relevant SDS’s (regulation 3(2)(c)); the information each part of and SDS provides (regulation 3(2)(d)), the information that each part of the label on containers provides and why the information is being provided (regulation 3(2)(e)).
  3. Regulation 13(d): The prohibition on the manufacturing, procurement, use, handling, or storage in the workplace of-
  • Prohibited HCA,
  • Ozone-depleting substances,
  • Prohibited persistent organic pollutants.
  1. Regulation 14: Classification of chemical agents as hazardous chemical agents by the manufacturer or importer of such chemical before it is supplied in the workplace.
  2. Regulation 14A: Preparation of Safety Data Sheet by the importer or manufacturer before manufacture and if is not reasonably practicable, immediately after manufacture but before import.
  3. Regulation 14B: More detailed labelling requirements in the regulation itself.
  4. Regulation 14C: More detailed packaging requirements in the regulation itself.
  5. Annexure 1 Tables 1 (GHS Hazard Classes – Physical Hazards), 2 (GHS Hazard Classes – Health Hazards), 3 (GHS Hazard Classes – Environmental Hazards), 4 (Identity of ingredients to be disclosed) & 5 (Generic names used to disclose identity of ingredients); Annexure 2 Tables 1 (Prohibited Hazardous Chemical Agents), 2 (Occupational Exposure Limits – Maximum limits for hazardous chemical agents), 3 (Occupational Exposure Limits – Restricted limits for hazardous chemical agents) & 4 (Biological exposure indices (BEIs) for Hazardous chemical agents); Annexure 3 – Hazardous Chemical Agent Guidelines .
  6. Regulation 16 Offences & Penalties: Increase in additional fine from R200 to R500 per day for continued offences.

Employers are given time to ensure compliance to these amendments. This made clear in regulation 18(2):

Regulations 13(d), 14, 14A, 14B, 14C, Annexure 1, Tables 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5; and Annexure 2, Table 1, 2, 3, and 4 shall come into effect 18 moths after the promulgation of these Regulations”.

All employers and self-employed persons who carries out work at a workplace which may expose any person to a HCA, manufacturers, importers, suppliers, or retailers of HCA that is intended for use in the workplace must take note of the changes in the 2021 regulation and ensure compliance to them.