Legal Standards for Asthma

While there are no specific OHS regulations on asthma in Victoria, both the Health and Safety Act and the Hazardous Substances section of regulations mean that the employer must identify and if possible eliminate substances which may cause or trigger asthma.

However, employers have a duty under the Victorian Occupational Health and Safety Act (2004) to provide and maintain for employees, as far as practicable, a working environment that is safe and without risks to health. Hazards should be controlled at the source as much as possible. Employers must ensure that the use, handling, transport and storage of substances is safe and without risks to health.  They must also provide a safe system of work, information, training, supervision, and where appropriate personal protective equipment. Employers also have a duty to monitor conditions at the workplace and to monitor the health and safety of employees.

Chapter 4 of the Occupational Health and Safety Regulations 2007 deals with the control and management of hazardous substances and materials, including possible asthma agents. These regulations set out the requirement that the employer must assess and control the risk beginning at source, before providing personal protective equipment, such as respiratory protective devices (RPDs).   Read a summary of this chapter of regulations.

The Model Code of Practice (under the Work Health and Safety regime) Labelling of Workplace Hazardous Chemicals(2011) states that hazardous chemicals must be identified on the label, and special pictograms be used for sensitisers and other respiratory irritants.  This is consistent with GHS (Globally Harmonised Scheme for labels and SDSs). The Model Code of Practice - Preparation of Safety Data Sheets for Hazardous Chemicals has similar requirements for the information which needs to be provided in the Safety Data Sheets (or MSDSs).

Last amended February 2015

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