4. Purchasing


Prior to purchasing a hazardous substance, a risk assessment should be carried out by the cost centre, and the results and actions followed up. A Safety Data Sheet (SDS) must be obtained prior to or along with delivery of the hazardous substance.

A SDS must be provided for all substances that are at, or are to be brought onto, the workplace.  This includes non-hazardous substances and substances that are purchased from supermarkets, hardware stores and the like.

4.1  Register/Inventory of Hazardous Substances

Before ordering a hazardous substance, employees of the University who purchase hazardous substances (referred to as the purchaser in these procedures) must first check the cost centre Register/Inventory of Hazardous Substances.  If the amount to be ordered is greater than that listed on the Register/Inventory, the employee must contact USQSafe who will advise if placarding and signage require updating.  If using the Chemwatch database, placarding and signage will automatically be calculated. For access to the Chemwatch database, pleaes contact USQSafe.

The Category 4 Delegate in the cost centre should utilise an inventory control system to ensure that stock levels are maintained at a minimum.

For more information, refer to Section 3 - Records and Registers.

4.2 Safety Data Sheets (SDS)

When placing an order with the supplier of a substance for the first time, the purchaser must request a current SDS from the supplier.  If suppliers, manufacturers and importers fail to provide a SDS for a hazardous substance, refer this matter to USQSafe immediately. A substance should not be used nor brought onto the workplace without a current SDS. The University has access to chemwatch - ChemGold3 which allows users to search and print SDSs from 13 million SDSs. Please contact USQSafe to obtain login details.

Refer to Section 2 - Safety Data Sheets for more information on SDSs, which includes a sample letter requesting a SDS.

4.3  Petty Cash and Credit Card Purchases

Any hazardous substance purchased from petty cash or by credit card must:

  • have a current SDSs before that product can go into service;
  • be correctly labelled
  • be placed on the cost centre's Register/Inventory of Hazardous Substances. 

4.4  Plant

Any hazardous substance supplied with a piece of plant must be accompanied by a SDS and be correctly labelled before that piece of plant can go into operation or the hazardous substance can be used.

The Category 4 Delegate of the cost centre should provide information to employees and students on any equipment used with a hazardous substance, (for example exhaust ventilation systems).  Relevant information should include:

  • the use for which the equipment is designed and the conditions necessary for its safe use;
  • results of relevant tests which may have been carried out in connection with the safe operation of such equipment;
  • standard work procedures and standard operating procedures; and
  • employees should be trained in the safe use of the plant and any training recorded.

As with any other hazardous substance, a hazardous substance supplied with a piece of plant is to be managed in accordance with these Procedures for the Management of Hazardous Substances.

4.5  Receiving Goods

Deliveries are to be made only to a supervised site, including central stores and at cost centres.

The employee accepting delivery of a hazardous substance must ensure that:

  • Acceptance certificates or receipts are signed and passed in for processing.
  • Goods are labelled correctly, and any damaged packages are returned to the supplier.  Refer to Section 5 - Labelling.
  • All equipment required, including personal protective equipment, is available.
  • They understand how to respond to emergency incidents during loading and unloading procedures.
  • Spills are immediately reported to their supervisor; and
  • If the spill cannot be immediately contained, contact the Emergency Services by dialling ext 2222 (all hours).

For more information refer to Section 10 - Emergencies and Spills.

4.6 Purchasing Hazardous Substances - Checklist

  • Can the hazardous substance be eliminated or replaced with a less hazardous material?
  • Undertake a risk assessment and take follow-up action.
  • Check cost centre Register/Inventory of hazardous substances.
     -  Is the amount to be ordered greater than that listed?
     -  If yes, placarding and signage may require changing.
  • Request a current SDS from supplier/manufacturer/importer if ordering the substance for the first time, or if the SDS on file is outdated.

When goods are received, check that:

  • The product is the substance ordered and the amount is correct.
  • The delivery is clean and free from contamination and leakage.
  • A current SDS has been supplied and has been placed in the Register of SDSs and in the workplace where the substance is used.
  • Labelling is correct.
  • All appropriate preparation measures have been carried out, for example risk assessments and all recommendations followed up.
  • Storage is in accordance with regulations and the substance has been placed in correct packaging groups.
  • If new or additional stock - the item/s are entered into the hazardous substances register/inventory.
  • The placarding has been changed if necessary.
  • Any necessary training of employees and students has been carried out in emergency procedures, dealing with spills, storage, etc.

4.7  USQSafe Contact

Manager (USQSafe)

4.8  Status

Published October 1998
Reviewed October 2009
Reviewed October 2012

4.9  References

Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (Qld)
Work Health and Safety Regulations 2011 Hazardous Chemicals (Qld)
Hazardous Chemicals Code of Practice 2003