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December 01, 2020 on chapter Safety signs

Signage for the storage of hand sanitiser

Our business operates a number of retail stores. In each store, we are storing 20 500ml bottles of hand sanitiser for the use of staff and customers. Do we need to post flammable goods signage on the outside of the building and signage on the storage cabinet where the hand sanitiser is kept to advise we have dangerous goods stored?

Alcohol-based hand sanitisers generally contain between 60%–95% of ethanol or isopropyl alcohol, and are hazardous chemicals under the Model Work Health and Safety (WHS) Regulations and Dangerous Goods (Storage and Handling) Regulations 2012 (Vic) (together, WHS Regulation).

The WHS Regulation requires a person conducting a business or undertaking (PCBU) at a workplace, or an occupier of premises (in the case of Victoria), to ensure that a placard is displayed at the workplace/premises subject to the total quantity of the hazardous chemical. The types of placard under the WHS Regulation include:

  • outer warning placard for the entrance to the workplace; and
  • information placards for hazardous chemicals in bulk/packages.

Under the WHS Regulation, you are only required to display a placard if the total quantity of hazardous chemicals exceeds the prescribed quantity. Below is the prescribed quantity for each category of flammable liquids:

  • Category 1: 50 litres;
  • Category 2: 250 litres; and
  • Category 3: 1,000 litres.

Alcohol-based hand sanitisers are often classified as Category 2 flammable liquids and you should verify the correct classification of your products in the Safety Data Sheet.

If applicable, all three categories require, among other placards to be displayed, Class 3 flammable liquid signage.

In your case, if you are only storing 20 500ml bottles of hand sanitiser in your stores, you are not required to display a placard under the WHS Regulation.

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