MINISTERS AGREE ON NEW EXPOSURE LIMITS

Work health and safety (WHS) ministers have agreed on a new Workplace Exposure Limits (WEL) list and set a transition period until November 30, 2026.

The WEL list replaces the previous Workplace Exposure Standards (WES).

WHS ministers decided to rename WES as WEL to emphasise that the limits should not be surpassed, and to align with international terminology.

The changes will take effect from December 1, 2026, once implemented into WHS laws across Australia.

Until December 1, 2026, businesses must ensure that individuals are not exposed to airborne contaminants exceeding the limits listed in the WES.

Although most exposure limits remain the same, there have been some adjustments due subject to the WES Review, including changes in limits for certain chemicals.

For more information: changes between the WES and WEL.

Safe Work Australia is working on additional measures, such as developing guidance for businesses to transition to WEL, conducting impact analysis on proposed changes for specific chemicals, including respirable crystalline silica, formaldehyde, copper and others, and determining regulations for certain airborne contaminants.

More information about the WEL list and updates can be found on the Safe Work Australia website.

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