OPPORTUNITY TO PUSH ON AIRBORNE HAZARDS

New workplace exposure limits (WEL) for airborne contaminants will come into effect on 1 December 2026. The WELs have been updated for the first time in over 20 years, with many substances now having lower, more protective exposure values.

You can find the revised WELs on the Safe Work Australia website here.

Until December 2026, the existing Workplace Exposure Standards will continue to apply. However, with the publication of the new WELs, there may be an opportunity to argue for the application of these limits earlier based on the 'state of knowledge.' It may also be possible to have discussions as to how employers intend to meet the new standard.

Some chemicals, such as hydrogen sulphide and formaldehyde, still require further assessment through a Regulatory Impact Assessment process, which will involve additional consultation in the future.

The updated WELs provide an opportunity for HSRs to start conversations with employers to ensure workers are not exposed to airborne contaminants above the specified exposure limits, protecting the health and safety of their DWG.

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