NICNAS, as the Australian Government regulator for industrial chemicals, operates within a whole-of-government chemicals regulatory framework that consists of four assessment/registration schemes that aim to deliver the health and safety of the Australian people and their environment from the use of chemicals. While the regulatory schemes for medicines and medical devices, food and food additives and pesticides and veterinary medicines operate in a complementary manner they each present a potential regulatory interface with NICNAS.
The NICNAS risk assessment comprises of a human health and environmental risk assessment and where relevant, recommendations for risk management and/or mitigation. The human health assessment includes public health and OHS components. Health policy and practice is applied to assessments through the location of NICNAS within the Health Portfolio. The public health controls are achieved (where relevant) through recommendations to the National Drugs and Poison Scheduling Committee (NDPSC) for inclusion of the chemical on the Standard for the Uniform Scheduling of Drugs and Poisons (SUSDP). The SUSDP is adopted by public health legislation in each state and territory.
The MOU between NICNAS and the Office of the Australian Safety and Compensation Council (OASCC) facilitates the application of OHS policy to NICNAS assessments. OHS assessment and ensuing recommendations are consistent with the national OHS framework, the NOHSC Model Regulations for the Control of Workplace Hazardous Substances. To this effect, ASCC recognises NICNAS as a competent national authority to apply their workplace model regulations and codes of practice. This includes hazard classification and the application of NOHSC labelling and Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) Codes of Practice to all hazardous industrial chemicals used in the workplace. Additionally, NICNAS classifies (non-regulatory status in Australia) chemicals in accordance with the UN Globally Harmonised System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS) as part of ongoing situational analysis of the potential for the implementation of GHS in Australia in 2008.
The Department of the Environment and Heritage (DEH) undertakes the environmental assessment for industrial chemicals under a service level agreement with NICNAS. Australian Government environmental policy is applied through this partnership arrangement with DEH and allows for the provision of scientific/technical and policy advice on environmental protection in relation to chemical safety. NICNAS environmental risk assessments will also link into the Environment Protection Heritage Councilís (EPHC) National Environmental Risk Management Framework for Chemicals (EnChem), once fully established.
State and territory laws govern the supply and downstream control of use, supply, handling and disposal of industrial chemicals.
In 2005-06 NICNAS contracted corporate services on a fee-for-service basis from both the TGA and
NICNAS provides input to the DoHA Regulatory Plan each year. Details of the current Regulatory Plan are provided at Appendix 01.