Exposure standards are specified in the model Work Health and Safety Regulations as mandatory legal limits to assist in protecting the health of workers and minimise exposure to airborne contaminants in the workplace.

Exposure standards aim to minimise the risk of adverse health effects by establishing precise targets for businesses to follow.

Safe Work Australia has engaged Golder Associates Pty Ltd to undertake an evaluation of Australia’s list of 644 workplace exposure standards.

Golder Associates Pty Ltd will review of the current available scientific data for each chemical and, where necessary, recommend a new level for the exposure standard.

The evaluation follows a public consultation process held by Safe Work Australia late last year, examining the role and use of exposure standards and how they could be effectively reviewed and maintained. The process noted that many of Australia’s workplace exposure standards are out of date and there was support for mandating a smaller number of exposure standards on the basis of risk. In addition, many submissions suggested the need to streamline the list of exposure standards and to update the standards to reflect current knowledge of health effects.