The Right To Health
Article 25 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948) states,
Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and his family, including food, clothing, housing, medical care and necessary social services
The Universal Declaration became the basis for a number of human rights treaties binding in international law.
d) The creation of conditions which would assure to all medical service and medical attention in the event of sickness.
In August 2000 the United Nations Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights reiterated what this provision of the Covenant requires of countries that have ratified it.
… health care facilities, goods and services have to be accessible to everyone without discrimination.
… health facilities, goods and services must be accessible to all, especially the most vulnerable or marginalised sections of the population, in law and in fact, without discrimination …
In ratifying ICESCR, Australia committed itself to progressively realising these rights. Most importantly, Australia was committed to ensuring that these rights are guaranteed to all without discrimination, regardless of sex, race, language or geographical location.
Article 25 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights 1948 states that “Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health, and wellbeing of himself and his family…”. The Preamble to the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) constitution also declares that it is one of the fundamental rights of every human being to enjoy “the highest attainable standard of health”. Inherent in the right to health is the right to the underlying conditions of health as well as medical care. Franklin D. Roosevelt advocated a right to medical care in his 1944 proposal for a Second Bill of Rights.
The United Nations further defined the right to health in Article 12 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights in 1966. The Covenant guarantees the “right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health”,
Human rights are universal, and enjoyed by everyone in the ACT regardless of gender, religious belief, nationality, race or any other point of difference.
The ACT was the first jurisdiction in Australia to enact a Human Rights Act, which provides an explicit statutory basis for respecting, protecting and promoting civil and political rights. Rights protected include:
¦Recognition and equality before the law;
¦The right to life;
¦The right not to be subject to torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment;
¦The right not to be subject to medical treatment or experimentation without consent;
¦The right to privacy and reputation;
¦Rights of the family and children;
¦The right to participate in public life;
¦Freedom of expression;
¦Freedom of thought, conscience and religious belief;
¦Rights of minorities to enjoy their culture;
¦Freedom of movement;
¦The right to a fair trial and rights in criminal proceedings; and
¦Freedom from forced work.
These rights reflect Australia’s international human rights obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
The first statement of ‘human rights’ internationally came in the form of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights,
a United Nations Declaration that was a precursor to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
More information on these United Nations Documents is available at http://www.un.org/en/rights/index.shtml
Enforcing Human Rights
Please note, the ACT Human Rights Commission can only investigate individual complaints
about unlawful discrimination, health services, services for older people, disability services
and services for children and young people. The Human Rights Commissioner does not investigate
individual complaints about breaches of the Human Rights Act, although we can provide general information about human rights.
If a person is a victim of a breach of their human rights by a public authority (generally an ACT government agency or an agency performing ACT government functions)
they may be able to commence proceedings in the ACT Supreme Court to enforce their rights. The Commission recommends that individuals seek legal advice before
considering legal proceedings. Free legal advice may be available from the Welfare Rights and Legal Centre, Women’s Legal Centre , Legal Aid ACT or through the Pro Bono Clearinghouse.
The ACT Law Society also provides information on private law firms operating in the ACT.
What is a Material Safety Data Sheet or MSDS?
A Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) is a written document that provides product users and emergency personnel with information and procedures needed for handling and working with chemicals. MSDSs have been around, in one form or another, since the time of the ancient Egyptians. Although MSDS formats vary somewhat between countries and authors (an international MSDS format is documented in ANSI Standard Z400.1-1993), they generally outline the physical and chemical properties of the product, describe potential hazards associated with the substance (health, storage cautions, flammability, radioactivity, reactivity, etc.), prescribe emergency actions, and often include manufacturer identification, address, MSDS date, and emergency phone numbers.
Why Should I Care?
Although MSDSs are targeted at workplaces and emergency personnel, any consumer can benefit from having important product information available.
An MSDS provides information about proper storage of a substance, first aid, spill response, safe disposal, toxicity, flammability, and additional useful material.
MSDSs are not limited to reagents used for chemistry, but are provided for most substances, including common household products such as cleaners, gasoline,
pesticides, certain foods, drugs, and office and school supplies. Familiarity with MSDSs allows for precautions to be taken for potentially dangerous products;
seemingly safe products may be found to contain unforeseen hazards.
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“MSDS” redirects here. For the video game, see MapleStory DS.
An example MSDS in a US format provides guidance for handling a hazardous substance and information on its composition and properties.
A material safety data sheet (MSDS), safety data sheet (SDS), or product safety data sheet (PSDS) is an important component of product stewardship and occupational safety and health. It is intended to provide workers and emergency personnel with procedures for handling or working with that substance in a safe manner, and includes information such as physical data (melting point, boiling point, flash point, etc.), toxicity, health effects, first aid, reactivity, storage, disposal, protective equipment, and spill-handling procedures. MSDS formats can vary from source to source within a country depending on national requirements.
SDSs are a widely used system for cataloging information on chemicals, chemical compounds, and chemical mixtures. SDS information may include instructions for the safe use and potential hazards associated with a particular material or product. These data sheets can be found anywhere where chemicals are being used.
There is also a duty to properly label substances on the basis of physico-chemical, health and/or environmental risk. Labels can include hazard symbols such as the European Union standard black diagonal cross on an orange background, used to denote a harmful substance.
An SDS for a substance is not primarily intended for use by the general consumer, focusing instead on the hazards of working with the material in an occupational setting.
In some jurisdictions, the SDS is required to state the chemical’s risks, safety, and effect on the environment.
It is important to use an SDS specific to both country and supplier, as the same product (e.g. paints sold under identical brand names by the same company) can have different formulations in different countries. The formulation and hazard of a product using a generic name (e.g. sugar soap) may vary between manufacturers in the same country.
What is an MSDS?
An MSDS is a document containing important information about a hazardous chemical (which may be a hazardous substance and/or dangerous good) and must state:
•a hazardous substance’s product name
•the chemical and generic name of certain ingredients
•the chemical and physical properties of the hazardous substance
•health hazard information
•precautions for safe use and handling
•the manufacturer’s or importer’s name, Australian address and telephone number.
The MSDS provides employers, self-employed persons, workers and other health and safety representatives with the necessary information to assist in safely managing the risk from hazardous substance exposure.
It is important that everyone in the workplace knows how to read and interpret a MSDS.
Access to MSDS
Access to a MSDS can be provided in several ways including:
•paper and microfiche copy collections of MSDS with microfiche readers available for use by all workers
•computerised and internet MSDS databases.
The register of MSDS should be used as an information tool to make sure everyone is involved in managing hazardous substances exposure at the workplace.
A MSDS should be reviewed whenever there is:
•a change in formulation that: ?affects the hazardous properties of the substance
?alters the form, appearance or mode of application of the substance
•a change to the hazardous substance which alters its health and/or safety hazard or risk
•new health and/or safety information on the hazardous substance such as exposure standard changes or a substance previously considered not harmful is now established to be harmful (e.g. carcinogenic)
•at least every five years.
In respect of MSDS and labels, employers and self-employed persons must:
•obtain an MSDS of a hazardous substance from the supplier
•keep a register containing a list of all hazardous substances used at the workplace and put a copy of any MSDS obtained in the register
•take reasonable steps to ensure the MSDS is not changed other than by the manufacturer or importer
•keep the MSDS close to where the substance is being used
•ensure a label is fixed to a hazardous substance container
•ensure warnings are given about enclosed systems containing hazardous substances.
Retailers are not required to distribute MSDSs. However, if a hazardous substance is purchased from a retailer and the
substance is for use at a workplace, an MSDS can be requested from another supplier of the hazardous substance such as the manufacturer or importer.
In certain circumstances a supplier must provide copies of the MSDS to the workplace and fix a label to the containers of all classified hazardous substances because the substances:
•are on the National Occupational Health and Safety Commission (NOHSC) List of Designated Hazardous Substances
•on the designated list and are contained in a substance above a certain concentration
•meet the Approved Criteria (PDF, 405 KB) (because of health effects) (non-Queensland Government link).
The format and content for a MSDS used in Australia is set out in the ‘National Code of Practice for the Labelling of Workplace Substances’ (non-Queensland Government link).
certified safety management system, in Chapter 8, means a safety management system that complies with AS 4801:2001 (Occupational health and safety management systems), or an equivalent system determined by the regulator.
chemical identity means a name, in accordance with the nomenclature systems of the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry or the Chemical Abstracts Service, or a technical name, that gives a chemical a unique identity.
Hazardous substances registers (including asbestos registers) identifying substance properties and details of their condition.
Note: With paper-based registers, retain minimum of 75 years after last entry in the register. With electronic registers, retain minimum of 75 years after last update or amendment to an entry, or after data has become obsolete, then destroy.
See OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH & SAFETY – Health promotion for records relating to material safety data sheets (MSDS). Retain minimum of 75 years after action completed, then destroy
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Definition, material safety data sheets (MSDS), health effects, risk assessments ….. Obtain a worker’s medical record only with the worker’s written consent. • Disclose the …… The practice may be an offence under the Trade Measurement Act …
In respect of MSDS and labels, employers and self-employed persons
• Obtain an MSDS of a hazardous substance from the supplier.
• Keep a register containing a list of all hazardous substances used at the
workplace and put a copy of any MSDS obtained in the register.
• Take reasonable steps to ensure the MSDS is not changed other than
by the manufacturer or importer.
• Keep the MSDS close to where the substance is being used.
• Ensure a label is fixed to a hazardous substance container.
• Ensure warnings are given about enclosed systems containing
File Format: PDF/Adobe Acrobat – Quick View
current Material Data Safety Sheets and copies of appropriate legislation. ….
If an employer fails to comply with these legal requirements this may constitute
an offence under Section. 53(1)920 of the WSIA ….. Medical treatment and monitoring …
Occupational Health and Safety explanatory materials Guide to the Occupational Health and Safety Act.
In a high traffic area (worker entrance, near time clock, bulletin board) Accessible to all workers.
Legislation: OHSA Section 25(2)(i).
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