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South Africa Publishes Draft of HCA Regulation

The South African Ministry of Labor & Employment is finalizing the Draft of Hazardous Chemical Agents Regulation 2024, which will align this regulation to GHS Rev. 10, 2023.

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June 10, 2024

By Patricia Manteghi, senior regulatory specialist, Supply Chain team, UL Solutions

On April 5, 2024, the South African Ministry of Employment & Labor published the draft to the Regulation of Hazardous Chemical Agents, Notice No. R.4598 through the Government Gazette No. 50431.  This Regulation, once finalized, will repeal the previous Regulation of Hazardous Chemical Agents of March 29, 2021, and its amendment of April 29, 2022, as well as the Occupational Exposure for Silica published through Government Notice No. 32930 of February 5, 2010. This would occur 18 months after the date of enforcement.

According to the text of the draft Regulation, more stringent guidelines have been established for working with hazardous chemical agents (HCAs) in South African workplaces. Plus, there are 4 Annexes in the draft Regulation.  According to Annex 1, the Globally Hazardous System’s (GHS) Hazard Classes and Categories will be updated to harmonize with GHS Revision 10, of 2023. This change adds Explosives and Desensitized Explosives hazard classes to the Physical Hazards table.

Annex 2 provides lists of Occupational Exposure Limits (OELs), Restricted Exposure Limits (RELs), Biological Exposure Indices (BEIs), as well as a table of prohibited chemical agents.

Annex 3 provides a reporting tool for Crystalline Silica exposure, and Annex 4 provides HCA guidelines that are available from the Department of Employment & Labor’s website or upon request.

Additional highlights of the draft include, but are not limited, to the following:

  • HCAs will have to be classified by manufacturers and importers before introduction to the workplace.
  • The hazard assessment will use the building blocks in Annex 1 and must be performed by an expert.
  • In workplaces where HCAs are used, handled, or stored, an inventory must be prepared and kept current.
  • Where HCAs are present at a workplace, the employer must carry out a documented risk assessment:
    • Immediately.
    • Thereafter at periods not to exceed 24 months.
    • By an expert, using the extent of the risk assessment including work area, job and position classification and list of tasks within a job, by considering the nature of job-related exposure and HCA exposure concentration. 
    • Developing named Exposure Group for the workplace and evaluate HCA risk for each Same Exposure Group.
  • Plans for prevention of exposure to as well as monitoring of exposure to HCAs must be developed and maintained.
  • Proposal of establishing a Hazardous Chemical Agent Technical Committee made of experts in workplaces by an occupational health and safety Advisory Council and appointed by the Council to advise, make recommendations, provide trainings, and submit reports regarding Hazardous Chemical Agent’s matters to the Advisory Council, and perform any other functions for the implementation of provisions of the Draft HCA Regulation.

There is a 90-day comment/correction period, which started from the date of publication, during which interested bodies can send comments via mail to:

The Director General of the Department of Employment and Labor – attention: E Lourens Private Bag X117, Pretoria 0001, or e-mail to

For complete details, please consult the full text of the draft HCA Regulation:

Occupational Health and Safety Act: Regulations for Hazardous Chemical Agents (

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