Legal requirements for working with nanotechnology

Although there is no specific legislation covering nanotechnology, Work Health and Safety (WHS) legislation aims to protect the health and safety of researchers and workers developing, manufacturing or using engineered nanomaterials. This is reflected in OHS legal duties which require that:

  • manufacturers ensure that, as far as reasonably practicable, substances are manufactured to be safe if they are used as intended
  • suppliers ensure that, as far as reasonably practicable, substances supplied to research laboratories and workplaces are safe if they are used as intended
  • ANU provide and preserve a working environment that is safe
  • researchers and workers follow WHS requirements to protect their own health and safety, and that of others who may be affected by the work they are doing.

Additionally, there are specific WHS regulations for workplace chemicals, which include engineered nanomaterials. These regulations are consistent with international approaches for ensuring the safe manufacture and use of workplace chemicals.

The Australian Government is working with Australian stakeholders, it's overseas counterparts and other international organisations to ensure that these approaches address the potential health and safety impacts of nanotechnology.