Chemical safety


Bunnings sells chemicals such as flammable liquids, spray paints and pool chemicals in retail sized packages. 

The mishandling, storage, sale or disposal of dangerous goods and hazardous substances potentially exposes Bunnings’ team members and customers to harm.  

Bunnings holds required registrations and licences for the retail storage and handling of chemicals classified as dangerous goods. These requirements are in place at relevant sites to store and handle these products, according to Australian and New Zealand regulations. Chemical safety and hazardous waste controls are embedded in Bunnings’ safety framework, which effectively manages the risks and monitors legislative requirements. These controls are reviewed and updated as required. 

Bunnings continues to develop and enhance comprehensive storage and handling standards and risk assessments, including safety and emergency management procedures to manage the risks associated with hazardous chemicals. Bunnings works collaboratively with emergency service agencies to provide secure 24-hour access to site plans, storage manifests and emergency response guides to assist first responders in the event of a fire or serious incident. 

During the year, Bunnings commissioned a third-party review of its controls regarding dangerous goods and hazardous substances. Appropriate continuous improvement initiatives arising from that review are now in place. Bunnings’ stores teams conducted training to prepare for various emergency response scenarios involving chemical leaks and spills. An online training course was also provided to educate team members on the requirements for safe use, handling and storage of hazardous chemicals. 

Kmart Group 

Minimising water usage and restricting chemicals used in production, such as dyes, colourants and solvents, is important to ensure product safety and to reduce risk to water systems. Managing this risk is particularly critical in the production of apparel and textile products given the high use of water in the washing and dyeing processes of fabric mills and laundries. 

Kmart Group has committed to two time-bound targets to minimise its impacts on water. To support the implementation of these commitments with suppliers, the business has joined the Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC) and Zero Discharge of Hazardous Chemicals (ZDHC) foundation.  

In the past year, Kmart Group developed a phased implementation roadmap to meet ZDHC compliance requirements, with the current focus being on wet processing facilities used by strategic suppliers. Kmart Group has now registered approximately 76 per cent of the wet processing facilities (e.g. mills, laundries) used by strategic suppliers onto the ZDHC Gateway platform, with approximately 68 per cent reporting wastewater test results and 40 per cent reporting compliance with the chemical inventory MRSL (manufacturing restricted substance list). 

In the year ahead, Kmart Group will continue to work closely with its strategic suppliers on ZDHC compliance, while working with wet processing facilities to baseline water usage and set targets for improvement. 


Handling, managing and storing hazardous chemicals and the challenging waste streams associated with these operations are day-to-day tasks for WesCEF. Accordingly, the business is acutely aware of the health, safety, environmental and regulatory consequences if an incident occurs. WesCEF is committed to maintaining its licences to operate and responsibly reduce, reuse and recycle waste where possible, to continue operating sustainably. 

Ongoing detailed monitoring, reporting and testing to meet safety and environmental regulations were undertaken in the 2021 financial year; and licence and legislation awareness training continued to be made available to relevant team members. 

By nature of its business, many of WesCEF’s products are hazardous. Products are transported in bulk volumes to numerous locations both domestically and internationally. While WesCEF retains a high level of control around its products and transportation practices within its sites, the level of control is diminished once the product leaves the gate due to the introduction of other road users and environmental factors.   

As a result, WesCEF uses specialised chemical transport contractors with approved licenses to carry dangerous goods. For its sodium cyanide products, transport management plans are established for all Australian routes and deliveries to 90 per cent of overseas sites. 

WesCEF also uses custom built containers, tankers, isotainers and cylinders for its products. For example, solid sodium cyanide is triple packaged inside a sea container for transport using a bulka bag, inside a plastic bag inside a wooden box. 

Technology continues to drive improvement in this area and long-haul LPG and LNG prime movers are being fitted with head position monitoring technology to assist with the detection of driver fatigue. WesCEF intends to further mitigate risks by continuing with ongoing driver competency assessments, as well as contractor audits focusing on compliance with chain of responsibility obligations.

The ammonia business commenced a campaign focused on the disposal of spent catalyst from its production process. Some of the catalyst material is pyrophoric in nature, meaning it is unstable and may ignite at certain temperatures. The recommended treatment method for pyrophoric catalyst is via oxidation through either carefully managed exposure to air or submersion in water. The business is investigating disposal options, including recycling. 

As part of WesCEF’s continuous improvement mindset, a review will be undertaken next year of the internal and external audit programs, which help support WesCEF’s compliance with its regulatory obligations, in order to increase management system functionality and effectiveness. 

This continuous improvement approach also applies to ongoing review of WesCEF’s process safety performance. For example, whenever a global incident occurs in a similar hazardous operation, WesCEF analyses the causes and using these learnings, and reviews its own systems and processes to minimise the likelihood of a similar incident occurring at its operations.

GRI 103-1, GRI 103-2, GRI 103-3, GRI 416-1, GRI 417-1, GRI 413-2