New Workplace exposure limits (WEL) to apply from 1 December 2026

Health and Safety Ministers in the field of work have endorsed the updated WEL list along with a streamlined shift duration slated to end on 30th November 2026. The conception of this change arose post extensive efforts and consultation for the revision of Workplace exposure standards pertaining to airborne contaminants, widely known as WES.

In order to emphasise their nature as non-exceedable limits and ensure Australia’s alignment with internationally used terminology, the Workplace exposure standards (WES) have been renamed to Workplace exposure limits (WEL).

Commencing from December 1, 2026, following implementation into the Commonwealth, states and territories’ WHS laws, Australia will be observing the incorporation of the Workplace exposure limits for airborne contaminants (WEL list). Until that date comes, those who conduct a business or undertaking (PCBUs) are required to certify that no individual is exposed to an airborne contaminant concentration higher than its associated standard listed in the WES List.

The review of the Workplace Exposure Standards witnessed some changes, although several exposure limits retained their initial state. This included both escalation and reduction in limitations for certain chemicals and the elimination or introduction of new constraints for other elements. Detailed information regarding these modifications can be found on our webpage highlighting the differences between the previous WES and the new WEL.

Supplemental activities initiated by Safe Work Australia in response to the WES Review encompass more research and development to boost workplace safety measures such as the Bluesafe SWMS and Bluesafe WHS Management System.

Extensive details on the WEL list are available on the official Safe Work Australia website. We encourage all stakeholders to subscribe to the ‘Exposure standards for airborne contaminants’ emailing list for ongoing updates involving the application and benefits of WHS management systems, SWMS, and policies, emphasizing workplace safety.

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