A poison is defined as any substance that is included in the Schedules of The Poisons Act 1964 & Regulation 1965 restrict the availability of poisons (including medicines & drugs) to protect public health. Curtin requires a permit to purchase, use & hold certain scheduled poisons. (See Poisons Permits below).

Before conducting research or teaching activities at Curtin, you must identify the hazards inherent in your work, document your safety protocols in a written risk assessment, and seek any approvals you need from Curtin or Government regulatory bodies. To do this you need to complete the Hazard Identification Tool.

Please contact the Hazardous Substance Advisor (HSA) for more information on or assistance with poisons legislation at Curtin.

Poisons schedule definition

The various poison schedules as defined in section 20 of the Poisons Act 1964 are detailed below:

PoisonsType of substanceComments
1No longer in use
2Pharmacy medicineSubstances the safe use of which may require advice from a pharmacist and which should be available from a pharmacy or where a pharmacy service is not available from a licensed person
3Pharmacist only medicineSubstances the safe use of which requires professional advice but which should be available to the public from a pharmacist without a prescription
4Prescription only medicine or Prescription Animal RemedySubstances the use or supply of which should be by or on the other of persons permitted under the Act to prescribe and should be available from a pharmacist on prescription
5CautionSubstances with a low potential for causing harm the extent of which can be reduced through the use of appropriate packaging with simple warnings and safety directions on the label
6PoisonSubstances with a moderate potential for causing harm the extent of which can be reduced through the use of distinctive packaging with strong warnings and safety directions on the label
7Dangerous PoisonSubstances with a high potential for causing harm at low exposure and which require special precautions during manufacture handling or use. These poisons should be available only to specialised or authorised users who have the skills necessary to handle them safely. Special regulations restricting their availability possession storage or use may apply.
8Controlled drugSubstances which should be available for use but require restriction of manufacture supply distribution possession and use to reduce abuse misuse and physical or psychological dependence.
9Prohibited substanceSubstances which may be abused or misused the manufacture possession sale or use of which should be prohibited by law except when required for medical or scientific research or for analytical teaching or training purposes with approval of the CEO

Poisons scheduling can also be found in Section 15 of a Safety Data Sheet (SDS), or by searching the Poisons Standard.

Poisons permits

Curtin requires a permit to purchase, use & hold poisons in Schedules 2, 3, 4, 7 or 8, whilst Schedule 9 substances may only be used for certain research and teaching purposes as approved by the Department of Health CEO.

Poison permits and purchase of Poisons should be coordinated through Schools/Departments in order to identify if a suitable permit is already in place or to identify a suitable person to apply for a permit. Permit holders are responsible for ensuring that all permit conditions are met. An application form for a permit to purchase poisons for the purpose of research and/or teaching can be downloaded from the Division of Public Health website.

Please contact the Hazardous Substance Advisor (HSA) for enquiries about new or existing poisons permits. Additionally please provide details to the HSA of any poisons permit applications, amendments or renewals.

Hazardous Substance Advisor (HSA)

Research & Development
Ms Amy Bowater
Phone: (08) 9266 1724
Email: a.bowater@curtin.edu.au