New regime for managing hazardous substances

Since 1 December this year regulatory regime for managing hazardous substances has been modified to further protect New Zealanders from harm.

New Zealand’s Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) and WorkSafe New Zealand are working together to ensure these substances are managed safely. The EPA is responsible for approving all hazardous substances for use in New Zealand, and for setting the rules to protect the environment and people in non-work-places. “We’ll stay responsible for setting the rules for labels, safety data sheets, packaging and disposal of hazardous substances,” says Dr Fiona Thomson-Carter, General Manager of Hazardous Substances and New Organisms. “Making sure substances have the correct labels and packaging, and their safety data sheets have the correct information will help keep everyone safe in the workplace. Managers and staff will be more aware of the risks of using the product and be better informed to improve workplace health and safety.” To ensure all hazardous substance comply with the rules, we have developed and published EPA Notices. These consolidate and simplify many of these rules and replace many of the regulations currently under the Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act (HSNO). EPA Notices are also easier than regulations to update or amend so we can be more responsive to new developments and technologies. WorkSafe New Zealand enforces the rules relating to the use, handling and storage of hazardous substances in the workplace under the Health & Safety at Work Act (Hazardous Substances) Regulations 2017 (available on the New Zealand Legislation website). It also:

  • implements the rules by providing guidance, managing the compliance certification regime, and developing more detailed and technical rules for some hazardous substances;
  • enforces the ecotoxic and disposal requirements in the workplace, which are set under the Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act (HSNO); and
  • provides information and tools to help businesses understand their obligations

More information is available on the WorkSafe website.

NZ EPA, 15 December 2017 ; NZ EPA