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About hazardous substances

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Update - Hazardous substances workplace information has moved to WorkSafe NZ's website

As of 1 September 2014, WorkSafe NZ administers a range of HSNO functions and tasks. WorkSafe NZ's website now provides information, guidance, forms and codes of practice for workplace use of a hazardous substance.
Visit the WorkSafe NZ website for answers to answers frequently asked questions about the transition.


The EPA’s role under the HSNO Act is the regulation of pesticides, dangerous goods, household chemicals and other dangerous substances. This means we put controls in place to manage the risks of hazardous substances to safeguard people and the environment.

Hazardous substances, including petrol, solvents, industrial chemicals, agrichemicals, household cleaners and cosmetics, need to be approved before they can be used in New Zealand.

Approvals are also sometimes needed for the people who use them (such as explosives handlers), as well as the locations they are in, and certain types of storage facilities and equipment (for example tanks, gas cylinders).

The pages below will help you to determine what a hazardous substance is, check whether a substance is approved.

You can also ask for advice on the status of a substance, find out what substances are banned, and what the key requirements for using and managing a substance safely are. 

Status of substance request

You can make an informal request to determine whether a substance is hazardous and, if so, whether it is covered by an existing approval.

HSNO Controls

"Controls" are rules put in place on approved hazardous substances to prevent or manage any adverse effects.

Safety alerts

Alerts on the risks and hazards of hazardous substances and associated equipment.

What is a hazardous substance?

How to find out whether or not a substance is defined as hazardous.

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