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Changes to how hazardous substances are managed

New Zealand’s system for managing hazardous substances is changing. From 1 December 2017 the rules to protect people from workplace activities involving hazardous substances will move:

  • from the Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act (HSNO) - implemented by the EPA
  • into the new Health and Safety at Work Act (HSWA) - implemented by WorkSafe New Zealand.

The changes are part of the Government’s wider health and safety reforms. This section explains what the changes mean if you import or manufacture hazardous substances, and when the changes will happen.

If your work brings you or your staff into contact with hazardous substances you’ll need to follow the new hazardous substance rules set under HSWA immediately from 1 December 2017. Check out what the new rules mean for you by visiting the WorkSafe NZ website.

More information about the changes can be found below.

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16 August 2017

EPA Notices Update

Thank you to everyone who has provided feedback on the consultation of our Notices. Six of our eight new EPA Notices have been finalised and issued by the EPA Board. An amendment notice to the Importer and Manufacturer Notice has also been issued. These Notices don't come into force until 1 December 2017 but are now available for you to view so that you can start getting ready for the new regime.

To view the Notices and read more information about what's changing read on under the heading New Notices below.

Hazardous Property Controls Notice and Labelling Notice - to be finalised in September

The Hazardous Property Controls (HPC) Notice is a compilation of several different types of rules from various HSNO Regulations and substance approvals. It covers two main areas, rules that need to be followed:

  • to protect the general public when using and storing hazardous substances in non-workplaces
  • when using and storing hazardous substances that are known to be harmful to the environment (ecotoxic). These rules will apply in both workplaces and non-workplaces. Many of these rules relate to the use of agrichemicals.

This Notice will be finalised in September 2017, also coming into force 1 December 2017. 

The Labelling Notice will also be finalised at the same time as the HPC Notice. Several new labelling statements relating to the use of agrichemicals have been included in the Labelling Notice as a result of the development of the HPC Notice.

4 July 2017

Health and Safety at Work (Hazardous Substances) Regulations

New regulations to support the reform have been released and are now available on the New Zealand Legislation website. These new Health and Safety at Work (Hazardous Substances) Regulations 2017 will come into force on 1 December 2017. They underpin the wider changes to the administration of rules that govern the safe use of hazardous substances in the workplace. The regulations may require those who use, store or manage hazardous substances in the workplace to meet certain obligations. To find out if the regulations impact you visit the WorkSafe website.​

To support the new health and safety changes, many of the rules that are staying under the HSNO regime will be set out in EPA Notices. EPA Notices will make it easier for you to comply with the HSNO Act because they contain almost all of the rules you need to know about a particular subject – like labelling, for example – in one place.

They are also easier than regulations to update or amend so we – and you – can be more responsive to new developments and technologies.  

By 1 December 2017 we will have 10 EPA notices in force:

A note about our legal ability to make EPA Notices

Amendments to the HSNO Act made as part of the reform allow us to develop EPA Notices but some of these laws are not yet in force. We are able to develop Notices in anticipation under the Interpretation Act. The Notices will come into force the same day as the amendments to HSNO, which allow us to develop EPA Notices - on 1 December 2017.

 

New EPA Notices will apply at different times depending on approval

Individual approvals

Other than certain rules set in the Hazardous Property Controls Notice, substances approved before 1 December 2017 do not need to comply with the new Notices until their approvals have been legally reissued. Once reissued, you will have a time period of between two and four years to comply with the new requirements in the Labelling, Safety Data Sheet and Packaging Notices.

New hazardous substances approved after 1 December 2017 will need to comply with all Notices immediately.

Group Standards

From 1 December 2017, all group standards will be reissued to remove workplace controls currently set under HSNO, and cross-refer to EPA Notices.

Hazardous substances allowed under an existing group standard will have four years to comply with the new Labelling, Safety Data Sheet and Packaging Notices. Therefore, these substances will need to be fully compliant by 1 December 2021.

Hazardous Property Controls Notice

The Hazardous Property Controls Notice combines several different types of rules from various regulations and substance approvals. It covers two main areas, rules that need to be followed:

  • to protect the general public when using and storing hazardous substances in non-workplaces
  • when using and storing hazardous substances that are known to be harmful to the environment (ecotoxic). These rules will apply in both workplaces and non-workplaces. Many of these rules relate to the use of agrichemicals.

Many of the rules in this Notice are intended to come into force on 1 December 2017, whether the approval has been reissued or not. This is because those rules make sure that all of the risks that are currently managed continue to be managed under the new regime.


Two EPA Notices are already in force:

Hazardous Substances (Importers and Manufacturers Information) Notice 2015

The Hazardous Substances (Importers and Manufacturers Information) Notice 2015 requires importers and manufacturers of hazardous substances to provide us with their business contact details. This notice has been in force since 2015.

See more information about the notice

Upcoming changes to this notice

This notice is being amended to require people importing explosives to obtain an import certificate from the EPA. This requirement is currently in the HSNO Tracking Regulations. The name of the notice has also been amended to remove the word “Information” from the title, i.e it will become the Hazardous Substances (Importers and Manufacturers) Notice 2015.These amendments will come into force on 1 December 2017.

Hazardous Substances (Enforcement Officer Qualifications) Notice 2015

​The Hazardous Substances (Enforcement Officer Qualifications) Notice 2015 sets out the training requirements that HSNO enforcement officers need to become qualified. These requirements are almost the same as those in the existing HSNO Personnel Qualifications Regulations, but have one notable change (see below).

See more information about the notice

What’s changed?

Prospective enforcement officers no longer need to have six months’ supervision under the guidance of a HSNO-warranted officer. The notice still requires some experience, but it’s not as prescriptive as the old requirements in the Personnel Qualifications Regulations.

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Minimum Degrees of Hazard Notice

The Minimum Degrees of Hazard Notice is essentially a copy of the existing Hazardous Substances (Minimum Degrees of Hazard) Regulations 2001. It sets out the levels of hazard a substance must have to be considered a hazardous substance under HSNO. If your substance is hazardous as defined in this Notice, you would then classify that substance according to the Classification Notice, below.

What will be changing

There will be some updates to referenced legislation.

What you will need to do differently

Nothing.

More information

 

The Classification Notice

The Classification Notice is essentially a copy of the current Hazardous Substances (Classification) Regulations 2001. It sets out the classification system for hazardous substances in New Zealand, and provides the criteria for each hazard classification.

What will be changing

There will be some updates to referenced legislation.

What you will need to do differently

Nothing.

More information


The Labelling Notice

The Labelling Notice sets the rules about what information must be included on the labels of hazardous substances. This Notice combines a number of rules currently spread across different sets of regulations, and is based on the Globally Harmonised System of Classification and Labelling (GHS) provisions.

The Notice also allows compliant labels from Australia, EU, Canada, and USA to be used, as long as certain New Zealand specific information is also included.

What will be changing

The Labelling Notice requires the GHS pictograms, signal word, and hazard and precautionary statements to be on the label. This is a change from the current requirements of the Identification Regulations, but is similar to the labelling requirements for group standards. 

More information


 

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The Safety Data Sheets Notice

The Safety Data Sheets Notice sets the rules for the format and content of a safety data sheet (SDS). It is similar to the existing group standard provisions.

What will be changing

The Notice requires all SDSs to be in the 16-header GHS format. Either the HSNO or GHS classification must be provided in Section 2 of the SDS, along with the GHS signal word, and hazard and precautionary statements. Compared to current requirements, the Notice includes more details on the specific information required in some sections of the SDS.

The Notice will allow GHS-compliant SDSs from Australia, EU, Canada, and USA as long as some New Zealand specific information is also included.

More information


The Packaging Notice

The Packaging Notice sets the rules for the packaging of hazardous substances, including the rules for child-resistant packaging. This notice combines and updates rules currently set in the Hazardous Substances (Packaging) Regulations 2001 and group standards.

What will be changing

Some changes have been made to packaging requirements for some classifications so they better align with the UN Recommendations on the Transport of Dangerous Goods.

The provisions for child-resistant packaging have been extended, but equivalent child-resistant packaging requirements from Australia, EU, Canada, and the USA will be allowable.

We’ve also incorporated two new provisions relating to misleading packaging of consumer goods.

More information

 

The Disposal Notice

The Disposal Notice sets the national minimum standard for the disposal of hazardous substances. It updates disposal provisions in the Hazardous Substances (Disposal) Regulations 2001 and group standards.

What will be changing

Minor changes have been made to the disposal requirements for some classifications. These either clarify ambiguous provisions or better align with the new HSW (Hazardous Substances) Regulations.

We’ve also incorporated a new provision to prohibit the disposal of halogenated organic substances (natural and synthetic chemicals that contain fluorine, chlorine, bromine, or iodine) by low-temperature incineration.

More information


The Hazardous Property Controls Notice

The Hazardous Property Controls Notice is a compilation of several different types of rules from various HSNO Regulations and substance approvals. It covers two main areas, rules that need to be followed:

  • to protect the general public when using and storing hazardous substances in non-workplaces
  • when using and storing hazardous substances that are known to be harmful to the environment (ecotoxic).These rules will apply in both workplaces and non-workplaces. Many of these rules relate to the use of agrichemicals.

What will be changing

This notice includes several rules to ensure there are no outstanding areas of risk as a result of the reforms. These are:

  • qualification requirements for users of highly ecotoxic pesticides in certain situations
  • rules to manage the risks from the storage and use of ecotoxic substances in workplaces
  • restriction on supply and use of certain highly hazardous substances to non-workplaces
  • rules for hazardous substances used or stored in non-workplaces
  • rules about stationary container systems for domestic oil burning installations
  • certification of non-workplaces storing more than 100 kg of LPG
  • rules for filling SCUBA cylinders in non-workplaces.

More information


 

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The Forms and Information Notice

The Forms and Information Notice sets out all the information you need to provide to the EPA if you are applying for an approval under the HSNO Act. It also includes a form for issuing compliance orders.

What will be changing

Most existing provisions of the Hazardous Substances (Forms and Information) Regulations 2001 have been moved – unchanged – into this Notice.

What you will need to do differently

Nothing.

More information


From 1 December 2017 the EPA will continue to:

  • receive applications for hazardous substances, assess their risks, classify and decide whether they should be approved for use in New Zealand. We will also maintain existing group standards and issue new ones as necessary
  • carry out reassessments on approved hazardous substances
  • set rules in both workplaces and non-workplaces to protect the environment against hazardous substances
  • set rules in both workplaces and non-workplaces for the disposal of hazardous substances
  • set rules for the use, handling and storage of hazardous substances in non-workplace settings to protect New Zealanders generally
  • set rules that ensure hazardous substances are correctly labelled and packaged, and that specify the content and supply of safety data sheets.

Most of the rules will be set under EPA Notices, which are a new way to set rules under HSNO.

We’ll also have a new enforcement responsibility to make sure importers and manufacturers of hazardous substances:

  • have a HSNO approval for each of their substances
  • have the right label, packaging and safety data sheets for their hazardous substances
  • comply with the rules about allowable limits of certain hazardous substances within products
  • comply with the bans on persistent organic pollutants.

What the EPA will ​stop doing

From 1 December 2017 the EPA will no longer set rules that protect those who use, handle, store or manufacture hazardous substances at work. These rules are being moved into the Health and Safety at Work Act implemented by WorkSafe New Zealand.

This page gives you information about the EPA Notice proposals currently open for submission​.

This page provides you with links to the consultation documents for our proposals for EPA Notices where the consultation period has closed, and links to the submissions we received.

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