Types of group standards

Group standards are approvals for a group of hazardous substances of a similar nature, type or use.

What is a group standard?

A group standard sets out conditions that enable a group of hazardous substances to be managed safely.

Most domestic and workplace chemicals (except for pesticides, timber treatment chemicals and vertebrate toxic agents) are approved under group standards.

The substances within a group standard are covered by one set of conditions, which state how they can be used and how to manage the related risks. Different types of products with different uses can be approved together under a single group standard. For example, the aerosol group standards include aerosol paints and aerosol cleaners.

Getting approval for a new substance

If a new hazardous substance being considered for approval fits the conditions of an existing group standard, it is automatically deemed an approved substance under the Hazardous Substance and New Organisms (HSNO) Act.

If the new substance does not fit the conditions of an existing group standard, an application for approval to import or manufacture that substance must be made. The application can be for:

  • the substance
  • a new group standard
  • an amendment to a group standard to include the substance.

Make an application to get approval for a substance

Apply for a new group standard approval

Apply for an amendment to a group standard approval

Establishing a new group standard

A group standard is established by publishing a notice in the New Zealand Gazette following public notification and consultation. It is also published in relevant industry publications.

New Zealand Gazette website

2017 Group Standards Plus

How the 2017 Group Standards work

The 2018 Group Standards operate with the relevant EPA Notices and new rules under the new health and safety legislation, which came into force on 1 December 2017.

Sometimes there are differences between the rules set in the EPA Notice and what is required under the reissued 2017 group standard. Where this happens, the group standard provides information about these differences. 

You can continue to follow the labelling, safety data sheet and packaging requirements of the previous group standards through to 1 December 2021.

With these group standards, please note the following:

  • The Graphic Materials Group Standard was updated and comes into force on 28 May 2018.
  • The Cosmetic Products Group Standard has a separate group of schedules that needs to be complied with.
  • The Not Otherwise Specified (NOS) Group Standards are for the Notified Toxic Substances (NOTS) that did not fit within the scope of any other product-specific group standard. They are closed group standards and cannot be used as an approval for a new hazardous substance.
  • The Subsidiary Hazards group standards are for substances that have a lower level of hazard than the other group standards of the same group.
  • The site and storage documentation are relevant for the previous group standards only.

2017 Group Standards

EPA Notices for hazardous substances

Health and Safety at Work (Hazardous Substances) Regulations

Previous Group Standards Plus

These group standards are superseded by the 2017 group standards.

Most of the rules in these previous group standards are revoked. From 1 December 2017 you must comply with the Hazardous Substances (Hazardous Property Controls) Notice 2017 and Hazardous Substances (Disposal) Notice 2017 or rules under the Health and Safety at Work (Hazardous Substances) Regulations - NZ Legislation website 

However, the labelling, safety data sheets and packaging requirements of these previous group standards will remain valid through to 1 December 2021. The EPA Notices can be found here.

The site and storage documentation are relevant for the previous group standards only.

Previous Group Standards can be found here