Codes of Practice for Hazardous Substances

Codes of practice give additional rules and guidance when using hazardous substances.

HSNO codes of practice (HSNOCOPs) set out how to comply with the Hazardous Substances and New Organisms (HSNO) Act and the HSNO regulations, or provide an alternative way of complying with the HSNO regulations. 

They are not mandatory and you can meet the requirements in other ways instead.

The new Health and Safety at Work (Hazardous Substances) Regulations 2017 and EPA Notices replace the HSNO regulations, which means that some HSNOCOPs are no longer valid.

Approving codes of practice

We may develop codes of practice, or other organisations can develop them and present them to us for approval.

Once a code of practice is approved by us, it will be notified in The Parliamentary Gazette, on our website and in our newsletter Te Putara Bulletin.

Codes of practice are approved under Sections 78 and 79 of the HSNO Act. In practice, they are approved by the Chief Executive of the EPA under delegated authority.

HSNOCOP 3 Management of Agrichemicals code of practice NZS 8409:2004 Plus

Approved: September 2004. This code supercedes NZS 8409:1999 Code of Practice for the Management of Agrichemicals.

This code provides guidance to ensure that agrichemicals are used in a safe, responsive and effective manner, whilst minimising any adverse effects on the environment or human and animal health.  It includes guidance on plant protection products (herbicides, insecticides, fungicides), veterinary medicines, fumigants used in rural situations and agricultural use of detergents and sanitisers.

Most agrichemicals covered by this code are classified as hazardous substances and will have a range of controls placed upon them.

The code can be purchased from Standards New Zealand, in hard copy or electronic format. Contact:

Standards New Zealand

You can also view a hard copy of the Code at our office.

Who is the code for?

This code is for all agrichemical users. It specifies the requirements for the commercial use of agrichemicals for:

  • applicators (farmers and growers)
  • contractors (aerial and ground application, and veterinarians) and
  • distributors (manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers).
What is in the code?
  • The code is divided into seven sections:
  • Introduction
  • Management of agrichemicals
  • Land transport of agrichemicals
  • Storage and supply of agrichemicals
  • Use of agrichemicals
  • Disposal of agrichemicals and containers
  • Emergency preparedness and management.

A series of appendices, divided into those considered compulsory to meet requirements and those providing general advice and supporting information to assist with compliance. All of the appendices are considered to be part of the approved code.

The standard uses a risk management approach for transport, storage, use and disposal as well as planning for, and dealing with, emergencies relating to agrichemicals.

  • Section 2 – Management of Agrichemicals – covers risk management, responsibility, information, product information sources, documentation and certification, tracking and competency of personnel.
  • Section 3 – Land Transport of Agrichemicals – covers responsibility, general requirements for agrichemical transport, transport of dangerous goods for agricultural use within quantity limits, transport for hire or reward or for agricultural use in large quantities, transport emergencies, and competency. This section specifically addresses compliance with the Land Transport Rule: Dangerous Goods 1999. However, compliance with this Rule in general means compliance with HSNO in transport circumstances.
  • Section 4 – Storage and Supply of Agrichemicals – sets out the requirements and recommendations for the safe storage, handling and supply by suppliers and users of packaged agrichemicals that are hazardous substances and/or dangerous goods. Agrichemicals classified as hazardous substances under the Hazardous Substances (Classification) Regulations will be subject to the controls applied under several of the Hazardous Substances controls regulations, according to the hazards associated with the substance. It covers risk management, responsibility, information needs and requirements, documentation, and competency of persons.
  • Section 5 – Use of Agrichemicals – covers the responsibilities for safe use of agricultural compounds and plant protection products, safe use of veterinary medicines and animal health products, safe use of compounds for agricultural produce, soil or greenhouse fumigation, and safe agricultural use of detergents and other cleaning and sanitizing compounds.
  • Section 6 – Disposal of Agrichemicals and Containers – deals with the safe disposal of concentrate agrichemical, surplus agrichemical spray mixture, empty agrichemicals containers and contaminated Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).
  • Section 7 – Emergency Preparedness and Management – deals with the need to anticipate incidents or adverse events with agrichemicals, and to have a plan ready to action when such events occur. The Hazardous Substances (Emergency Management) Regulations prescribe the requirements to manage any emergency involving a hazardous substance. This section addresses how to prepare for agrichemical emergencies and the quantities of agrichemicals that trigger the need to have an emergency response plan. An outline of the information needed and actions to take in an emergency is given.

The contents of some of the Appendices are summarised below.

  • Appendix E – Agrichemical Poisoning and First Aid – addresses first aid provisions where agrichemical poisoning is implicated.
  • Appendix G – Spray Drift Hazard and Weather Conditions – addresses provisions to restrict and control off target movement and spray drift hazard associated with the use of pesticides.
  • Appendix K – Emergency Management – deals with emergency preparedness in relation to the hazards from spillage or fire where agrichemicals are involved. Both these events can occur at any time but the most hazardous situation is either in storage areas where large amounts of different agrichemicals may be held, or in transport accidents.
  • Appendix L – General Storage Requirements – covers emergency management, as well as quantities of hazardous substances that activate hazardous substance location requirements under HSNO (table L1), and responsibility and competency requirements under the Hazardous Substances (Classes 1-5 Control) Regulations and the Hazardous Substances (Classes 6, 8 and 9 Controls) Regulations.
  • Appendix M – Notification and Signage for Application of Agrichemicals – covers both ground and aerial application. It specifies that, along with compliance with the appendix, users shall check with the appropriate local authority for any specific notification requirements for agrichemical use.
  • Appendix P – Personal Protective Equipment – addresses a specific regulatory requirement in Regulation 8 of the Hazard Substances (Classes 6, 8 and 9 Controls) Regulations. It covers minimum PPE requirements for agrichemicals and respiratory protection and filter replacement.
  • Appendix Q – Application Equipment – addresses a specific regulatory requirement in Regulation 7 of the Hazardous Substances (Classes 6, 8 and 9 Controls) Regulations. It covers application equipment for plant protection products, calibration of application equipment for registered agrichemicals, application equipment for registered veterinary medicines (animal remedies), and application equipment for fumigants.
  • Appendix S – Disposal of Agrichemicals and Containers – covers the disposal of unwanted agrichemicals, disposal of surplus spray mix, post-harvest treatment and stock dip effluent disposal methods, and disposal of agrichemical containers.

This code of practice has also been approved, under section 28 of the Agricultural Compounds and Veterinary Medicines (ACVM) Act 1997, as a means of complying with the following HSNO requirements relating to relating to use and handling, storage, disposal, first aid information, emergency management information and planning, and secondary containment.

Approval of the code is limited to the products and substances it covers:  These include:

  • Agricultural compounds
  • Veterinary medicines
  • Agrichemicals for home and garden, nursery, turf and amenity use
  • Fumigants used in agriculture
  • Detergents and sanitisers used in agriculture (except those specifically excluded (see below).

These are not included in the code:

  • Fertilisers (a code of practice for fertilisers available from FertResearch)
  • Vertebrate pest control products
  • Oral nutritional compounds
  • Dairy detergents and sanitisers approved under the Dairy Industry Regulations (1990 or subsequent Animal Products legislation) when used on farms.
HSNOCOP 16 Hazardous Substances Storage and HSNOCOP 28 Hazardous Substances Storage Code - incompatible separation Plus

Approved: July 2008 (HSNOCOP 16) and February 2007 (HSNOCOP 28).

This code establishes which hazardous substances are not compatible and addresses the segregation requirements of them.

Where can I get a copy of this Code?

The Code can be purchased from Responsible Care New Zealand (RCNZ) in hard copy:

You can also view a hard copy of the Code at our office.

Who is the Code for?

The Code was developed to assist persons in charge, and people who store hazardous substances.

What is included in this code?

Some hazardous substances are incompatible with other hazardous substances and must be stored separately to avoid unintended consequences. This may include a fire rated wall or a specified separation distance.

For instance, flammable liquids (class 3.1) must be kept away from all class 2 (flammable gases), class 4 (flammable solids) and class 5 (oxidising substances or organic peroxides).

This Code outlines the compatibility of different classes of hazardous substances with each other and some other substances of interest.  Where different classes of hazardous substances are not compatible, the Code addresses the HSNO segregation requirements for these hazardous substances.

The Code is presented in the form of a chart and a wheel with an explanatory key and notes. It presents the requirements in pictorial form.


It has been approved under the HSNO Act, only in respect of the requirements of regulations 21, 76, 95 and 117 of the Hazardous Substances (Class 1 to 5 Controls) Regulations 2001 and only in respect those matters in the document that relate to the HSNO Act and the controls and regulations made under that Act.

HSNOCOP 38 In-situ filling of LPG cylinders Plus

Approved: December 2011

The purpose of this Code is to provide a means by which filling of cylinders by volume can be undertaken in situ from a road tank wagon utilising an ullage or contents gauge. This Code also provides a means for dissipating static electricity during in-situ fill operations under regulation 61(4)(a) of the Hazardous Substances (Classes 1 to 5 Controls) Regulations 2001. Information on regulation 58 for establishing and managing the hazardous atmosphere zones for in-situ filling is also included. Compliance with this Code does not obviate the requirement to comply with other sections of the HSNO.

This code of practice can be read in full here: HSNOCOP 38 In-situ filling of LPG cylinders

HSNOCOP 42 Storage of Class 3.1 substances in retail stores conforming to AS/NZS 3833 Plus

Approved: May 2010

The purpose of the code is to overcome the restriction of 2350 litres of flammable liquids that can be kept in a retail store without the need to comply with specified separation distances.  Retailers have found it impossible to keep stocks below this figure in the new large format retail stores and typical stock levels can be up to about 10,000 litres.

This code can be purchased from New Zealand Retailers Association Incorporated:

You can also view a hard copy of the Code at our office in Wellington.

Who is the Code for?

This code is for people responsible for retail stores containing flammable liquids. These include paints, thinners and solvents. These requirements include, amongst other items, separation distances from the building to boundaries and other buildings.  These separation distances are dependent upon the quantities of hazardous substances and the type of building construction.

What is included in this Code?

The code allows stock levels of up to 10,000 litres providing the requirements of the code are met.  These requirements are based on AS/NZS 3833:2007 “The storage and handling of mixed classes of dangerous goods, in packages and intermediate bulk containers”.  The code also clarifies the quantities of various types of flammable liquids permitted, and the types of stores to which it applies.


This code or practice is approved under clause 33(1)(b) of the Hazardous Substances (Dangerous Goods and Scheduled Toxic Substances) Transfer Notice 2004 (as amended).  It has been approved only in respect those matters in the document that relate to the Hazardous Substances and New Organisms (HSNO) Act and the controls and regulations made under that Act.

HSNOCOP 50 LPG Compliance 100kg to 300kg Plus

Approved: June 2011

This code of practice provides compliance checking and validation of LPG facilities where cylinders with a total quantity between 100kg and 300kg of LPG are present at a hazardous substance location either in storage or connected for use. This code applies:

  • in respect of Regulation 81 of the Hazardous Substances (Classes 1 to 5 Controls) Regulations 2001 [as varied by HRE09001 Decision for LPG, propane, butane and isobutane]; and
  • subsequent to the hazardous substance location having a valid location test certificate1 issued by a test certifier; and
  • where LPG cylinders are supplied or filled in-situ by a trained LPG Delivery Operator.

This is approved by ERMA New Zealand under the Hazardous Substances and New Organisms (HSNO) Act 1996 as a means of compliance with the Hazardous Substances (Classes 1 to 5 Controls) Regulations 2001, as varied for LPG, propane, butane and isobutane in accordance with the Environmental Risk Management Authority Decision HRE090012. It provides a practical means to manage regulatory compliance with the aim of protecting the environment and the health and safety of people and communities by preventing or managing the adverse effects of LPG.

This code of practice can be read in full here: HSNOCOP50 LPG Compliance 100kg to 300kg.

HSNOCOP 63 Management and Handling of Used Oil Plus

Approved: November 2013

This code of practice is approved as a means of compliance for used oil with the Group Standards: Lubricants (Toxic) Group Standard 2006 – HSNO approval number HSR002607, and Lubricants (Combustible, Toxic) Group Standard 2006 – HSNO approval number HSR002608. It provides guidance to used oil generators, collectors, transporters, processors and end users and regulatory authorities on compliance with regulatory and statutory controls on used oil.

This code of practice can be read in full here: HSNOCOP 63 Management and Handling of Used Oil

HSNOCOP 67 Portable containers for petrol complying with ASTM F852-08 Plus

Approved April 2015

The purpose of this approved code of practice is to provide a standard for the design and construction of re-usable portable containers for petrol, aviation gasoline and racing gasoline.

This code of practice can be read in full here: HSNOCOP 67 Portable containers for petrol complying with ASTM F852-08.