Exempt substances and laboratories

Some laboratories and hazardous substances are exempt or excluded from the Hazardous Substance and New Organisms (HSNO) Act. You do not need an approval to import or manufacture them.

Exempt hazardous substances

Radioactive material

Substances that are radioactive, UN class 7, are not covered by the Act unless they are also flammable, explosive, corrosive, oxidising, toxic or ecotoxic.

Medicine intended for people

The regulation of medicine intended for people is covered by MedSafe. However, the ingredients used to manufacture medicine require an approval under the Act.


Ready-to-eat food is exempt. However, food additives do require approval.

Infectious substances

UN class 6 infectious substances are not regulated.

Manufactured articles

Manufactured articles only require approval if they have explosive properties.

This means that explosive substances incorporated into detonators, flares or fireworks are considered hazardous substances for the purposes of the Act.

Manufactured articles information sheet (pdf 66KB) 

Non-hazardous substances

If your substance does not meet any of the hazard classifications, then it is not regulated under the Act. However, if you mix a hazardous substance with a non-hazardous substance, then the resulting mixture may be hazardous.

Exempt laboratories

Using hazardous substances on a small scale for research and development, or teaching, is exempt from the HSNO Act.

However, commercial laboratories selling hazardous substances cannot operate as exempt laboratories.

You can access information about what type of laboratory can operate as an exempt laboratory, how to become an exempt laboratory, and operating as an exempt laboratory on the WorkSafe website.

Laboratories - WorkSafe website