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Key requirements of the new Hazardous Substances Regulations 2017

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Key requirements of the new Hazardous Substances Regulations 2017

On December 28, 2017, Posted by , In Uncategorized, With No Comments

By Worksafe Smart, Health and Safety Consultant for the Nelson, Richmond and Blenheim region. Health and Safety policies, manuals, management plans, training, reviews, audits, advice and more.

The new Health and Safety at Work (Hazardous Substances) Regulations 2017 bring the requirements for workplaces that work with hazardous substances into a single place. The government agency WorkSafe New Zealand will enforce ecotoxic and disposal controls in workplaces as well as the requirements of the new regulations.

This guide lists the key requirements for persons conducting a business or undertaking (PCBUs) who use, handle and store hazardous substances. The guide does not list all changes; it focusses on major changes that affect most PCBUs. For more detailed information, visit the WorkSafe New Zealand website.



PCBUs have to keep an inventory of hazardous substances in use, handled or stored at the workplace. For each substance you must include:

  • the product or chemical name and UN number, if available

  • the maximum quantity likely to be at the workplace

  • the location of the substance

  • any specific storage or segregation requirements

  • a current safety data sheet (SDS) or condensed version of the key information from it (eg a product safety card)

Your inventory must also include any hazardous waste in your workplace and:

  • describe the hazards of the waste as closely as possible (e.g. flammable waste, corrosive waste)

  • list the maximum quantity of the waste likely to be at the workplace

  • the location of the waste

  • any specific storage or segregation requirements

The inventory must be readily accessible to any emergency service worker attending your workplace during an emergency and after the workplace has been evacuated. You do not need to keep an inventory for consumer products used in quantities similar to household use.


Hazardous waste

From December 2017, hazardous waste (e.g. cleaning wipes/rags saturated with solvent) must be included in the hazardous substances inventory and stored in clearly labelled containers.

From June 2018 you must provide additional information, training and instruction about using, handling and storing hazardous substances, including hazardous waste.


Safety Data Sheets (SDS)

PCBUs must obtain an SDS for all hazardous substances from the manufacturer or supplier when they supply a substance to you:

  • for the very first time

  • for the first time in the last five years

  • for the first time after a change in the SDS

The SDS or a summary of its key information (such as a product safety card) must be readily accessible to workers and to emergency service workers who could be exposed to the substance. You don’t need an SDS for substances in transit, consumer products that you intend to supply or sell to other people and will not open in the workplace, or for consumer products that you use in your workplace as you would at home.



PCBUs must make sure (so far as is reasonably practicable) that the manufacturer or importer label remains on the containers of hazardous substances, and that the label continues to be legible.

Containers of hazardous substances that have been decanted or transferred in the workplace must be clearly labelled. The same applies to containers of hazardous waste. Make sure the label is legible, in English, and has all the information required for the type of container and substance.

Label requirements for hazardous substances:

  • The product name or chemical name

  • A hazard pictogram reflecting the classification of the substance

  • A hazard statement reflecting the classification of the substance

Label requirements for hazardous waste

  • An identifier describing the nature of the waste as closely as possible (eg chlorinated solvent waste, flammable waste) if you don’t have a product or substance name for waste that is a mixture of substances or products

  • The name, address and business phone number of the producer of the waste (if known)

  • A hazard pictogram based on what you know about the classification of the waste

  • A hazard statement based on what you know about the classification of the waste


Information, training and instruction

Workers need information about:

  • any work happening in their work area involving hazardous substances

  • where to find information about the hazards of each hazardous substance in the workplace and how to handle and store those substances safely. This includes the SDS but is not limited to the SDS.

The training and instruction needs to include:

  • the physicochemical and health hazards of the substances (ie are they flammable, corrosive, toxic)

  • how to safely use, handle, store and dispose of the substances

  • how to use plant (in other words equipment) necessary to manage the hazardous substances safely, including personal protective equipment (PPE)

  • any other duties the worker might have under the Regulations

  • the worker’s role in an emergency involving the hazardous substances.

Workers need to have an induction and supervised experience in your workplace, even if they have received training and instruction at another workplace. You must keep a record of training and instruction.


Emergency management

Emergency response plans need to cover all reasonably foreseeable emergencies (this means any emergency that has a realistic chance of happening) arising from a breach or failure of the controls on the hazardous substances in the workplace.

In addition to information about how to prepare for, respond to and control different emergencies in the workplace, under the Regulations emergency response plans need to include several additional items:

  • any special training that any person who has responsibilities in the plan needs to have

  • an inventory of the hazardous substances in the workplace

  • a site plan showing all hazardous substance locations (HSLs) in the workplace.

For fire extinguishers, the Regulations now specify a minimum rating of 30B, and that they must be clearly visible and readily accessible.

Clearly visible could mean displaying an easy-to-see sign to show where fire extinguishers are located. Readily accessible could mean placing fire extinguishers along normal thoroughfares in your workplace, near exits, or near (but at a safe distance from) a specific hazard.


Certified handlers

Certified handlers replace approved handlers, and are required for a smaller group of substances:

  • acutely toxic (class 6.1A and 6.1B) substances

  • substances requiring a controlled substance licence, such as most explosives, fumigants and vertebrate toxic agents.

Approved handlers are no longer required for substances from classes 2 to 5, 6.1C, 6.7A and 8.2A. For these substances, the approved handler requirement has been replaced by information, instruction and training requirements and keeping substances appropriately secured from access by persons other than those you (as PCBU) allow to access them.


Hazardous substance locations (HSL) and transit depots

If you hold some hazardous substances above a threshold quantity for longer than a specified time, you need to hold them either in an HSL or transit depot.

For non-tracked substances over the threshold quantity this time is now 24 hours, not 18 hours. The time remains at two hours for tracked substances.


Storage requirements for toxic and corrosive substances

There are new requirements to establish an HSL for class 6.1A, 6.1B, 6.1C, 8.2A and 8.2B substances. All HSLs for solid or liquid class 6 or 8 substances require a location compliance certificate.

There are also new storage, separation and segregation requirements for class 6.1A, 6.1B, 6.1C, 8.2A and 8.2B substances in HSLs, below the threshold for establishing an HSL or at farms.



Tracking requirements continue for highly hazardous substances in the new regulations. The following substance classes are no longer tracked: 6.1C, 9.1A, 9.2A, 9.3A, 9.4A.

The competent person replaces the approved handler for tracking requirements, and is a certified handler or, if the substance does not require a certified handler, a worker who has received the information, training and instruction required to handle the hazardous substances. A competent person needs to take responsibility for tracked substances when they are transferred to a workplace.


Gases under pressure

Test stations (rather than individual periodic testers) will now issue documents of certification (formerly periodic test certificates) or test reports for cylinders.


Compliance certificates

Test certifiers and certificates become compliance certifiers and compliance certificates.

There are changes in what certifiers check before they issue a compliance certificate, especially for HSLs. For example, a certifier may check new requirements such as training.The certifier may also check how you secure substances that no longer have certified handler requirements.

By Worksafe Smart, Health and Safety Consultant for the Nelson, Richmond and Blenheim region. Health and Safety policies, manuals, management plans, training, reviews, audits, advice and more.

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