Your Practical Guide

Your Practical Guide to working safely with hazardous substances provides you with the supporting reference material for working through the 5 Steps to Safety. It provides you with information about using and storing your hazardous substances safely and explains the key HSNO controls.

The booklet can be downloaded as PDF sections below or in full by clicking here.

Introduction

New Zealanders use products with hazardous properties (hazardous substances) on a daily basis both at home and at work. Around 150,000 workplaces throughout New Zealand use hazardous substances. Because of this frequent use though, it's easy to take them for granted. Common hazardous substances like commercial cleaning products, paints, adhesives, acids, bases and solvents can cause serious harm when they aren't used safely.

Section Contents

  • How to use Your Practical Guide
  • Key HSNO controls
  • HSWA (Health and Safety at Work Act 2015) and HSNO work together
  • How hazardous substances are regulated under HSNO
  • Who is responsible for workplace safety?
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Hazard Classifications, Approval and Controls

Hazardous substances are regulated based on the risks they pose to people and the environment. The hazardous properties of a substance are classified (put into groups) to determine how the risks can be managed. Each new hazardous substance imported or manufactured in New Zealand must be approved and have its classifications determined. Depending on its classification, rules are placed on a substance to manage the risks posed by that substance. These rules are known as controls.

Section Contents

  • HSNO approvals
  • How substances are classified under HSNO
  • United Nations transport classes and packing groups
  • Controls for managing hazardous substances
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Keep Safe with Hazardous Substances

It's estimated that between 500-800 New Zealanders die from occupational illness every year. Many of these deaths are from exposure to hazardous substances at work. Different hazardous substances affect people in different ways. Health effects can include personality changes, sleep disorders, memory loss, cancer, fertility problems and even death. These serious health risks are why it's so important to safely manage the hazardous substances at your workplace and protect your health and the health of your staff.

 Section Contents

  • Hazardous substances can damage your health
  • Assess exposure to hazardous substances
  • Prevent exposure
  • Control exposure
  • Monitor exposure
  • Train your staff

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Hazardous Substance Information

Labels, safety data sheets and signs are all important sources of information that warn people about the risks of the hazardous substances at your workplace.

Section Contents

  • Label all hazardous substances
  • Symbols on labels
  • Safety data sheets
  • Signs
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Store Hazardous Substances Safely

The more hazardous substances you have, the more rules you need to follow to keep safe. There may be different rules for products with different hazards. To stay safe, you need to know how to safely store the substances used at your business. We recommend keeping the amount of hazardous substances you store to a minimum. This will make it easier to manage what you have and may reduce your compliance needs and costs.

Section Contents

  • Suitable containers
  • Incompatibles
  • Gas cylinders
  • Oxy-acetylene welding
  • Flammable substances

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Emergency Preparation

Even the most safety conscious organisation can have an emergency. So it's important that you and your staff know what to do, and who is responsible for what task, if an emergency were to occur.

Section Contents

  • Prepare for an emergency
  • Spill kits
  • Fire extinguishers
  • Secondary containment
  • Emergency response plans

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Test Certificates

Test certificates are issued by test certifiers to show that users of hazardous substances have appropriate controls in place or have the appropriate knowledge and training. You might need a test certificate for people, locations or equipment.

A test certifier is an independent service provider approved by WorkSafe New Zealand to issue test certificates.

Section Contents

  • Approved handler test certificates
  • Location test certificates
  • Stationary container test certificates

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Tracking Very Hazardous Substances

Very hazardous substances must be tracked. Tracking is a record of what happens to a very hazardous substance from when it is imported or manufactured, through to distribution and transport, to use or disposal.

Your hazardous substance supplier will let you know if your substances need to be tracked and will ask if you are an approved handler. Tracked substances can only be sold to approved handlers.

Section Contents

  • Where does tracking start?
  • Approved handler responsibilities
  • Keeping tracking records
  • Information needed in tracking records
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Further Information

 Section Contents

  • Resources
  • Glossary
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