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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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