Better control of hazardous substances

Fifty years ago, farmers and others sprayed toxic chemicals onto weeds in blissful ignorance of the need for personal protective equipment.

How things have changed! Today, regulations govern the handling and use of all hazardous substances. And, like many other safety matters, these are under constant review.

If work brings you or your staff into contact with hazardous substances, from now on you’ll have to follow the new hazardous substance rules under the Health and Safety at Work Act (that came into effect on 1 December 2017).

The Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) will also have a new enforcement responsibility in relation to importers and manufacturers.

What is different?
You will still work with the EPA to apply for new hazardous substances approvals. The EPA will still manage applications for new approvals – whether for new substances, or for particular persons – but the safety rules move from the EPA into the Health and Safety at Work Act, to be implemented by WorkSafe. WorkSafe will then decide if the requirements in the HSW HS regulations will manage the risks to people in workplaces.

Under the new regulations, fewer substances will require certified handlers. However, handlers will get more training, better information and be subject to more robust competency requirements.

With the new regime, all currently approved hazardous substances remain approved. They also retain the same approval number.

Published Summer 2017.

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