New rules are coming on how to manage the risks if your workplace deals with hazardous substances. Use our 10-step guide to make sure you and any workers are ready — and know how to stay safe and healthy when dealing with these substances.
When: 1 December 2017
What: New laws on the safe handling and management of hazardous substances in the workplace. These apply to the 150,000 New Zealand businesses that make, handle, use or store hazardous substances. Everyone in those businesses will be expected to know what substances they are working with, the risks they pose, and how to manage those risks.
Why: It’s the latest development in the reform of work health and safety laws after the Pike River mining tragedy. Poor management of hazardous substances can cause harm or even death.
What you’ll need to do: Work through the 10-step list below. This sets out some of the new requirements for the safe manufacture, use, storage and disposal of hazardous substances. If you are complying with the current rules, then you may not need to change a lot. But it’s a good time to check and double-check your systems and processes.
WorkSafe’s website has information and its online Toolbox has tools to help. It’s also a good idea to talk to your industry or trade body about the new regulations and how best to comply.
Hazardous Substances Toolbox (external link) — WorkSafe
Subscribe for updates (external link) — WorkSafe
Many of these are due to exposure to hazardous substances.
Inventories (external link) — WorkSafe
Use — and share — safety data sheets. These record key information about hazardous substances, eg its properties, how to store it, what personal protective equipment is needed, and first aid information. You must get a safety data sheet from your supplier for each hazardous substance in your workplace, with a few exceptions. The sheet must be easily available to workers, emergency services, or anyone else who is likely to be exposed to it.