On 30 April 2021, New Zealand adopted a new classification system for hazardous substances under the Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act 1996 (HSNO). This new system is the Globally Harmonised System (GHS).

This change mainly affects the rules for importers, manufacturers and suppliers of hazardous substances. They have four years to update labelling, safety data sheets and packaging for hazardous substances.

In effect, there is no change to the classification system used under the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 (HSWA).

Regulations under HSWA will continue to refer to the current HSNO classification system. This means that there is no change to the workplace requirements for hazardous substances under:

  • the Health and Safety at Work (Hazardous Substances) Regulations 2017
  • the Health and Safety at Work (Major Hazard Facilities) Regulations 2016
  • safe work instruments.

WorkSafe’s guidance and approved codes of practice continue to refer to the current HSNO system.

WorkSafe’s Hazardous Substances Calculator(external link) refers to both systems. If you have information about the GHS classification of your substance, you can enter it into the Calculator to find out the controls under HSWA that apply to it.

The two systems work together

Because the current HSNO system and the new GHS system coexist, the EPA has created a correlation table(external link) (PDF)(external link) that shows the equivalent GHS classifications to the current HSNO classifications.

To find out more about this change visit the EPA’s website(external link).