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Status
Open
Submissions due
93 days left
Closing date

Deadline for feedback

The deadline for accepting submissions closes at 5:00 pm on Friday 30 August 2024. We will not be accepting submissions in any format other than through this online form.

It is preferable that submissions are individualised if you are part of an industry or professional group that is submitting substantially similar feedback. Repeated submissions that are identical (copy and pasted) are not given extra weighting based on the number of submissions.

Instructions

  1. Click on the “Workplace Exposure Standards (WES) and Biological Exposure Indices (BEI) consultation form” below, and you will be directed to a page with a checklist of the WES and BEI for consultation.
  2. Check the boxes of the substances you wish to provide consultation for. You can provide consultation for more than one substance in a single submission.
  3. It’s a good idea to have what you want to say already written in an electronic document, so you can copy and paste your comments into our online form, and complete your consultation for multiple substances in one go.
  4. When you have completed your comments for a substance, at the bottom of the page, click ‘Next’ to move on to the next substance (if you’ve chosen more than one).
  5. If you have completed your consultation, upon clicking ‘Next’ at the bottom of the page, you will be brought to a page with final notes. You can close that window as your submission will have been received – there will not be an email sent out in acknowledgement of completion.

Further information on WES, including the meaning of WES-TWA and WES-STEL, and other terms is provided in the Glossary which is included in the 2024 consultation document.

Consultation document

PDF
Workplace exposure standards and biological exposure indices: Proposal document 2024 (PDF 2.4 MB)

How we set workplace exposure standards and biological exposure indices

Feedback form

WES and BEI proposal feedback form(external link)

Privacy

Submissions may be made publicly available under the Official Information Act 1982.

If you are making a submission as an individual and do not want your personal information to be made publicly available, please let us know in your submission. We will then consider removing your personal information prior to any release.

This statement explains how we (WorkSafe) deal with your personal information collected through the consultation on the Workplace Exposure Standards (WES) and Biological Exposure Indices (BEI).

Personal information means information about an identifiable person.

What information we collect and how we collect it

We collect the following information when you make a written submission:

  • Your name
  • Your email address
  • The name of your organisation or group (if any)
  • Your position
  • Your phone number
  • Your feedback on the proposed changes
  • Whether you:
    • agree to the inclusion of your personal information (including name and contact details) in any publicly available copy of your written submission; or
    • request the removal of your personal information (including name and contact details) from any publicly available copy of your written submission; or
    • have an alternative request regarding your personal information.

If you do not provide your name and contact details, then we will be unable to contact you to clarify any aspect of your feedback and/or consult with you further (if needed).

Information for this consultation is collected directly from you through the software platform UbiQuity, which is owned by Qrious Limited (a subsidiary of Spark New Zealand Trading Limited). Read the Qrious Privacy Policy(external link)

Purpose of collection and how we use this information

The purposes for collecting and using this information are to:

  • effectively administer and undertake the consultation process, including identifying your feedback from your submission, contacting you to clarify any aspect of your feedback, and/or consulting with you further (if needed)
  • inform changes to the updated Workplace Exposure Standards (WES) and Biological Exposure Indices (BEI); and
  • make your submission publicly available (see below).

We will manage any personal information you supply in accordance with the Privacy Act 2020 and WorkSafe’s Privacy Policy

Public availability of submissions

We treat all submissions received through this public consultation process as public information. As such we:

  • may be required to release all or part of your written submission, if a request is made under the Official Information Act 1982
  • will consider removing your personal information from any publicly available copy of your submission if you request this removal in your submission.

We do not proactively publish submissions.

Right to access and correct information

You have the right to ask for a copy of any personal information we hold about you and to request for it to be corrected if you think it is wrong. If you would like to ask for a copy of your information, or to have it corrected, please complete our Privacy Act request form

Using your information

We will only use the personal information provided to us:

  • For the purpose(s) we collect that information (see above)
  • For other reasons permitted by the Privacy Act 2020 (e.g. with your consent, for a directly related purpose, or where the law permits or requires this use).

Sharing your information

See Public availability of submissions above

Workplace Exposure Standards (WES) and Biological Exposure Indices (BEI) are health-based values. This means they are based on minimising health risk and don't take into consideration practicability of achieving or measuring the value.

We consider it critical to set health-based values as risk criteria, so that risk assessment is based on an actual understanding of health risk. Efforts need to be directed to the adequacy of controls rather than merely measuring a level of exposure.

What is a WES?

A WES is a guidance value that refers to the airborne concentration of a substance at which it is believed that nearly all workers can be repeatedly exposed day after day without coming to harm. WES are provided by WorkSafe as a tool in risk management. They are intended to be used as risk criteria for health risk assessment

What is a BEI?

A BEI is guidance value for assessing biological exposure monitoring results and is another tool that can be used in managing risks to health and safety associated with substances hazardous to health in the workplace.

What is a PES?

A prescribed exposure standard (PES) is a prescribed workplace exposure standard or biological exposure index that has the purpose of protecting persons in a workplace from harm to health. PES must be complied with (and is not a guidance value like WES). PES are prescribed in:

  • regulations;
  • a safe work instrument; or
  • the Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act 1996 as a control under section 77 or 77A, or an exposure limit under section 77B or a group standard approval issued under section 96B.

Currently there is only one PES which is for ethanedinitrile (EDN) prescribed in a safe work instrument. The WES and BEI values discussed in this consultation are not PES and are therefore guideline values. They are intended to be used by people with the appropriate knowledge, skills, and experience to apply them for health risk assessment.

WES and BEI sampling strategies

A robust sampling strategy is critical when applying WES to ensure a good understanding of exposure variations which always occur. Exposure levels are commonly variable even in work that is regular and consistent. Variation in worker exposure arises from variation in work activities, control methods, and environmental conditions. Due to this variation, exposure measured on a single day may not reflect exposure on other days. Multiple samples generally allow for better understanding of the variation in exposure, and thus provide more detailed information for the risk assessment. However, even samples from multiple days may not reflect the true variation in exposure that may occur over the long term. With this in mind, the PCBU should take advice from a competent person on how exposure should be monitored in the workplace, including the sampling strategy. The sampling strategy must be designed to provide sufficient measurements to reflect the risk to the worker from the variation in exposure.

Biological monitoring and health monitoring

BEI are guidance values for assessing biological monitoring results. 

Biological and airborne exposure monitoring should not be confused with health monitoring. Exposure monitoring means the measurement and evaluation of exposure to a health hazard experienced by a person; and includes monitoring of the conditions at the workplace, and biological monitoring of the people. Health monitoring, in relation to an individual, means monitoring of the individual to identify any changes in his or her health status because of exposure to certain health hazards.

Health risk management must consider a number of aspects from identification, to assessment, to control, with exposure monitoring being just one part – not the only part that needs to be considered.

PCBUs must minimise exposure and monitor the conditions of the workplace if the exposure cannot be eliminated. WES and BEI are important tools for monitoring worker exposures.

While PCBUs must understand and manage the risks of hazardous or toxic substances at work, we do not recommend untrained people use WES to determine compliance. WES are guidance for qualified occupational health practitioners.