Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act 1996 (HSNO Act)
The purpose of the Hazardous Substances and New Organisms (HSNO) Act 1996 is to protect the environment, and the health and safety of communities, by preventing or managing the adverse effects of hazardous substances and new organisms.
All hazardous substances are required to have approval under the HSNO Act. When a substance is approved, controls are applied that are designed to manage any risk from using, storing, transporting and disposing of the substance.
When the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) approves a hazardous substance for use, it will usually impose controls with which everyone must comply. These controls apply throughout the life cycle of the substance.
Controls are based on specific regulations made under the Act, or codes of practice approved by EPA. Regulations have been developed for each class of hazardous substance, and for particular phases of a substance’s life cycle, e.g. labelling, packaging, disposal, etc.
The HSNO Act is administered by the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA).
WorkSafe New Zealand's role under HSNO
WorkSafe undertakes, on behalf of the EPA, certain hazardous substances functions under the Hazardous Substance and New Organisms (HSNO) Act. This includes:
- Issuing test certifier approvals, renewals and extensions
- Oversight of the test certification regime
- Issuing controlled substance licences
- Issuing approvals for plant and equipment used in the workplace
- Approvals of HSNO codes of practice relevant to workplaces
- Development of guidance material and other information resources for the safe use of hazardous substances in workplaces.
WorkSafe is also the enfocement agency for the hazardous substances in the workplace. Its role is to ensure that the HSNO Act is complied with in places of work. WorkSafe carries out this enforcement role in conjunction with a number of other agencies, including:
A 'hazardous substance' is any substance that has one or more specified intrinsic 'hazardous properties'.