We are operating at reduced capacity due to COVID-19 Alert Level Four restrictions. Please only call our 0800 number if someone is at serious risk of harm or has been seriously injured, become seriously ill, or died as a result of work.
For other notifications please complete our online forms at Notify WorkSafe.
This policy clarification explains the requirements of Part 13 of the Health and Safety at Work (Hazardous Substances) Regulations 2017 (the Regulations) that apply to the storage of liquid and solid class 6 (toxic) and class 8 (corrosive) substances above prescribed thresholds.
- that hazardous substance location and location compliance certification requirements for class 6 and 8 substances apply only when a substance is in storage
- when a substance is considered to be ‘in storage’
- what a store is
- how separation distances to protected places and public places should be measured.
The requirement for location compliance certification for toxic and corrosive substances comes into force on 1 December 2019.
You should read this policy clarification if you are a:
- person conducting a business or undertaking (PCBU) that manages or controls a workplace where class 6 and/or 8 substances are present
- compliance certifier authorised to issue location compliance certificates for class 6 and 8 substances
- WorkSafe inspector
- hazardous substances professional who provides consultancy or other services to industry, certifiers or WorkSafe.
Class 6 and 8 substances are present at many industry sites across New Zealand. For example, class 6 substances are important in timber treatment and electroplating processes, and primary production. Class 8 substances are essential components of clean-in-place (CIP) systems in the dairy, food processing, and pharmaceutical industries, and are widely used in water treatment an manufacturing sectors.
To improve the management of class 6 and class 8 hazardous substances, new requirements for storage and location compliance certification were introduced in the Regulations. Many requirements have been in force since 1 December 2017 and some have come into force subsequently. PCBUs should be complying with the requirements that are already in force.
What does the law say?
Regulations 13.34 to 13.39 set out requirements for class 6 or 8 substances at hazardous substance locations.
- Regulation 13.34 states that, where specified class 6 and 8 substances are present at a workplace for more than 24 hours (or 2 hours, if a tracked substance) and exceed the regulated quantity thresholds (prescribed in regulation 13.38), the PCBU must establish one or more hazardous substance locations.1
- Regulation 13.34(3) prescribes three options for storing class 6 and 8 substances, and regulations 13.35, 13.36 and 13.37 set the respective requirements for the three storage options.
- Regulation 13.38 imposes an obligation on the PCBU with management or control of a hazardous substance location to ensure that the hazardous substance location has a current location compliance certificate.
- Regulation 13.39 sets out what the location compliance certificate for each hazardous substance location must certify. Among these are specific requirements for storage facilities and the separation of substances from protected places and public places.
PCBUs must also comply with:
- Regulation 3.2, which requires the PCBU to manage risks to health and safety associated with using, handling, manufacturing or storing hazardous substances at a workplace. It sets out what the PCBU must consider when managing the risks specific to the substances, the workplace and the nature of the work being carried out with the substances
- the Health and Safety at Work (General Risk and Workplace Management) Regulations 2016, in particular the provisions on managing risks to health and safety associated with substances that are hazardous to health at the workplace,
- all applicable requirements under the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015, and
- all applicable requirements under the Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act 1996, for substances which pose an environmental hazard.
Note: When toxic and corrosive substances have other hazardous classifications, then PCBUs must also meet the relevant requirements of the Regulations.
What does this mean in practice?
The PCBU must establish a hazardous substance location and obtain a location compliance certificate for class 6 and 8 hazardous substances when:
- the time limits are exceeded (2 or 24 hours, depending on tracking requirements)
- the quantities are exceeded, and
- the substances are in storage.
When is the substance considered to be in 'storage'?
Hazardous substances can be held by a variety of containers for a number of purposes.2 What is happening to a substance is central to determining if it is in storage or not in storage.
We consider that a substance is in storage when it is in:
- a container that is closed and is not connected to or actively supplying a process, or
- a container that is temporarily opened within the designated store (eg for decanting), or
- a stationary container system other than a process container.
This means that, if the thresholds for quantity and time are exceeded, the PCBU must establish a hazardous substance location and obtain a location compliance certificate.
Not in storage
We consider that a substance is not in storage whenit is in:
- a container that is supplying a process, either continuously or intermittently, and is either manually controlled or controlled by the process, or
- a single container that is for use in the processing
area (eg for cleaning), or
- a process container.3
In these circumstances, the PCBU does not need to establish a hazardous substance location or obtain a location compliance certificate.
Types of storage
Under regulation 13.34(3), the PCBU must ensure the hazardous substance location is, and complies with the requirements for, one of the following:
- a store for class 6 or 8 substances other than an indoor storage cabinet (regulation 13.35), or
- an indoor storage cabinet for class 6 substances (regulation 13.36), or
- an indoor storage cabinet for class 8 substances (regulation 13.37).
The requirements for indoor storage cabinets are defined in the Regulations
What is a 'store other than the indoor storage cabinet'?
Regulation 13.35 does not define what ‘a store other than an indoor storage cabinet’ (a store) is, but it requires the store to have certain characteristics. This provides flexibility in how the regulation is met, and allows for many types of stores.
In general – and providing all the applicable requirements for a store are met 4 – a store can be any of the following:
- a structure which holds containers of substances, or
- a designated area where substances are held in
- a single container (eg an IBC or stationary tank).5
Measuring separation distances from a store
The Regulations set out the separation distances from a store of class 6 and 8 substances to public places and protected places. Separation distances are designed to mitigate the risk of:
- any adverse event6 in the store impacting on public places or protected places, and
- any adverse event at public places or protected places impacting on the store.
How separation distances should be measured depends on the type of store.
Fore a store of containers other than stationary tanks
- Where the store is the whole building, measure the separation distance from the outside of the building.7
- Where there is a structure delineating the areadesignated as the store, measure the separation distance from the outside edge of the structure (eg a wall or fence).
- Where there is no structure delineating the area designated as the store, measure the separation distance from the edge of the designated area (eg grated bunding).
- Separation distances can be measured in a horizontal plane around an intervening screen wall, provided that the wall height, markings and fire-resistance requirements of regulation 13.40 are met.
For a stationary tank
- Where the store is a stationary tank, measure the separation distance from the wall of the tank.
For more information, see our quick guide on Certification of locations holding toxic and corrosive substances
1 PCBUs with management or control of sites storing class 6 and 8 substances for durations under the prescribed timeframes and/or in quantities less than the prescribed thresholds are not required to establish a hazardous substance location or obtain location compliance certification. However, they must meet the requirements of regulation 13.26 and all other relevant regulations
2 The Regulations define a container as any receptacle for holding hazardous substances, including a stationary tank, process container, and a package. Drums and intermediate bulk containers (IBCs) meet the broad definition of container. Containers have different purposes,including but not limited to storing, transporting and processing substances.
4 Regulation 13.35 sets requirements for: emergency access; security from access; means of access; building materials; ventilation; secondary containment; avoiding sources of heat; avoiding spillage; segregation from incompatible substances; stacking appropriately; and eye, hand and body wash facilities.
6 Adverse event includes all reasonably foreseeable emergencies that could arise from a breach or failure of controls on any hazardous substance at the workplace (eg a fire, leak or spill) or events occurring outside the workplace (eg fire, vehicular accidents, natural disasters).