Our expectations of businesses about hazardous compliance certificates at Red in the COVID-19 Protection Framework.

Problems renewing hazardous substances compliance certificates at Red

Compliance certificates required under the Health and Safety at Work (Hazardous Substances) Regulations 2017 can only be issued by WorkSafe authorised compliance certifiers. For many certificate types, the compliance certifier must visit the site.

Depending on your location, you may find it difficult to renew a compliance certificate if it expires while the country is at Red (Covid-19 Protection Framework). For example, compliance certifiers may be reluctant to travel long distances from their home base in case they are required to self-isolate while they are away.

What we expect you to do

We expect you to take all practicable steps to ensure your compliance certificate is renewed. If you are unable to renew your compliance certificate at Red, you may need to hold and use the hazardous substance/s for a time without certification.

In this situation we expect you to:

  • comply with the Health and Safety at Work (Hazardous Substances) Regulations in all other respects
  • review your operations against the prescribed requirements for obtaining certification
  • ensure your operations have remained compliant
  • document that review
  • ensure the documentation is made available on request to a compliance certifier or a WorkSafe inspector, and
  • renew the compliance certificate as soon as possible.

We recommend you develop a checklist to help you document your review. This could be done as part of your COVID-19 safety plan. If you are unable to develop a checklist, consult the relevant performance standards on our website. Or contact your compliance certifier, who may be able to help you remotely.

Our approach when a compliance certificate is a pre-condition for supplying hazardous substances

In some circumstances a compliance certificate is a pre-condition for a supplier delivering hazardous substances to a site (such as refilling above or below ground tanks). At Red it may not be possible for you to obtain a compliance certificate immediately, if a compliance certifier is unwilling or unable to travel to your site.

At Red we’re unlikely to prioritise enforcement action against either a business installation or a business supplying hazardous substances to those installations. This is only if the reason you can’t obtain a compliance certificate is because a compliance certifier isn’t available at Red. If we do decide to act, our response will reflect the risk gap.

If you are delivering a hazardous substance to a business that has an expired compliance certificate because a compliance certifier isn’t available at Red, you should ask to see its documented review completed as part of its COVID-19 safety plan.