The EPA and WorkSafe have different roles around regulation of hazardous substances.

Broadly, the EPA has responsibility for approving and classifying hazardous substances; while WorkSafe implements and enforces workplace requirements provided in the Health and Safety at Work (Hazardous Substances) Regulations.


The EPA focuses on ‘upstream’ activities under HSNO - it receives applications for approval to import or manufacture new hazardous substances, assesses the risks and decides whether the substances should be approved for use in New Zealand. It is responsible for setting the rules for classification, labelling, safety data sheets, packaging and disposal, as well as for protecting the environment and public health.


Under HSWA, WorkSafe focuses on the ‘downstream’ use, storage and handling of hazardous substances in workplaces.

Under HSNO, WorkSafe enforces the ecotoxic and disposal requirements in the workplace.

You can read more about the roles of WorkSafe and the EPA.

Our summary table gives an at-a-glance overview of these roles.

Summary table (PDF 81 KB)