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WorkSafe New Zealand and the Hazardous Substances Regulations 2017

WorkSafe New Zealand and the Hazardous Substances Regulations 2017


WorkSafe New Zealand is the primary workplace health and safety regulator in the country. Its role is to ensure that businesses adhere to New Zealand’s safety regulations, one of which includes the Hazardous Substances Regulations 2017. This particular piece of legislation contains specific guidelines for handling, storing, and disposing of hazardous substances to protect workers, the public, and the environment. Regulation 4.5, in particular, has significant implications for these operations. This article seeks to shed light on the role of WorkSafe NZ and the importance of Regulation 4.5 in ensuring workplace safety.

WorkSafe New Zealand

WorkSafe NZ is tasked with promoting and enforcing workplace health and safety regulations. Its objective is to reduce work-related fatalities, injuries, and diseases. The organization’s functions include:

  1. Inspections and Investigations: WorkSafe NZ conducts regular inspections to check compliance with regulations. It also investigates workplace accidents to determine their cause and to recommend preventive measures.
  2. Education and Training: The agency provides resources, guidance, and training to help businesses understand and comply with safety regulations.
  3. Policy Development: WorkSafe NZ contributes to the development of health and safety policies and regulations.

Hazardous Substances Regulations 2017

The Hazardous Substances Regulations 2017 provides a comprehensive framework for managing hazardous substances at work. It stipulates the responsibilities of businesses, certification requirements, risk management measures, and emergency response procedures, among other things.

The Role of Regulation 4.5

Regulation 4.5 is a crucial part of the Hazardous Substances Regulations 2017. It outlines the Duty of the PCBU to provide information, training, and instruction. Additionally, a person conducting a business or an undertaking (PCBU) must always maintain an updated inventory of all hazardous substances used, handled, manufactured, or stored at the workplace.

An inventory is more than just a list; it is a live document that records critical information about hazardous substances, including their quantities, locations, hazards, and safety data sheets. It is a vital tool for understanding the potential risks and for planning safe work practices and emergency procedures. The inventory should also be readily available to workers, emergency service organisations, and WorkSafe NZ if required.

The Role of WorkSafe NZ in Enforcing Regulation 4.5

WorkSafe NZ plays a key role in enforcing Regulation 4.5 of the Hazardous Substances Regulations 2017. It conducts inspections to ensure that businesses maintain accurate and updated hazardous substance inventories. If a business fails to comply with this regulation, WorkSafe NZ has the authority to take enforcement action, which can range from issuing improvement notices to initiating prosecution in severe cases.

Furthermore, in the event of a workplace accident involving hazardous substances, WorkSafe NZ may review the inventory as part of its investigation to understand the substances involved and their potential risks.

In summary, WorkSafe NZ and Regulation 4.5 of the Hazardous Substances Regulations 2017 play a crucial role in ensuring the safe management of hazardous substances in New Zealand workplaces. By requiring businesses to keep an up-to-date inventory of hazardous substances, Regulation 4.5 helps to identify risks and plan appropriate safety measures. As the primary workplace safety regulator, WorkSafe NZ ensures compliance with this regulation, thereby contributing to safer workplaces and a healthier New Zealand.

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