New Zealand Law Society - Rule changes to keep people safe from agro-chemicals on the cards

Rule changes to keep people safe from agro-chemicals on the cards

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​The Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) is seeking submissions on proposals to update rules and controls relating to safe use and management of a range of agricultural chemicals. The proposals are part of the Government’s wider reform of New Zealand’s health and safety system.

A consultation document: A Proposal for EPA Notice for Hazardous Property Controls provides an update on changes first put forward in October 2016. 

The document is divided into four parts.

  • Controls on ecotoxic (toxic to the environment) substances. Most of these controls relate to the workplace use of pesticides, but there are also some generic controls to prevent adverse environmental effects from the use and storage of ecotoxic substances generally.
  • Controls relating to the availability, storage and use of hazardous substances in non-workplaces. These controls are to protect the general public from exposure to hazardous substances.
  • Part three discusses two matters that were not included in the original October 2016 consultation. These areas relate to tank wagons and transportable container requirements for ecotoxic substances, and the filling of SCUBA cylinders by members of the public.
  • Proposed changes to the Labelling Notice, arising out of new requirements on pesticide use specified in the HPC Notice.

“The Hazardous Property Controls Notice consolidates, updates, and replaces many regulations and controls currently in HSNO Regulations, group standards, transfer notices and individual substance approvals,” EPA General Manager Siobhan Quayle says. 

“The Notice also introduces a number of new controls necessary to fill regulatory gaps that have arisen from the split of controls between HSNO and the new Health and Safety at Work legislation. 

“It is intended that the HPC Notice will come into force in December 2017 to coincide with the new Hazardous Substances Regulations,” she says.

The previous consultation document received 57 submissions, many of which influenced changes to the original proposals. 

Ms Quayle encourages New Zealanders to have their say on the proposals. “The submissions we receive on these proposed rule changes are instrumental to getting the balance right and ensuring there are no regulatory gaps,” she says.

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