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Category Health and Safety
Type Policy
Approved by Vice-Chancellor
Date Policy Took Effect 1 March 2010
Last approved revision 27 November 2015
Sponsor Chief Operating Officer
Responsible officer Director, Health, Safety and Wellbeing


The purpose of this policy is to ensure that University of Otago laboratories where Hazardous Substances are in use are operated in a manner that is safe and complies with the requirements of the Code of Practice for Crown Research Institutes (CRI) and University Exempt Laboratories, as well as with general workplace health and safety requirements.

Organisational scope

This Policy applies to all University of Otago laboratories where Hazardous Substances may be used or stored.


Refers to the Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act, 1996 and associated regulations.  This is the New Zealand legislation that regulates the use of Hazardous Substances and New Organisms in order to protect the health and safety of people and communities.
Hazardous Substance
A substance (chemical or mixture of chemicals) that is classified (under HSNO) as possessing one or more the following hazardous properties: explosiveness, flammability, capacity to Oxidize, Toxicity or Ecotoxicity.
Code of Practice for CRI and University Exempt Laboratories
An official Code of Practice approved by the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) as a legal means of compliance for research and teaching laboratories wishing to be exempted from HSNO (in relation to the use of Hazardous Substances).
University of Otago HSNO Exempt Laboratory Manual
The University of Otago document that details the procedures to be followed in University of Otago laboratories in order to meet the requirements of the Code of Practice, as well as general health and safety requirements and other University policies and procedures.


1. Laboratory Facilities

  1. New Laboratories shall be designed and constructed in accordance with the requirements of the manual (and any referenced standards).  Existing laboratories that do not comply shall be upgraded through the Statutory Budget process.
  2. Health, Safety and Wellbeing shall maintain a record of all HSNO Exempt Laboratories (the Laboratory Directory).  Departmental Laboratory Managers are responsible for notifying Health, Safety and Wellbeing of any changes in their areas.

2. Compliance Requirements

  1. All University of Otago research and teaching laboratories where hazardous substances are used shall be operated in accordance with the requirements of the University of Otago HSNO Exempt Laboratory Manual.
  2. The Hazardous Substance and Radiation Committee is responsible for approving the manual content and shall review the manual at least every 5 years.  In addition, the Committee may review any part of the manual in response to matters raised with the Committee or in response to changes in legislation.
  3. Any review likely to result in significant changes to the manual content will involve consultation with the affected departments through their Departmental Laboratory Manager and with other affected parties (e.g. service divisions) as appropriate.

3. Laboratory Audit and Incident Investigation

  1. Compliance with the requirements of this policy and the manual shall be monitored and enforced through regular auditing and investigation of laboratory-related incidents as described in the manual.

Related policies, procedures and forms

University of Otago HSNO-Exempt Laboratory Manual (PDF)

Contact for further information

If you have any queries regarding the content of this policy or need further clarification, contact:

Director, Health, Safety and Wellbeing

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