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HAZA404 Environmental Risk Assessment and Management

Principles and practices underlying the identification, assessment, prevention, remediation and compliance requirements associated with environmental risks and hazards in today’s society.

Many employment situations can involve problems associated with chemicals or the consequences of chemical use in the environment. This paper is, therefore, especially relevant to scientists, engineers, planners and managers with responsibility for hazard assessment and management involving chemicals and their use. It is an interdisciplinary paper, occupying the interface between earth, physical, biological and health sciences, legal practice and commerce. The ways that hazardous substances are managed in the NZ environment is controlled by a number of pieces of legislation, of which the Hazardous Substances and New Organisms (HSNO) Act and Resource Management Act (RMA) are the most important. The paper will focus on the key features of these and related acts as they apply to the management of risk associated with hazardous substances. The paper has a wide appeal to students or employees in the health sciences, general science, public bodies, legal firms, environmental officers, engineers, agricultural workers, those in emergency services, planners, and economists who want to broaden their horizons in this area of environmental management.

Paper title Environmental Risk Assessment and Management
Paper code HAZA404
Subject Hazard Assessment and Management
EFTS 0.1667
Points 20 points
Teaching period 2nd Non standard period (9 July 2018 - 26 November 2018)
Domestic Tuition Fees (NZD) $1,831.37
International Tuition Fees (NZD) $5,842.50

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CHEM 466, CHEX 466, HAZX 404
Candidates for the Postgraduate Diploma/Certificate in Health Sciences endorsed in Hazard Assessment and Management must either be a graduate or holder of a professional qualification that has required at least three years of tertiary-level study or have alternative qualifications or experience acceptable to the Board. The Board will require evidence of ability to undertake advanced academic study.

Enrolments for this paper require departmental permission. View more information about departmental permission.
Pip Jack
Department of Chemistry
University of Otago
PO Box 56, Dunedin
New Zealand
Tel: 64 3 4797912
Fax: 64 3 4797906
Teaching staff
Casey Davies (Department of Chemistry)
Paper Structure
Five modules:
  • Module 1: Risk and risk management
  • Module 2: Legislation
  • Module 3: HSNO regulations controls
  • Module 4: Local environmental hazards and risks (Case Study 1)
  • Module 5: Global environmental hazards associated with sustainable energy use (Case Study 2)
Workshop/AEE Assignment
Teaching Arrangements
Self-learning is the pedagogical basis for the paper, with students being directed to material rather than detailed lecture notes being provided. The paper is web-based, allowing individuals to learn and assimilate at their own pace. Teaching materials, assignments and assessments are mostly in a web-based format using the University of Otago's Blackboard platform. The paper is taught over a 20-week period.


There is no final examination. The final mark is based on assessments during the paper.
  • Two assignments involving short answers to questions and a safety management plan for a specific chemical (each worth 12.5%)
  • Two case studies (25% each)
  • AEE Assignment (25%)
Assignment due dates will be confirmed at the start of the paper but are normally as follows:
  • Assignment 1 due end of week 7
  • Assignment 2 due end of week 11
  • Field exercise report due end of week 13
  • Case Study 1 due end of week 15
  • Case Study 2 due end of week 20
There are no textbooks recommended for this paper. Most of the material will be accessed from Blackboard. This includes instructions, announcements, text files, exercises and assignments.
Graduate Attributes Emphasised
Global perspective, Lifelong learning, Communication, Critical thinking, Research, Self-motivation.
View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
Learning Outcomes
Students who successfully complete the paper will
  • Learn of the natures of hazardous substances, their classification and regulatory controls and standards to which they are subject.
  • Acquire knowledge of the principles of risk assessment and management of hazardous substances, the environmental issues associated with disposal of waste in a landfill and with the increasing implementation of sustainable energy sources
  • Develop the ability to recognise or predict the likely consequences of any chemical activity, to devise plans to mitigate any hazardous consequences, to extract relevant information from databases, and to subject that data to critical assessment
  • Develop a greater awareness of legal and safety considerations associated with hazardous substance management and improve public awareness of the need to consider all of the environmental factors that may be affected by the use of chemicals and the implementation of sustainable energy sources
It is important to be able to place in a modern context the various legal, ethical and societal concerns that arise from the effects of chemicals and sustainable energy practices on the environment. The way the paper is structured to promote self-learning strategies should make students better prepared to recognise and implement strategies to resolve risk.

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2nd Non standard period (9 July 2018 - 26 November 2018)

Teaching method
This paper is taught through Distance Learning
Learning management system