Many commonly used chemicals are classified as hazardous substances under New Zealand legislation and have the potential to cause explosion or fire, or to harm human health or damage the environment, including substances such as:
- Cleaning chemicals (e.g. drain cleaner)
- Petrol and diesel
- Pesticides and herbicides
- Paints, varnishes and other surface coatings
- Compressed or liquefied gases such as LPG, acetylene or oxygen.
Hazardous Substances are classified and regulated under the Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act and associated regulations, which are administered by the Environmental Protection. In the Workplace, WorkSafe New Zealand has responsibility for enforcing the provisions of this legislation.
The EPA has recently produced a guidance document (Your Practical Guide to Working Safely with Hazardous Substances) which contains additional on-line resources.
Note that research and teaching laboratories operate under special provisions and these are described in more detail at the link below.