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The 'need' for Hazardous Substance Training

11 November 2019

The 'need' for Hazardous Substance Training

What do these pictographs mean?

What risks are advertised?

What controls are triggered?


How often do you use, or direct workers to use, chemical substances without full knowledge of their hazards and risk? If you are like most people … it is every day!  And that is why workplace exposures are estimated to contribute to 650 early deaths a year in New Zealand.

It was like the wild west out there: Chemicals were designed to solve problems. We have built our civilisation on them. Now, however, we are increasingly aware the chemicals we use can pose problems in themselves.  There is an ethical obligation to prevent harm from Hazardous Substances.

The HSNO Act (1996) requires importers and manufactures to inform you of the hazards and risks posed by Hazardous Substances. HSWA (2015), specifically its Hazardous Substances Regulations 2017, require you to know and control these hazards and risks. There is a legal obligation to prevent harm from Hazardous Substances. You, and workers handling Hazardous Substances, need training to translate the information provided under HSNO and its Notices, to actions, required under HSWA and its Regulations.

So training is required: Vertical Horizonz offer courses to meet a number of levels of competency. The Chemical Safety at Work course ensures people know and understand the hazards, risks and controls on the substances in their workplace. The online course raises awareness. If people handle these substances, however, the knowledge of the ‘Trained Person’ must be verified through an extramural or face to face assessment of Unit Standard 31292.  The Chemical Handling and Storage course provides training for ‘Competent Persons’, under HSWA, and ‘Approved Persons’, under HSNO, verified by an assessment of Unit Standards 31290 and 31293. Those who handle high hazard 6.1A and 6.1B, Fumigant or Vertebrate Toxic Agents can do the extramural ‘Certified Handler’ course, verified by an assessment of Unit Standard 31291, to ensure that they can demonstrate full compliance prior to their application being processed by an independent Certifier for a Certified Handler Compliance Certificate. By offering these levels of training Vertical Horizonz seek to meet a PCBU’s ethical and legal requirements in the most effective and efficient manner.