The Hazardous Substances and New Organisms (HSNO) Act of New Zealand is undergoing amendment with a view to improve its workability and to help stakeholders better identify their obligations and regulatory compliance requirements. The Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) is contributing to achieving this goal by developing a series or notices, which outline the major requirements under the HSNO Act. The notices also summarize the implementation details which were previously scattered in subordinate legal documents, administrative rules and technical standards. The EPA notices will be regularly updated to keep up with international trends.
Five EPA Notices have been released for open consultation and deal with:
1. Classification system
The new EPA Classification Notice plans to incorporate GHS classification criteria and align with the 5th revision of the UN model guidelines, while also staying compatible with GHS implementation schemes in the EU, USA and Australia. The new classification system should be referenced when applying for new substance approval under the HSNO Act from the date of its official enactment. A 2-year transitional period will be granted for the industry to re-classify existing approved substances.
Previous labelling requirements were prescribed in various regulations and standards. The EPA proposes to rationalize and consolidate the generic labelling requirements into one notice, as well as some substance-specific variations. The requirements will be based on international best practice for labelling and will conform to the GHS requirements of New Zealand’s major trade partners. Labelling chemicals (including pesticides) in the workplace will also require GHS compliance. Consumer product labels should comply with GHS, or where applicable, comply with Australian Standard for the Uniform Scheduling of Medicines and Poisons (SUSMP).
Additional labelling requirements for terrestrial eco-toxicity hazards and other changes to the existing requirements are also proposed.
SDS requirements are imposed on both Hazchem manufacturers/importers and downstream users. The SDS requirements relevant to manufacturers and importers will still fall under the HSNO Act in the form of an EPA Notice while those related to mandatory SDS in the workplace will fall under the Health and Safety at Work (HSW) Act. Generally speaking, New Zealand will follow the 16-section SDS format, consistent with its major trading partners. Other specifications in the notice concern the compilation and review of SDS and also provide detail on SDS information requirements
The proposed EPA Notice for packaging intends to better align with international packaging requirements like the UN Model Regulations on the transport of dangerous goods. Special focus is paid to consumer goods in terms of:
- Child-resistant packaging
- Tactile design / permanent identification of packaging
- Misleading packaging.
5. Substances eco-toxic to the terrestrial environment
The EPA proposes to use the hazard categorization of "substances eco-toxic to the terrestrial environment" borrowed from the old classification system. However, only substances designed for biocides are subject to this classification, and other types of industrial and commercial hazardous substances will not be faced with such requirements.
As this hazard category is not included in GHS, the old labelling approach will stay effective. Such classification information should be provided in section 12 of the SDS (Ecological information). There would be no specific packaging requirements for substances classified into this category.
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