Frequently Asked Questions
I completed my course successfully but haven't received my certificate(s).
Certificates usually take about two weeks to be issued after course requirements have been completed. If you have not received your certificate(s), contact your Trainer first to check that you successfully completed all the requirements of the course and that your results have been submitted for processing.
What is the difference between a GROWSAFE certificate and an Approved Handler certificate?
Under the Resource Management Act, regional and district councils prepare plans for their area. These plans include rules on discharging agrichemicals onto land, air or water. These requirements differ by region, but all plans specify that agrichemicals must be applied in accordance with the New Zealand Standard for the Management of Agrichemicals, also known as NZS8409. Most plans also specify that commercial users hold a GROWSAFE certificate. GROWSAFE training is based on NZS8409.
The regional plan requirements cover all agrichemicals, whether they are highly toxic, ecotoxic or not. So, you may not need an Approved Handler certificate as well as a GROWSAFE certificate – or you may need both.
Although the Approved Handler and GROWSAFE certificates are issued through different processes, you can gain both qualifications through the single GROWSAFE course.
Why do I need any certificate when I can purchase and use agrichemicals without anyone asking me to produce a certificate?
GROWSAFE Introductory certificate
I've lost my GROWSAFE certificate, how can I get a new one? I can't remember my GROWSAFE certificate number, how can I find it out?
Why should I get a GROWSAFE certificate?
Agrichemicals are an important part of our production systems, but we are increasingly being questioned about the use of agrichemicals on food, and in the environment. If we want to maintain the ability to use agrichemicals in a practical way, then we all need to do our bit to illustrate that we are using them in a safe and responsible manner.
It is one thing to have confidence in your own skills and experience, but these days you require proof. A GROWSAFE Certificate is credible evidence for your customers, and the authorities, that you are meeting your obligations, and understand and use agrichemicals in a responsible and professional way.
In addition, many regional councils require commercial users of agrichemicals to hold GROWSAFE certificates. The RMA/Regional plan section of our Resources page provides details of the requirements in each region. Even if a plan doesn’t specifically require GROWSAFE certification, it is likely to require compliance with NZS8409: Management of Agrichemicals. A GROWSAFE course will provide you with the information you need.
How long is a certificate valid?
Can I arrange an in-house GROWSAFE Introductory course for my staff?
How much does it cost to attend a GROWSAFE Introductory course?
Approved Handler certificates
Do I need an Approved Handler certificate?
I’ve heard there are planned changes to who needs an Approved Handler certificate. Should I renew mine?
So, if your Approved Handler expires between now and the beginning of December, and you do not plan to purchase or use any class 6.1C products before December, you probably do not need to renew your Approved Handler certificate.
If you use products with a class 6.1A or B hazard classification, you will continue to need an Approved Handler.
Note: There are also changes planned to the training/qualification required for the wide dispersive use of highly ecotoxic agrichemicals (classes 9.1A, 9.2A, 9.3A, 9.4A). Approved Handler certificates will no longer be required for these products. But other evidence of competency will be necessary (yet to be finalised but expected to include GROWSAFE certification).
It is likely that, until its expiry date, an Approved Handler certificate will also be acceptable evidence of competency in the use of highly ecotoxic agrichemicals. So, if you only have an Approved Handler certificate and not a GROWSAFE or equivalent certificate, you may wish to renew your Approved Handler certificate if it is about to expire.
You may wish to use this Flowchart re AH FAQ to help clarify your situation.
I've lost my Approved Handler certificate, how can I get a new one? I can't remember my Approved Handler certificate number, how can I find it out?
Approved Handler certificates are issued by Test Certifiers (not GROWSAFE).
If you can remember the name of your Test Certifier, contact them for a replacement certificate. Your GROWSAFE Trainer will know the name of your Test Certifier (or may also be your Test Certifier). There is also a list of current Test Certifiers on the EPA website.
If you renewed online prior to February 2015, then your Test Certifier is Colin Spence (email@example.com). If you renewed online from February 2015, then email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will be able to provide a copy of your certificate.
If you cannot identify your Test Certifier, then ring WorkSafe on 0800 376 234 or email email@example.com and they will look up your details in their database. You need to provide your full name and contact address. (Note: WorkSafe has taken over responsibility for the Approved Handler system from EPA but some information is still found on the EPA website.)
How much does it cost to attend a GROWSAFE Introductory Recertification course?
I'm having problems renewing my certificate online, who should I ring?
Can I renew my Introductory certificate if it has expired?
If your certificate is more than 6 months overdue (but less than 12 months), you may be able to renew but you will also have to provide additional evidence of competency to the Trainer particularly if you have not been actively spraying during the previous few years. Alternatively, you can re-sit the initial course.
Why is the expiry date of my Approved Handler certificate different from that of my GROWSAFE certificate?
You have two choices:
- Renew both certificates at the time the Approved Handler certificate expires. They will then have the same expiry date. However, it may mean you are without a current GROWSAFE certificate for a period of time, or your new GROWSAFE certificate is issued before the previous one expires.
- Renew each of the certificates as they come due. If you have a current GROWSAFE certificate with more than a year till expiry, you can contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and ask for access to the Approved Handler only online assessment.
What is NZS8409?
This Standard is the base reference resource for agrichemical users and suppliers and underpins all GROWSAFE training programmes.
It is approved by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as a Code of Practice under the provisions of the Hazardous Substances and New Organisms (HSNO) Act 1996. The Standard is also approved by the Agriculture Compounds and Veterinary Medicines Group at the NZ Food Safety Authority under section 28 of the ACVM Act 1997.
Why hasn't NZS8409 been updated since 2004? When is it due to be updated?
Where can I get a copy of NZS8409?
What is the difference between certification and accreditation?
I am a retailer selling agrichemicals. Do I need a GROWSAFE certificate? Or Approved Handler?
Under the HSNO Act, the person-in-charge (PIC) must have an Approved Handler certificate. This needs to cover the classes and quantities of hazardous goods found in the retail store, which may include agrichemicals, oxidisers, flammable products. It also needs to cover the appropriate lifecycles eg Storage. It does not need to cover Use. Note: the GROWSAFE Introductory course covers Approved Handler requirements for agrichemicals but not for other classes of hazardous goods and not for large quantities so may not be appropriate to your needs.
Under the HSNO Act, you may also need a Location Test Certificate if you store large quantities of Class 2 or 3 flammable product. Not many agrichemicals are Class 2 or 3, but other products in a rural retail store may be.
My neighbour is spraying and I am concerned about spraydrift onto my property. What should I do?
All regional plans require the sprayer to ensure either that there is no spraydrift or at least there are no adverse effects from spraydrift. If you believe there has been a spraydrift, you need to collect evidence such as photos or video of the spraying activities, photos of any negative impact, records of weather such as photo of windsock or anenometer reading. You may also wish to take samples from plants that have been affected and keep them in airtight bags for possible future analysis.