Growsafe Standard Certificate

Who should do this course?

This course is for agrichemical users working independently (ie with little or no supervision) with responsibility for a single site/property, and may have responsibility for managing or supervising others. You are likely to be operating in a known set of circumstances (for example, one location, crop and/or equipment type), or operating under the supervision of someone with Growsafe Advanced or RCA certification.

The EPA Hazardous Substances (Hazardous Property Controls) Notice 2017 lists the Growsafe Standard certificate as an acceptable qualification for the use of highly ecotoxic agrichemicals for ground-based application to land.  Additionally, all regional plans specify that agrichemicals used in commercial operations such as farms, orchards, vineyards, forests, must be applied in accordance with NZS8409.  Most of these plans specify that users hold a Growsafe Introductory certificate or equivalent training.


Course content

Once you've finished the course and assessment requirements, you will be:
  • trained to apply agrichemicals in a safe, responsible and effective way with minimal adverse impact on human, environmental and animal health
  • aware of the regulatory and market requirements relating to agrichemical use
  • aware of your obligations under the various legislations that impact on the use of agrichemicals in New Zealand.


The Growsafe Basic certificate (or equivalent knowledge) plus one season's spraying experience is a prerequisite for this course.  The course tutors will assume all trainees have a basic level of knowledge of agrichemicals and their use so they can focus on new, higher level content. Growsafe offers an online pre-course learning package which is a great way to remind yourself of some of the basic information about agrichemical use and will help you get more out of the face-to-face course. Take a look - it's free.

In certain limited circumstances, a trainer may grant an exemption to the prerequisite to enable trainees who do not meet the prerequisite to attend the course.  However, the certificate will not be awarded until both written and practical competency is demonstrated.  If you are unsure, talk with your Growsafe trainer to discuss whether this course is right for you.


The Growsafe Standard certificate will be awarded on successful completion of both written and practical assessments.  The practical assessment requires the following:
  • copy of an inventory for your workplace; and
  • provision of eight completed spray diaries covering eight independent spray events (i.e. different date, place or agrichemical) with sign-off from an independent third party (for example, manager).
Alternatively, in place of the spray diaries, the following evidence may be acceptable:
  • a practical demonstration of skill in a real or simulated workplace using real agrichemicals
  • interview of candidate by the assessor/tutor
  • interview of candidate's supervisor/employer.

Certified handler

The Growsafe Standard course is designed to meet the knowledge requirements for WorkSafe's Certified Handler Test Certificate (previously known as Approved Handler) which enables you to purchase and apply highly toxic agrichemicals.  However, it is likely that you will need to provide additional evidence of practical competency and specific workplace procedures related to the product you use to be awarded the certified handler certificate. For more details, check out our certified handler page .

Unit standards

Some trainers may offer one or two unit standards: 21563 and 27215.  Check with your trainer when you enrol to confirm whether or not unit standards will be awarded.  There may be additional assessment requirements to achieve these unit standards.

Expiry of certificate and renewal

A Growsafe Standard certificate is valid for 5 years, at which time it can be renewed.  This is because laws, technology and best practice are constantly changing.  While you can read and hear about these changes yourself, your customers and the regulators require evidence that you are up-to-date.  Renewal of your certificate must be done within 12 months of expiry.  This can be done by: If your certificate expired more than 6 months ago, contact your local trainer to discuss renewal requirements. 

NOTE: Some agrichemical users attended a Growsafe course some years ago and received both a Growsafe and an Approved Handler certificate but then only renewed the Approved Handler.  If this is your situation, you will need to attend a course to gain your Growsafe certificate. Growsafe does not recognise Approved Handler certificates as equivalent to Growsafe certificates for renewal purposes, as the process for renewing the Approved Handler certificates varied substantially and in many cases did not meet Growsafe standards (one of the reasons for the demise of the scheme in late 2017).  For example, many renewals only required evidence of knowledge of changes to regulations, not demonstration of  current competency.  There are also differences in the content of the certificates.

Course cost

The cost of Growsafe courses is set by the trainer/provider delivering the course.  Contact trainers in your area to find out what they charge. Ask about any additional charges for Certified Handler or unit standards (if available).  Click here to view upcoming courses around New Zealand.


Note: this certificate has been available since 1 January 2018.