Frequently asked questions - certified handler certificates

For full information on certified handler certificates, see our dedicated webpage

When is it needed?

Do I need a Certified Handler certificate?

It is a legal requirement for highly toxic (class 6.1A and 6.1B) substances to be under the control of a Certified Handler. Other people can handle these agrichemicals if they are instructed and under the supervision of a Certified Handler. Note that many holders of Approved Handler will not need to obtain the Certified Handler certificate, and a Growsafe certificate will be sufficient for regulatory compliance as well as market requirements.

Which substances required certified Handler?

Products with very high human toxicity (HSNO classes 6.1A and B) must be under the control of a Certified Handler. Here is a list of examples.

What is the difference between a Growsafe certificate and a Certified Handler certificate?

Certified Handler certification is managed by WorkSafe and certificates are issued by Compliance Certifiers. Growsafe certificates are issued by the New Zealand Agrichemical Education Trust (NZAET) and are recognised by most industry and regulatory organisations such as EPA, regional councils, quality assurance schemes and export organisations.


How do I get a Certified Handler certificate?

Certified Handler is an add-on to a Growsafe Standard certificate. In most cases, the compliance certifier will require you to have a Growsafe Standard certificate and experience in the use of the agrichemicals before starting the process:
  • there may be some additional learning to undertake
  • there will be a written assessment
  • there may be a phone or video call
  • you will need to provide documents and photos as evidence of good practice
  • usually, the compliance certifier will want to visit your property to confirm proper use of agrichemicals. If they know the workplace, or accept evidence from another source such as an on-site audit for another purpose, they may not need to visit.

Why do requirements vary between compliance certifiers?

Each compliance certifier is responsible for confirming an individual applicant is competent. WorkSafe has provided some general guidance, but compliance certifiers are the final decision-makers and may set their own requirements before they issue a certificate. We recommend you talk with two or more compliance certifiers  to see what their requirements are in your particular situation, and what the cost will be.

How long do they last?

Certificates expiry after five years. However, certificates are issued for the agrichemicals you use in a particular workplace. So if you change workplaces, you will probably need to update your certificate.

How can I get started with getting my operations ready?

We recommend you start by attending a Growsafe Standard course if you don't have a current Growsafe certificate. Alternatively try our online course  to help you understand what sort of evidence the compliance certifier will be looking for. We also have lots of resources and templates on our Resources page - the storage checklist is particularly useful for those looking to review their agrichemical store.