Regulatory changes

Published: March 2018

The regulatory environment has changed. From 1 December 2017, the use of hazardous substances, such as agrichemicals, in the workplace is managed under the Health and Safety at Work Act and enforced by WorkSafe.

As with any other workplace risk, businesses are now required to identify and assess the risks associated with agrichemical use and take steps to manage them. The regulations require every workplace to maintain an inventory of all hazardous substances present, the likely quantity on the site and the hazards associated with the substance. This inventory will be the first thing an emergency worker, WorkSafe auditor or quality assurance auditor will ask to see. It also is the first step in your risk management process .

There are various changes to the regulatory requirements but the one most visible to agrichemical users will be the end of the Approved Handler system. It is being replaced by a Certified Handler scheme but this will only be required for those using the most acutely toxic agrichemicals (hazard classes 6.1A or 6.1B).  Whilst fewer people will need the Certified Handler, the level of competency required will be higher with Test Certifiers likely to require an interview or even site visit before issuing a certificate.

However, there is a very clear requirement that every business provide training, information and instruction to ensure its staff are competent in the safe use of agrichemicals. And the EPA have requirements that all users of very ecotoxic substances (hazard classes 9.1A, 9.2A, 9.3A, 9.4A) are suitably qualified, for example, Growsafe certified.