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Emergency Response Plans

What is an emergency response plan?

An emergency response plan (ERP) is a written document that:

  • details who does what in the event of an emergency
  • includes a site plan showing access routes for emergency vehicles, the location of your chemical store and nearby buildings, water sources, and where you have stored your fire extinguishers, first aid cabinet(s) and spill kits.
  • provides an up-to-date list of all the hazardous substances stored on the property and the quantity stored of each of them (i.e. an inventory)
  • information on the hazards associated with each of the substances store - the SDS or PSC/HazNote for each substance is ideal documentation.

An emergency response plan is recommended where any hazardous substances are handled or stored - it is required when threshold volumes are breached.

Emergency response plans must be tested at least every 12 months or within three months of a change to the plan.

Threshold Quantities

An emergency response plan is needed for sites that hold large quantities of hazardous substances. If you hold substances in excess of the amounts below you will require an emergency response plan. If the substances are liquids, or likely to liquefy in a fire, secondary containment is also required. The table below indicates at what quantity an ERP is required. Use your "potential" store inventory to determine the maximum quantities in your store at any time. Sum all products with the same hazard classification.


Hazard classification Quantity threshold
3.1A 100 L
3.1B 1,000 L
3.1C, 3.1D 10,000 L
5.1.1A 50 L/kg
5.1.1B 500 L/kg
5.1.1C 5,000 L/kg
6.1A, 6.1B, 6.1C 100 kg/ L
6.1D, 6.5A, 6.5B, 6.7A 1,000 kg/L
6.6A, 6.7B, 6.8A, 6.9A 10,000 kg/L
8.2B 1,000 kg/L
8.2C, 8.3A 10,000 kg/L
9.1A 100 kg/ L
9.1B, 9.1C 1,000 kg/L
9.1D 10,000 kg/ L

Note: only classes relevant to agrichemicals are included in this table.

The concept of Emergency Response Levels has been removed from the new regulations.


  • Refer to Product Safety Cards or HazNotes for threshold values for emergency plans (but note this is for a single substance and thresholds are set on the cumulative quantities).
  • WorkSafe's Hazardous Substances Calculator will review your inventory and tell you whether you are legally required to have an ERP.
  • Standards NZ has a useful reference guide on the topic (for sale): SAA/SNZ HB 77:2010 Dangerous goods - Initial emergency response guide