Auckland based premiere HSNO consultant Technical Compliance Consultant Ltd (NZ) explains the implication of the Hazardous Substance and New Organisms Act, 1996 in New Zealand at grass root level, advising clients how to comply with the various sections of this controversial enactment.
What HSNO is all about?
The administrators in the Kiwi country had long been feeling the need for a comprehensive legislation that could control the use of hazardous substances that had so long been haphazardly regulated by numerous individual pieces of legislation that often made compliance difficult and cumbersome. However, the introduction of the HSNO Act 1996 and its subsequent enforcement in the country greatly reduced that chaos, at the same time streamlined the controlling procedure. Incidentally, the HSNO Act makes New Zealand the first country to act on Global Harmonization, while all hazardous substances under the Act need to be classified and managed according to the fullest extent of their hazardous properties. Nevertheless, since the new enactment has unnerved many clients, TCC(NZ) answers some their questions as outlined below.
Q 1: What do I have to do to comply with the HSNO Act?
A1: If you already comply with legal requirements under the Explosives, Dangerous Goods, Toxic Substances, and / or Pesticides Act for substances you already have or use (i.e., existing substances), these requirements for compliance will remain inplace until substances are transferred to HSNO regulations.Any new substances (single substances or mixtures) require ERMA approval before they can be imported, manufactured or used.
Q2: What are the offences under the Act?
A2: it is an offence HSNO to:
- Manufacture, import, possess or dispose off any hazardous substance in contravention of the HSNO Act.
- Fail to comply with any controls, test certificates or compliance orders.
- Impersonate any enforcement officer.
- Willfully obstruct an officer on duty.
- Knowingly inform a person of a ‘false’ emergency.
- Knowingly mislabel packages
Regulatory authorities do not have to prove the intention, only that you failed to comply.
Q3: What is my liability under the Act?
A3: Where any offence is committed by an employee, that offence shall be treated as committed by the employer as well as the employee, whether or not it was done with the employer’s knowledge or approval. So potentially ALL can be held liable. In addition,for any offence, the Court can order a person to mitigate or remedy anyadverse effects on people or the environment.
Q4: What penalties apply under the Act?
A4: For breach of main duties such as manufacturing a product that has not been approved or otherwise contravenes the Act:
- Imprisonment for up to 3 months
- Fines up to $500,000
- Fines up to $500,000 per day for continuing offences
For breach of specific duties such as not having test certificate:
- Fines up to $50,000 Plus Fines up to $5000 per day for continuing offence.
Q5: Who enforces the HSNO Act?
A5: OSH is the enforcement agency charged with the responsibility of enforcing HSNO requirement in the workplace.
Q6: How do I know if a substance is hazardous according to the definition of the Act?
A6: The Minimum Degrees of Hazard regulation sets out thresholds for each hazardous property. Any one threshold may trigger HSNO classification, making it subject toHSNO regulations and controls.It is important to ensure each substance is thoroughly reviewed, as many products willnow be subject to HSNO requirements that in the past were largely uncontrolled. In particular, HSNO not only addresses existing Dangerous Goods and Toxic Substances.
Although some of the basic questions that harass or worry people are tackled here, clients are free to make further queries on HSNO which will be duly answered by TCC(NZ) Ltd to the best satisfaction of worried clientele.