Agrichemicals – An Overview

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What is an agrichemical? 

An agrichemical is any substance, whether inorganic or organic, man-made or naturally occurring, that is used to eradicate, modify or control flora and fauna.

Where are agrichemicals most likely to be found?

Agrichemicals are most commonly defined as plant protection products (which includes herbicides, fungicides and insecticides), fertilisers, veterinary medicines and fumigants. Agrichemicals are used in rural situations and agricultural use of detergents and sanitisers - except those used in the dairy industry.

Risks of agrichemicals to humans and the environment

Growsafe New Zealand state that agrichemicals pose risk to three key areas:

  1. To people, e.g. skin irritants, dust inhalation and fire/explosion
  2. To the environment, e.g. effects on non-targeted organisms
  3. To food safety and market access, e.g. pesticide residue

Agrichemicals differ in some respects to other chemicals, as they are deliberately introduced into the environment to kill things. Therefore, they can have several hazard classifications including class 6 (toxic to humans), class 8 (corrosive) and class 9 (toxic to the environment).

According to Growsafe, nearly ¾ of all our agrichemicals are considered toxic in water and most of these have the highest hazard classification in 9.1A. As a result, a lot of focus goes into avoiding potential contamination of surface and ground water with these substances.

Among other things, this is achieved by establishing safe storage of these important but potentially dangerous chemicals.

How do I store agrichemicals?

The storage of agrichemicals is governed by the NZS8409 Standard: Management of Agrichemicals. In summary this requires the stores for such, whether permanent or temporary, to be located:

  1. Away from obvious hazards, e.g. incinerators, welding gear and areas where fuel or other flammable materials are stored
  2. Away from areas of possible pollution risk, e.g. dwellings, fodder, feeds, crops and waterways
  3. Out of strong winds or areas prone to flooding

Design requirements for cabinets

The NZS8409:2004 Standard states that important features of an agrichemical store include:

  • A fully bunded floor or the ability to readily contain any spilled product;
  • Ceilings and walls constructed of appropriate fire-resistant materials;
  • Weather and moisture protection (if stored outdoors);
  • Good ventilation and lighting;
  • Convenient access, with forklift access for larger stores;
  • Security from unauthorised access, e.g. children, pets, livestock and vermin.

The Chemshed Agrichemical Cabinet (04-1146) is an essential store on farms for securely, and compliantly, storing agrichemicals. The weather tight seal means this cabinet can be stored outdoors.

Store location requirements

The store needs to be at least 3m away from fuel and other flammable liquids, ignition sources, and combustible vegetation and refuse.

Storage areas also need to be at least 15m from the property’s boundary.

Emergency management requirements

The Standard stipulates that these stores needs to have a fire extinguisher and a spill response kit or suitable absorbent material on hand to contain and absorb spills.  A clean water supply, a first aid kit and suitable personal protective equipment (gloves, overalls and eye-protection) are also requirements to have close to hand.

Indoor storage requirements

For smaller amounts of agrichemicals, these can be stored inside a hazardous storage cabinet, one that is for agrichemicals, or more specifically for class 6 (toxic) and class 8 (corrosive) chemicals. 

Signage requirements

Your agrichemical store needs to have appropriate signage for the chemicals within. “No Smoking” and an orange “HAZCHEM 2WE Agrichemicals” signs are the bare minimum for signage.

Secondary containment

Secondary containment or bunding is required for the following substances, when they exceed the levels stated:

Class Threshold where secondary containment is required

6.1A, 6.1B & 6.1C


6.1D, 6.5A, 6.5B, 6.7A






8.2C, 8.3A




9.1B, 9.1C





Generally, an agrichemical store will be supplied with inbuilt bunding, however secondary containment can also be achieved via spill containment pallets and work floors.

Incompatible substance

The NZS8409:2004 Standard states that it is important to segregate some products, even in the smallest of agrichemical stores. This is summarised as follows:

  • Store drenches, vaccines and the equipment used to administer them as far away as possible from dips and crop protection products;
  • Store herbicides as far away as possible from insecticides and fungicides;
  • Store oxidizing agents (class 5 substances such as sodium and potassium chlorate) in their own areas and away from flammable products and acids;
  • Store fumigants in their own area so they cannot come into contact with any other product;
  • Store flammables separate from non-flammables, preferably in a dedicated flammable storage cabinet;
  • Keep powder, liquid and aerosol formulations separate.

Chemshed 20-Year Warranty

Storing dangerous goods is a demanding task but the strength and reliability of Chemshed cabinets, mean they are right up to it. To prove our confidence in them, they are backed up with a 20-year Warranty, which will give you the peace of mind that you are purchasing a solution that rises to the storage challenge, like none other. Find out more here.

Creating safer working environments

At Hazero our mission is zero hazards. Our extensive range of quality products will help you store, contain and control and clean-up dangerous goods and hazardous substances.

For more information on our Chemshed Agrichemical Cabinet click here.

Need help creating a safer working environment? Contact our team today on 0800 688 844 or email us at Our team are also available for on-site assessments across New Zealand, click here to request a site visit.

Content above falls under the Hazero Disclaimer, for more information click here.

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