Changes to the Hazard Classification System

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On the 30th April 2021, the classification system for hazardous substances changed from HSNO (the Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act 1996), to the new Globally Harmonized System (GHS).

What is the GHS?

The Globally Harmonized System (also know as GHS or GHS 7) is an international hazard classification system for chemicals created by the United Nations. The hazards are clearly detailed on labels and Safety Data Sheets (SDS) to determine how to safely store, use, and dispose of hazardous substances.

The GHS is used by more than 50 countries globally, including all of New Zealand’s major trading partners, and therefore we adopted this in April 2021.

What changes and for who?

According to Worksafe New Zealand, these changes mainly affect the rules for importers, manufacturers and suppliers of hazardous substances. These groups have 4 years from the above date to update labelling, SDS and packaging for their hazardous substances.

Though in effect, there is no change to the classification system used under the current Health & Safety at Work Act 2015 (HSWA). Regulations under HSWA will continue to refer to the current HSNO classification system, so for those workplaces using (rather than manufacturing or supplying) hazardous substances, there is no change to the existing workplace requirements under the Health & Safety at Work (Hazardous Substances) Regulations 2017.

Storage solutions from Hazero such as our Indoor Dangerous Goods Cabinets will continue to be labelled with the respective HSNO classifications, yet we will be reviewing that over time with a view to update at the right time.

Going forward

Worksafe’s guidance documents and approved codes of practice continue to refer to the current HSNO system. Tools such as their Hazardous Substances Calculator refers to both the HSNO and GHS classifications.

Because the two systems work together, the EPA have created a correlation table that clearly shows the equivalent GHS classifications, to the HSNO classification.

You can find this table 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.

View our full range of Dangerous Goods Stores 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.

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