New Zealand EPA Releases New Notices on Hazard Classification, Labelling and SDS

Posted on: September 29, 2017

by Lily Hou, PhD, CHMM

New Zealand’s Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) released eight new notices on hazardous chemicals in September 2017, including the following three Notices on chemical hazard communication:

  • Hazardous Substances (Classification) Notice 2017
  • Hazardous Substances (Labelling) Notice 2017
  • Hazardous Substances (Safety Data Sheets) Notice 2017

Classification, Labelling and Safety Data Sheets for hazardous substance are currently regulated under the Hazardous Substances and New Organisms (HSNO) Act and Regulations. The EPA has replaced the HSNO Regulations that must go through the Cabinet with Notices that are approved by the EPA board so they are able to update the rules in a timely manner.

The EPA Classification Notice supersedes Hazardous Substances (Classification) Regulations 2001 without making changes to the current criteria for hazard classes and categories. The EPA has considered updating the current HSNO classification numbering system to align with the GHS classification categories, but they decided to retain the HSNO numbering system in the final Notice to ensure a timely release of the new Notice and deferred the update to a later date. Chemical companies don’t need to do anything differently for classifications under this new Classification Notice.

The EPA Labelling Notice and the EPA SDS Notice are based on the fifth revised edition of the UN GHS. The labels must include pictograms, signal words, hazard statements and precautionary statements. The SDS adopts the 16 header GHS format. Label elements prescribed in the UN GHS can be used by referring to the correlation table included in the Labeling Notice and SDS Notice. The table provides the equivalent GHS classification for each HSNO classification. Both the GHS classifications and the HSNO classifications are acceptable for Section 2 of the SDS.

Overseas suppliers may use a label and SDS that is prepared in accordance with the GHS requirements of Australia, Canada, the EU, or the USA, in New Zealand, as long as New Zealand specific information, e.g. contact details of the New Zealand importer, is included, and the importer keeps a record of the import for at least 2 years after the substance is no longer available for supply. The HSNO approval number, New Zealand Tolerable Exposure Limit (TEL) or Environmental Exposure Limit (EEL), if applicable, must also be listed in Section 15 of the SDS.

The new rules come into force on December 1, 2017 for new chemical products. For chemical products approved under an existing group standard, the new notices must be complied with by December 1, 2021.

{ Recommended Action Items }

  • Study the newly released EPA Notices and be prepared to follow the new rules for your hazardous substance starting from December 1, 2017.
  • Review your SDS(s) and label(s) to determine if they are in compliance with the Hazardous Substances (Labelling) Notice 2017 and Hazardous Substances (Safety Data Sheets) Notice 2017.


The Notices can be found on New Zealand’s EPA website:

Hazardous Substances (Classification) Notice 2017 

Hazardous Substances (Labelling) Notice 2017

Hazardous Substances (Safety Data Sheets) Notice 2017 



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