New Zealand has implemented a new classification system for hazardous substances based on the seventh revised edition of the Globally Harmonised System (GHS 7).

The GHS 7 is an international hazard classification system for chemicals created by the United Nations. The hazards are communicated on labels and safety data sheets including how to safely store, use and dispose of chemicals.

The GHS is used by more than 50 countries, including all of New Zealand’s major trading partners.

We adopted the GHS 7 on 30 April 2021.

What you need to know

  • Updated EPA notices explain the new product labelling, safety data sheet and packaging requirements. You’re encouraged to comply with the new requirements sooner rather than later.
  • Substances with an individual approval issued after 30 April 2021 must comply with these three notices immediately.
  • Individual approvals issued before 30 April 2021 have a four-year transitional period, through to 30 April 2025, to comply with the updated labelling, safety data sheets and packaging notices.
  • Substances managed under a group standard must also comply with the labelling, safety data sheet and packaging notices by 30 April 2025, regardless of when the substance was imported into or manufactured in New Zealand.

Read the EPA Labelling, Safety Data Sheet and Packaging Notices

What happens to my current approval

  • You will need to check what approval your substance is assigned to, especially for individual approvals, as some have changed and some no longer exist. We have revoked more than 5,000 individual approvals as they can be managed under one or more group standards.
  • While most group standards have the same scope as the previous group standards a very small number, such as those for aerosols, have changed. Check the group standard that is currently assigned to your substance to ensure it is still appropriate.
  • If the individual approval you use has been revoked, we’ve suggested a group standard your substance may fit into. However, it’s possible another group standard may be a better fit and you should check this.
  • You must also ensure your self-assignment records are up to date as soon as possible after 30 April 2021.
  • We have not changed HSNO approval numbers so you do not need to update these.

More information, including the new approval documents, can be found at the following page:

Hazardous substance approvals

Read more about the rules, including timeframes to comply 

Go to the Group Standards 2020

Where to find more information

We are working on more advice on assigning substance and other requirements, in the meantime, the UNECE website has a lot of relevant advice:

Advice to assign GHS 7 classifications, and labelling requirements – United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) website

We are updating databases to display the new hazard classifications and controls. Until we have completed this work, some information about the approval status, hazard classification and controls of hazardous substances in our databases may not be correct. For up to date information, go to:

Hazardous substance approvals

We have published a correlation table that maps the new hazard classifications to the old alpha-numeric codes used under the previous hazard classification system, available as both a web version and PDF.

HSNO hazard classifications (web version)

HSNO to GHS7 Correlation table (PDF, 241KB)

Public consultation 

We held public consultations to give people a chance to have their say on changes to the hazardous substance classification system, and the updated EPA notices. 

GHS 7 Consultation 1

GHS 7 Consultation 2