As a board one of your health and safety responsibilities is to protect people at your school from being harmed by hazardous substances. These people include students, employees and anyone coming onto the school site.
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The Health and Safety at Work (Hazardous Substances) Regulations 2017 governs the rules that the PCBU (Board, Proprietor and Principal) must follow to protect their school’s students, staff and visitors from being harmed by hazardous substances. Common hazardous substances at school include bleach, diesel, and aerosols to name a few. Schools need to have proper procedures in place to ensure the safety of their students, staff and any visitors.
Under the Health and Safety at Work (Hazardous Substances) Regulations(external link), a hazardous substance is any substance that has one or more of the following properties above specified levels:
Hazardous substances can have more than one hazardous property. For example, methylated spirits and petrol are flammable and toxic.
There are some Hazardous substances(external link) that are commonly found on school sites. These include:
School Boards have a responsibility to protect people at their schools from being harmed by hazardous substances, as per health, safety and wellbeing requirements.
WorkSafe has developed a Hazardous Substances Toolbox(external link) which has clear steps and up-to-date information about how to manage hazards on your site appropriately.
You will also find detailed information about how to manage hazardous substances on the WorkSafe website(external link).
It is also your source for codes of practice for specific hazardous substances, and general information about the regulatory regime.
The New Zealand Association of Science Educators (NZASE) has developed the following document: Guidance for Aotearoa New Zealand Schools and Kura (Safety and Science/Putaiao)(external link) [PDF, 3MB]. The document provides information on safety protocols and minimising hazards in school laboratories and will help you meet your obligations under the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015.
This replaces Safety and Science: A Guidance Manual for New Zealand Schools (Ministry of Education, 2000), Code of Practice for School Exempt Laboratories (The Environmental Risk Management Authority [ERMA], 2007), Guidance to the Code of Practice for School Exempt Laboratories (Ministry of Education, 2016).
This comprehensive document covers:
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