If you have, then the information on this page will give you some best practice advice on how to store agrichemicals safely.
The Resource Management Act 1991 makes it illegal to discharge any contaminants into water, either directly or through land contamination, without a resource consent (unless this is permitted by a rule in a regional plan). Therefore any spills or leaks from your agrichemical store that get into soil or water could cause an offence under the RMA and could result in heavy fines.
The Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act 1996 puts in place controls on storage of hazardous substances including requirements for:
Most of the agrichemicals used on your farm will be hazardous substances, so you will need to become familiar with HSNO requirements.
The advice provided on this page is consistent with HSNO controls, but you should check with other information sources such as the label, Safety Data Sheets, your supplier, or ERMA to make sure you are meeting HSNO requirements for the specific agrichemicals that you store (see the further information section near the bottom of this page).
The Health Safety and Employment Act 1992 places a responsibility on employers to identify hazards, then eliminate, isolate or minimise the hazard.
Storage of agrichemicals may present a hazard (e.g. human exposure to fumes in the store), so the hazard must be eliminated (e.g. by ventilating the store).
Your chemical storage area should be sited away from:
Your chemical store should be:
Where flammable substances are stored, the store may be considered a "hazardous substance location" under the HSNO Regulations. Specific fire ratings apply and a fire extinguisher will be required. A "hazardous substances location" is like the old dangerous goods store and requires a hazardous substances test certificate. Check with your supplier or the information sources listed near the bottom of this page to make sure you are meeting HSNO requirements.
Secondary containment means a system that will contain any spills from the primary container (e.g. the can of agrichemical). It has always been the best practice approach to have some form of secondary containment around storage areas.
HSNO now makes it a legal requirement for the amount of agrichemical stored not to exceed set quantities. It is likely that most of the agrichemicals used on your farm will be either toxic or ecotoxic, so under HSNO if there is more than 100 litres being stored, then some form of secondary containment is required.
HSNO regulations specify the capacity of the secondary containment system, and this varies depending on the individual container size and the total volume stored. As a rule of thumb, for small scale on-farm storage, secondary containment should be large enough to contain 110 % of the total volume of liquid stored. To meet the specific HSNO requirements, refer to the information sources listed near the bottom of this page.
Bunding is a way to achieve secondary containment. A common way of bunding a concrete floor is to form a hump around the edges of the storage area. Other methods of providing secondary containment include storing:
Whatever material is used to provide secondary containment, it must be impervious to, and compatible with the chemicals being stored. Further information on secondary containment can be found in NZS8409:2004 Management of Agrichemicals.
Where you place chemicals within the store can reduce the risk of spills and accidents.
You should store:
Some products must be segregated in the storage areas. Keep insecticides and fungicides away from herbicides, drenches away from dips and fumigants away from other chemicals. Your chemical supplier should be able to provide you with information on chemical compatibility.
Always store the following substances in a separate building from agrichemicals:
Packaging of a chemical acts as the first line of defence against spills and leaks. As part of the maintenance of your storage area, you should regularly check the following:
The label on an agrichemical container has useful information on storage and handling. HSNO requires that every agrichemical must have a label and this should include either the schedule heading (e.g. Poison), or the correct pictogram for the chemical. Usually, for agrichemicals these will be class 6 (Toxic) and class 9 (Ecotoxic).
If old labels deteriorate or fall off, put on new labels. If you can't get a replacement label, make sure the identification is as permanent as possible. For example:
Other information sources for each agrichemical are:
HSNO Emergency Management Regulations require that an accurate record of what is in the store must be kept and that this information must be available within 10 minutes.
HSNO has tracking requirements for certain substances which means further record keeping including: quantity, location, the identity of the approved handler (if one is required) and how the substance was disposed of.
A manifest, which is a complete list of all the hazardous substances held in store, is a useful tool for maintaining records. Quantities coming in and out of the store should be recorded to ensure that the manifest is kept up to date.
Any records of chemicals stored should always be kept in a safe place away from the storage shed. For detailed information on how to maintain a manifest, refer to NZS8409:2004 Management of Agrichemicals.
There is always a risk of an accident when you use or handle chemicals. The potential harmful effects of a chemical spill can be greatly reduced by having the correct equipment on hand and using it effectively.
Make sure that anyone on your property that uses chemicals knows what to do in an emergency. A simple procedure sheet on the wall of the store can help. This should include all the relevant emergency phone numbers.
For a small chemical store, you should have:
Contact your city or district council to find out where it can be safely disposed of.
Code of Practice for Management of Agrichemicals
NZS8409:2004 Management of Agrichemicals is the main source of information for safe responsible and effective agrichemical use. You can get a copy from Standards New Zealand. See http://www.standards.co.nz/ or call 0800 STANDARDS.
GROWSAFE® courses are based on the NZS 8409: 2004. Standard. Those using agricultural chemicals should attain the GROWSAFE® Introductory Certificate. Those who have the responsibility to manage and direct the use of agrichemicals including the store should hold the GROWSAFE® Applied Certificate. See http://www.growsafe.co.nz/ for details of these courses or call 0800 GROWSAFE.
Hazardous Substance and New Organism legislation
The Environmental Risk Management Authority (ERMA) is an autonomous body established under the HSNO Act. Information on the HSNO Act, regulations, policy and administration can be obtained from ERMA. This is a dedicated HSNO website which explains how HSNO works and who is effected. The website also has information about all the various agencies that manage different aspects of the Act, including links to their websites.
(03) 353 9007
0800 324 636 (EC INFO)
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