Winter 2015 Newsletter

Team Update

In the last few months we’ve welcomed four new people into the Chemsafety family.  Tony Bird, Steven Streeter, Kurt Blomquist and Alison Irvine.  Tony, Steven and Kurt are new graduate Consultants who are continuing their advanced training  in asbestos collections, air clearance and asbestos surveys.  This brings our team of Consultants to twelve and allows us to improve and expand our consultancy services in asbestos, workplace chemical air quality monitoring and HSNO (hazardous substance) compliance nationwide.

Tony BirdSteven StreeterKurt Blomquist

Alison (Ali) is our new Office Coordinator and, amongst her other duties, will be organising our client training sessions in approved handler, asbestos awareness, chemical awareness and any tailored training you require.

Asbestos Regulation Changes

Mike has been involved in the Asbestos Advisory Group for the revised asbestos regulations that are due to come into force later this year. These new regulations will bring New Zealand up to date with asbestos safety initiatives that have been standard practice in the USA, the UK, and Australia for some years. The new regulations are expected to require significant compliance steps to be undertaken by many commercial building owners and/or occupants.

The Regulations will clarify the requirement for asbestos surveys to be undertaken on commercial buildings, where asbestos is present an asbestos management plan will be required, and staff that may be associated with asbestos (maintenance staff, electricians, etc) must be appropriately trained to ensure their safety around asbestos.

Chemsafety will be providing our clients with a free seminar on the changes and what it means to property owners and asbestos removalists.  More details will follow in our next newsletter but please feel free to register your interest in these seminars with Ali at alison@chemsafety.co.nz.  We would also be happy to discuss how we anticipate the Regulations affecting you, and what steps can be taken to be ahead of the game.  Once the Regulations are adopted it is likely that workload will require significant forward booking for survey and management plan work.

Hazardous Substance Regulation Changes

The upcoming Health and Safety Regulatory changes also impact on the HSNO Act.  In essence the HSNO Act is being split, with all matters relating to workplaces moving into the Health & Safety at Work regime and WorkSafe, and the remainder staying with EPA.  The transition started in September last year with many of the applicable duties being delegated by EPA to WorkSafe.

The HSNO changes will not be introduced when the Health and Safety at Work (HSW) Act is enacted (expected later this year), but will be deferred, with July 2016 the current timeframe.  This will include the Hazardous Substances Regulations under HSW and EPA Notices under HSNO.

We do not currently know full details of what will be changing, at this stage MBIE have already consulted by way of a discussion document

and EPA have consulted on a suite of EPA notices

Keep an eye out for future consultation on proposed regulations to have your say before the rules are set in place.

Consultation on Respirable Quartz/Respirable Crystalline Silica

Worksafe are proposing to lower the WES (Workplace Exposure Standard) by almost a factor of ten.  This may have significant consequences for a score of businesses including mining and quarry operators, through to food and chemical manufacturers using diatomaceous earth.   Where previously a company may have been compliant with the Workplace Exposure Standards (WES), operators may now be exposing workers to well over the WES.  Re-evaluation of exposure will be required. Previous air monitoring investigations are unlikely to have a sufficient detection limit to be meaningful when assessing compliance against the new WES.

Chemsafety is presently investigating the purchase of higher volume sampling cyclones to enable us to measure quartz concentrations for comparison against the proposed WES.

http://www.business.govt.nz/worksafe/about/who-we-work-with/consultation/open-for-consultation/consultation-on-respirable-quartz-respirable-crystalline-silica

EPA Consultation – 2012-2014 Chemical Review

EPA is currently consulting (close date 28 July 2015) on a reassessment of a range of substances for which new information has become available.  Changes resulting from the reassessments of Organophosphate & Carbamate pesticides and of Antifouling Paints are also included.

Examples of some of the changes proposed are:

  • Xylene – standardisation of Class 3.1C for various isomers, and for dilutions above 25%
  • Calcium nitrate – removal of Class 5.1.1C for the tetrahydrate salt and dilutions above 25%, and increase from 6.1D to 6.1C with resulting requirement for an Approved Handler
  • Glutaraldehyde – change in the 6.1 toxic by inhalation classification across the full range of dilutions
  • Phosphoric acid – changes in the dilution ranges and associated classifications

http://www.epa.govt.nz/consultations/hazardous-substances/Pages/Submissions-sought-on-Chemical-Review-2012-2014.aspx

Respirator Fit Testing

Chemsafety is now able to offer qualitative fit testing of half face respiratory equipment.  Fit Tests should be carried out when a new mask is purchased and at least annually thereafter to ensure the mask is fitting correctly and providing the level of protection you expect.  Tests can be booked through info@chemsafety.co.nz or give Chrissy a call on 0800 366 370 to arrange a time.