EPA proposed infringement notices effect on agricultural operations

Oct 19, 2023

Epa Agricultural Post

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has recently proposed and consulted on an Infringement Notice Scheme for their enforcement responsibilities for hazardous substances under the HSNO Act.  This is similar to existing infringement notices that WorkSafe can issue under the hazardous substances’ regulations, you can consider these to be similar to tickets (infringement notices) issued by the Police for speeding or using a mobile phone while driving.

The HSNO Act and Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 (HSWA) regulate the use of hazardous substances in New Zealand, including agrichemicals. The proposed scheme could impact any farmers that use agrichemicals if they do not have thorough knowledge of the EPA Notices and HSWA regulations and their obligations.  The EPA regime applies to requirements under the EPA Notices, examples below come from the Hazardous Substances (Hazardous Property Controls) Notice 2017 (aka HPC notice).

The notices apply to all hazardous substances, but some of the potential fines that are particularly relevant to the agricultural sector could include:

HPC Clause 47 Failing to ensure that equipment used for ecotoxic substances meets the requirements of regulation 13.7 of the HSW Hazardous Substances Regulations 2017 – $1,000 fine.


  • Meaning all spray rigs require regular calibration records and records of all maintenance available to all workers handling ecotoxic (as well as toxic or corrosive agrichemicals, as stated in Regulation 13.7 below).
Epa Agricultural Post Equipment

HPC Clause 21(2)   Failing to keep a hazardous substance away from an incompatible substance or material  – $500.

  • All farmers will need to know what chemicals are incompatible with each other and store them separately.

HPC Clause 48(4) Failing to keep the written record of each application of a specified agrichemical for three years  $500 & Clause 48(3) Failing to include all the required information in the record of application of an agrichemical $1,500.

  • Some agrichemicals require records of application to be kept, these records need to be kept for up to three years.
  • You need to know what information needs to be kept, e.g. location of application, rate of application, name of chemical applied, weather conditions at the time of application.


Other issues that could result in a fine include:

  • Insufficient signage for agrichemicals.
  • Spraying above the maximum recommended rate, exceeding the maximum frequency recommended or exceeding the minimum interval time between two applications.
  • Failing to comply with the buffer zone distance set for a substance with an environmental hazard.
  • Spraying in a paddock where bees are foraging or spraying a paddock that are in flower and are likely to have invertebrate pollinators present.
  • Spraying agrichemicals without sufficient relevant qualifications (GrowSafe/Certified Handler) or guidance from a qualified person.


Click below to see how Chemsafety can help you with your hazardous substance requirements.