HSNO Regulations - Certified Handlers

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Certified Handlers (previously Approved Handlers) & Staff training

This is one area of significant change.  There is more of a focus on practical competency and knowledge of specific workplace procedures.

All personnel

A PCBU must ensure that every worker who uses, handles, manufactures, or stores a hazardous substance (including hazardous waste) is, before the worker is allowed to carry out or supervise work involving those substances, provided with information, instruction and training

Information availability

  • Where hazardous substances are at the workplace e.g. chemical inventory, storage & use locations
  • Where to find reference material for safe handling and storage, including, but not limited to safety data sheets


  • Hazards associated with the substances
  • Procedures for safe use, handling, manufacture and storage
  • Safe use of plant and equipment, including PPE
  • Actions to take in an emergency
  • Practical experience in the workplace under supervision.

The PCBU must keep a record of the training and instruction, and provide this information to an inspector or compliance certifier.

Certified handlers

Substances that require a certified handler are

  • Class 1 explosives (with exceptions for some types and quantities of explosives) – see Regulation 9.3
  • 6.1A & 6.1B toxic substances, and any class 6.1 substance that requires a controlled substance licence (CSL)
  • Fumigants

In addition to training and instruction required for all personnel working with hazardous substances, a certified handler will need to know

  • About the substances (classifications, properties, adverse effects)
  • The requirements that are imposed by these regulations & the HSNO Act in relation to those hazardous substances:
  • Any proposed conditions of the person’s compliance certificate as a certified handler:
  • The precautions required to prevent injury or illness to any person at the workplace caused by any of those substances  & procedures to adopt in an emergency involving those substances:
  • Any variations of requirements, alternative means of compliance with requirements, or additional requirements specified in a relevant safe work instrument.
  • Know, and demonstrate a working knowledge of, the procedures and plant (including personal protective equipment) necessary to manage those hazardous substances at the workplace for which the person is to be a certified handler

When it comes time to renew the certificate the applicant must satisfy the certifier that they meet the full competency requirements (unlike the current situation which only requires knowledge of changes).

Don’t forget that there are also training requirements in the HSWA General Risk and Workplace Management regulations (that came into force 4 April 2016) for workers who deal with substances of any kind.