Best Practice in Chemical use and Labelling for Cleaning Companies
Chemical safety is governed in New Zealand by the HAZARDOUS SUBSTANCES AND NEW ORGANISMS ACT 1996 (HSNO). The Department of Labour’s role is to ensure that the HSNO Act is complied with in places of work.
The Health and Safety Act in Employment requires employers to eliminate, isolate and minimise all hazards in the workplace. Hazardous substances within the workplace can, by definition, cause harm, and the Department uses the same approach in enforcing the HSNO Act as in enforcing the HSE Act.
HSNO provides a system of coding harmful products so their affects on humans can be simply articulated to users. The system provides for use of graphic warning symbols to make it easier for users to see the danger at a glance, and to assist with users who cannot read or are not proficient in English.
Best practice cleaning companies will have only chemical bottles with HSNO compliant labels clearly describing the bottle contents and displaying all relevant warning labels and medical advice. No equipment or chemicals should be stored on customers’ premises. The exception would be the controlled use of a “cleaners cupboard” that is locked.
Personnel should be trained in the correct handling and use of chemicals, and they should be issued with personal protective equipment, (gloves and eye protection) for use when decanting chemicals.