Become a Compliance Certifier

Hazardous Substances Compliance Certifiers Workforce Initiative

Looking for a job that protects the environment and the lives of all New Zealanders?

Incorrect handling, storage of or exposure to hazardous substances can lead to serious adverse outcomes for the environment, and people’s health and safety.

New Zealand needs more people to qualify as Hazardous Substance Compliance Certifiers to meet current and future industry demands.

We can help you qualify as a Hazardous Substances Compliance Certifier.

Hazardous Substances Compliance Certifiers:

  • issue compliance certificates confirming workplaces, workers, or equipment comply with Health and Safety (Hazardous Substances) 2017 Regulations
  • are qualified professionals, authorised by WorkSafe.


What is the job really like?   

No two days will be the same as a Hazardous Substances Compliance Certifier. You’ll get to meet lots of different people and travel to different locations. Within any week you can expect to be doing a whole range of tasks

  • spending time in different workplaces and observing a variety of sites
  • talking with people about an extremely wide spectrum of topics including safety and business
  • analysing reports, collating documentation, assessing the results of site inspections
  • recommending suitability towards certification
  • preparing and writing reports for clients often with a deadline
  • liaising with industry and regulators in their understanding of Hazardous Substance compliance
  • be a part of keeping key industries certified and operating


Some FAQs:

What products or chemicals do Hazardous Substances Compliance Certifiers deal with?

Products or chemicals that:

  • can explode
  • are flammable
  • toxic to people
  • are corrosive
  • are environmentally toxic.


What are some commonly used hazardous substances?

Commonly used hazardous substances and products include soaps, cleaners, acids, glues, disinfectants, fuels, dusts, cosmetics, petroleum, heavy metals and solvents. 

What about workplaces?

Unfortunately, between 600-900 people in New Zealand die prematurely each year from work place-related disease from exposure to hazardous substances.[1]

Employers are required to manage the storage and handling of workplace hazardous substances and to protect workers, workplace visitors, and people close by.

What about legal requirements?

Part of a Compliance Certifier’s role is to ensure workplaces meet their legal requirements around hazardous substances by:

  • creating and maintaining an inventory of hazardous substances handled at a workplace
  • maintaining a safety data sheet
  • ensuring correct controls, processes and procedures in place when hazardous substances are stored
  • ensuring people handling hazardous substances are appropriately trained
  • ensuring appropriate protective equipment has been provided to staff
  • ensuring staff are using the protective equipment provided.


What personal and other skills would I need to become a Hazardous Substances Compliance Certifier?

  • Ability to communicate well: you’d be working with, and explaining sometimes complex information to, a range of different people and types of organisations, so the ability to relate to people easily, as well as flexibility and adaptability are key.
  • Be an expert on the regulations: there’s a lot of laws associated with hazardous substances so you would need good memory skills and a good eye for detail.
  • Written skills:  report writing is a key skill, as well as an ability to meet deadlines.
  • Strong ethics, strongly trustworthy: you’d be dealing with complex hazardous substances so a good character and someone who cares for the well-being of others is essential.
  • Existing skill base:  – it’s not essential, but being already skilled in a trade or academic field would add value and complement a Compliance Certifier’s work.  A background in plumbing, gas fitting, electrical, engineering and construction are useful. Other useful fields of work are auditing, investigation and education.
  • Be keen to develop: you’d mainly develop knowledge by training on the job and interactions with a current and experienced compliance certifier.  Knowledge can also be gained through science based or a similar course in a similar manner to a science, engineering or trade professional.


What qualifications do I need to have become a Hazardous Substances Compliance Certifier? 

Step 1: to start you need to have a good grasp of English, mathematics and science at a basic level at secondary school and enjoy learning these topics.

Step 2: obtaining an undergraduate degree in science, mathematics or in engineering is typically the next step. If you don’t have an undergraduate degree you need to be able to demonstrate suitable substantive workforce experience like having an existing skill in a trade.

Step 3: The next step is becoming a trainee which usually involves becoming employed by a company. You will do both office and site work alongside an existing Hazardous Substance practitioner such as Scientists, Engineers or advanced Trades.

The final step is being assessed by the government’s regulatory authority WorkSafe NZ. You will be asked questions with assistance from professional bodies.

What career and education pathways are available?

Generally, it takes around three years training to become an independent compliance site certifier.

Once you are a qualified compliance certifier there are some interesting new education pathways you can take to further your expertise and interest in hazardous substances.

HASANZ in-conjunction with HSPNZ, NZIHSM, Skills Organisation and Massey University, with support of WorkSafe are developing a hazardous substances training programme. This programme is the start of a learning pathway for Compliance Certifiers. It is also available to those who wish to develop their hazardous substance knowledge for their workplace or professional development.

The first part of the programme is undertaking two papers at Massey University:

251.272 - Occupational Health and Safety 2 is available with a hazardous substance focus. Apply from Semester 2, June 2021.

250.318 - Special Topic - Hazardous Substances Compliance Certifier -  available to apply from January 2022.

This course of learning is a great opportunity to develop hazardous substance management understanding, along with an appreciation of the requirements of Compliance Certifiers.

Please contact Assoc Prof Ian Laird I.S.Laird@massey.ac.nz if you are interested in attending these courses.

There are more specialised courses in the pipeline available in the future which builds on the Massey University papers,

How can I find out more information about becoming a Hazardous Substances Compliance Certifier??

Email office@nzihsm.org.nz or info@hspnz.co.nz  

Find out more about the Hazardous Substances Certifiers Initiative in general at Health and Safety Association NZ.

Find out more about what is involved in becoming a Hazardous Substances Compliance Certifier by viewing the following videos: