Health and Safety

Taking care with materials, equipment and work procedures and dealing with hazards.

Handling hazardous materials

Hazardous materials and wastes from construction or demolition of buildings includes:

  • fluorescent light ballasts manufactured prior to 1978 contain PCBs
  • fluorescent lamps contain mercury
  • refrigeration, air conditioning, and other equipment that contain refrigerants made using CFCs
  • batteries contain lead, mercury and acid
  • paints, solvents and other hazardous fluids
  • asbestos-based materials
  • materials with lead-based finishes.

If you are handling any of these materials, it is important to know and follow the correct procedures and to use appropriate personal protective equipment. Obtain safety data sheets from the producer or supplier. These data sheets give specific information about the care required in storing, using and disposing of a material. You may also need to check the removal and disposal requirements of hazardous materials with your city or district council.

Hazardous substances

The Health and Safety at Work (Hazardous Substances) Regulations 2017 focus on reducing harm from the storage, handling and use of hazardous substances in the workplace. Hazardous substances covered by the regulations such as fuels, solvents, adhesives and so on are common on construction sites.

Worksites need to keep an inventory of the hazardous substances present. You can find more information at WorkSafe New Zealand There is guidance around storing goods safely and preparing for emergencies.


Updated: 23 May 2023