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ERMA Reviewing Rules For Possessing Explosives

2 February 2009

Media release

ERMA Reviewing Rules For Possessing Explosives

ERMA New Zealand is calling for public submissions on a proposal to bring the requirements for possessing explosives into line with the requirements for possession of firearms, cyanide, and certain other high risk substances.

The proposal would mean that people whose job requires them to possess explosives would need to hold a controlled substances licence (CSL). To obtain a licence, they would have to pass a Police check to show that they are a ‘fit and proper person’, and must be able to demonstrate that they require possession of the explosives for their work.

“The purpose of the proposed change is to contribute to keeping New Zealanders safe by making sure that people who have access to explosives are intending to use them for legitimate purposes,” said ERMA New Zealand’s hazardous substances general manager, Andrea Eng.

“At the moment, people who handle explosives in their job need to have an approved handler test certificate, which ensures they have practical knowledge, experience, skill and understanding of the regulations for using explosives safely.”

“By adding a requirement that the person in the workplace responsible for possessing the explosives holds a controlled substances licence, we will be bringing the rules into line with what is happening internationally. Some parts of the industry have already been carrying out ‘fit and proper person’ checks as a matter of best practice before issuing an approved handler test certificate,” Ms Eng said.

Not everyone who works with explosives would need a licence, providing they work under the direct supervision (within sight and within hearing) of someone with a licence.

Not all explosives would require a licence. Retail fireworks, marine safety flares, safety ammunition and a number of other less hazardous items would be exempt.

Information from the explosives industry, other affected stakeholders, and the public forms an important part of the reassessment process. Interested parties are now asked to make submissions on the proposal, which is available on the ERMA New Zealand website.

People and organisations that make a submission can ask the Environmental Risk Management Authority to hold a public hearing, where they would be able to speak to their submission.

Submissions close on 17 March 2009. They can be made in writing or via the ERMA New Zealand website.

After submissions close, the staff of ERMA New Zealand will consolidate them, and any other additional information, in a report to the Authority. The Authority will consider all the information put before it before making its decision, which is expected to be documented and publically notified within six weeks of the hearing.


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