University of Otago, New Zealand


Te Tari Hua-Ruanuku

HAZA401 - Management of Chemical Hazards


HAZA 401 Management of Chemical Hazards is a 20-point, paper available in semester one.

The course is divided into a series of modules.  These will progressively introduce concepts and knowledge in a coherent manner with assessment at appropriate milestones.  The final module will be a case study that will utilise all of the material.

The modules for the course are:

  1. Review of National and International Chemical Incidents.
    The recognition of risk with chemical hazards arising from the Parnell and ICI incidents; recent incidents from overseas;
  2. Material Safety Data Sheets.
    Contents, usage and preparation.
  3. Chemical Hazards
    Definition, energy changes, reaction rates, catalysts, flammability and combustibility, fires and the fire tetrahedron.
  4. Toxicology
    Physiological basis, LD50. How do poisons get into the body and what do they do? Psychological stress, types of poison (chronic, corrosive etc). 
  5. Legislation Dangerous Goods Act, Health and Safety in Employment Act.
    The HSNO Legislation; administrative procedures, health and safety, storage of chemicals, UN labelling system for hazardous materials, workplace exposure standards.
  6. Management of Hazardous Compounds
    Safe handling and disposal, transportation, workplace and Emergency Services. HSTLC's national Poisons Centre and the Emergency Services - Fire, Police, Local Bodies and how hospitals function in an emergency.
  7. Special Topic with corresponding case study of chemical incident. There are two assignments to finish to course. the first is a summary of a report completed on an incident which has occurred and the second is writing your own report on an incident.

More information about the Hazard Assessment and Management programme can be found at


A scientific degree or experience in a relevant field.

Course Outline

The course is divided into a series of modules. These will progressively introduce concepts and knowledge in a coherent manner with assessment at appropriate milestones. The final module will be a Case Study that will utilise all the material.

For each module read the text, consult the recommended audio-visual and electronic material and relate these to the text. The self-assessments are meant to test and reinforce your understanding of the theory. Then complete the exercises. When you believe that your understanding is sufficient submit the assignment(s).

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge: Students will learn of the important properties of chemicals that determine their hazard classification and the concepts, legislative principles and societal issues arising from the use of chemicals and management of chemical hazards.

Skills: Students will develop the ability to recognise and consequences of chemical hazards, to access and extract relevant information from databases, to propose alternate strategies for storing and handling hazards and dealing with the public.

Attitudes: The course will assist people to encourage legal, safety and public awareness attitudes to the handling of chemical hazards.

Understanding: Students will develop a deeper scientific understanding about what constitutes a hazard, of the interactions of a particular hazard with other hazards and the environment, and be better prepared to recognise and implement various strategies to resolve risk.

Ethical and Social: Students will be able to place in a modern context the legal, ethical and social concerns arising from the use of chemicals. Because of the critique and self-learning format students will be better prepared to recognise and implement a variety of strategies to resolve risk.

Graduate Attributes

Global perspective, communication, environmental literary, teamwork, interdisciplinary perspective, critical thinking, information literacy, lifelong learning, cultural understanding, research, ethics, self-motivation

Teaching Staff

Course Coordinator: Prof. Lyall Hanton 

Teaching Fellow: Casey Davies 

Course Coordinator

Professor Lyall R. Hanton
Professor Lyall R. Hanton
Tel: +64  3  479 7918
Location: Science II, Gc7