University of Otago, New Zealand


Te Tari Hua-Ruanuku

HAZA404 - Environmental Risk Assessment & Management


HAZA 404 Environmental Risk Assessment and Management is a 20-point, paper available in semester two.  

This course is taught by means of case studies, looking at the procedures and the role of the chemical consultant in environmental risk management plus monitoring and statutory management of effluents and discharges.


An undergraduate degree or appropriate qualification.

Course Structure

The Course is divided into six modules. The first three of these progressively introduce background concepts and knowledge in a coherent manner, with appropriate assessment. The next two modules focus on Case studies, the second of which concerns more global issues associated with sustainable energy sources. Within many modules you will find a number of LINKS which cover related, remedial or background material, and self-test exercises with answers. 

The six modules are:

1. Risk and risk management; the Material Safety Data Sheet; information sources; permissible exposure levels.

2. Legislation (Resource Management, Hazardous Substances and New Organisms (HSNO) and related Acts and their interactions; regulatory authorities; HSNO thresholds and classifications.

3. HSNO Controls regulations; emergency management, disposal; examples of environmental risk management.

4. Case Study No. 1

5. Case Study No. 2

6. Field Exercise.

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

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge: Students will learn of the natures of hazardous substances, their classification and regulatory controls and standards to which they are subject. They will acquire knowledge of the principles of risk assessment and management of hazardous substances, the environmental issues associated with disposal of waste in a landfill and with the increasing implementation of sustainable energy sources.

Skills:  Students will develop the ability to recognise or predict the likely consequences of any chemical activity, to devise plans to mitigate any hazardous consequences, to extract relevant information from databases, and subject that data to critical assessment. 

Understanding:  Students will obtain a deeper scientific understanding of what constitutes an environmental hazard, and of the principles and practices that guide the identification, assessment, prevention and remediation of physical, chemical and biological hazards impacting on today’s society.

Ethical and Social:  It is important to be able to place in a modern context the various legal, ethical and societal concerns that arise from the effects of chemicals and sustainable energy practices on the environment.  The way the course is structured to promote self-learning strategies should make students better prepared to recognise and implement 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

Teaching Fellow: Casey Davies 

Course Coordinator

Casey Davies
Casey Davies
Tel: +64  3  479 5248
Location: Science I, 101a