Frequently Asked Questions

Certificates - Administration

I completed my course successfully but haven't received my certificate(s)

Certificates usually take about two weeks to be issued after course requirements have been completed. If you have not received your certificate(s), contact your Trainer first to check that you successfully completed all the requirements of the course and that your results have been submitted for processing.

I've lost my GROWSAFE certificate, how can I get a new one? I can't remember my GROWSAFE certificate number, how can I find it out?

Email your details (full name and date of birth) to or ring our database manager on 04 381 7824 and leave your details.  You will be sent a pdf of your certificate for no cost.

How long is a certificate valid?

A certificate is valid for 5 years.

Types of certificates

What is the difference between a GROWSAFE Basic certificate and a GROWSAFE Standard certificate and how do these compare to the GROWSAFE Introductory certificate?

A GROWSAFE Basic certificate is for first-time users and people operating under supervision whereas the Standard certificate is for those who have responsibility for a workplace and/or staff. We recommend that all staff using agrichemicals do at least the Basic course and that at least one person per workplace hold a Standard certificate. The Introductory certificate was withdrawn on 31 December 2017 and replaced by the Basic and Standard certificates. Whilst the content of the Standard certificate is similar to that of the Introductory course, the assessment requirements are more challenging. If you have an Introductory certificate, you can choose to renew at either the Basic or Standard level.

What is the difference between a GROWSAFE certificate and a Certified Handler certificate?

Certified Handler certification is managed by WorkSafe and certificates are issued by Test Certifiers.  GROWSAFE certificates are issued by the New Zealand Agrichemical Education Trust (NZAET) and are recognised by most industry and regulatory organisations such as EPA, regional councils, quality assurances schemes and export organisations.

Do I need a Certified Handler certificate?

It is a legal requirement for highly toxic (class 6.1A and 6.1B)  substances to be under the control of a Certified Handler.  Other people can handle these agrichemicals if they are instructed and under the supervision of a Certified Handler.   Full details are set out in our online manual.

Why should I get a GROWSAFE certificate?

Agrichemicals are an important part of our production systems, but we are increasingly being questioned about the use of agrichemicals on food, and in the environment. If we want to maintain the ability to use agrichemicals in a practical way, then we all need to do our bit to illustrate that we are using them in a safe and responsible manner. It is one thing to have confidence in your own skills and experience, but these days you require proof. A GROWSAFE Certificate is credible evidence for your customers, and the authorities, that you are meeting your obligations, and understand and use agrichemicals in a responsible and professional way.

GROWSAFE certificates are one way to meet the requirements of the EPA for the use of highly ecotoxic substances.  Full details are set out in our online manual.  In addition, many regional councils require commercial users of agrichemicals to hold GROWSAFE certificates. The RMA/Regional plan section of our Resources page provides details of the requirements in each region. Even if a plan doesn't specifically require GROWSAFE certification, it is likely to require compliance with NZS8409: Management of Agrichemicals. A GROWSAFE course will provide you with the information you need.

Can I arrange an in-house GROWSAFE course for my staff?

If you have a number of staff who need to do a GROWSAFE course, an in-house course is recommended.  The on-site training can be tailored to your operation and can help you to meet your obligations to train staff in workplace procedures and the specific agrichemicals your staff use.  Contact one or more GROWSAFE accredited Trainers near you to discuss the options and price.

How much does it cost to attend a GROWSAFE course?

The cost of GROWSAFE courses is set by the trainer/provider delivering the course. Contact trainers in your area to find out what they charge. As a guide, a Standard course is around $350 - $480 + GST; and a renewal course is $250 - $350 + GST. There may be an additional charge for Certified Handler or unit standards (if available).


Approved Handler certificates

I've lost my Approved Handler certificate, how can I get a new one?

Approved Handler certificates are issued by Test Certifiers (not GROWSAFE). If you can remember the name of your Test Certifier, contact them for a replacement certificate. Your GROWSAFE Trainer will know the name of your Test Certifier (or may also be your Test Certifier). There is also a list of current Test Certifiers on the EPA website. If you renewed online prior to February 2015, then your Test Certifier is Colin Spence (  If you renewed online from February 2015, then email us at and we will be able to provide a copy of your certificate. If you cannot identify your Test Certifier, then ring WorkSafe on 0800 376 234 or email and they will look up your details in their database.  You need to provide your full name and contact address.  (Note: WorkSafe has taken over responsibility for the Approved Handler system from EPA but some information is still found on the EPA website.



How much does it cost to attend a GROWSAFE Recertification course?

The cost of GROWSAFE courses is set by the trainer/provider delivering the course. Contact trainers in your area to find out what they charge. As a guide, a renewal course is $250 - $350 + GST. There may be an additional charge for a Certified Handler certificate.

I'm having problems renewing my certificate online, who should I ring?

First refer to the information on online renewal. If you still have queries, please call us on 0508 476 9723 or email us at

Can I renew my certificate if it has expired?

Our policy is that you can renew your certificate if is less than 6 months overdue. Otherwise, you must attend the initial course.


What is NZS8409?

In conjunction with Standards New Zealand, the NZ Agrichemical Education Trust published NZS8409:2004 Management of Agrichemicals. This Standard is the base reference resource for agrichemical users and suppliers and underpins all GROWSAFE training programmes. It is approved by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as a Code of Practice under the provisions of the Hazardous Substances and New Organisms (HSNO) Act 1996. The Standard is also approved by the Agriculture Compounds and Veterinary Medicines Group at the NZ Food Safety Authority under section 28 of the ACVM Act 1997.

Why hasn't NZS8409 been updated since 2004? When is it due to be updated?

NZS8409, the Code of Practice for the Management of Agrichemicals is about to be reviewed (late 2017 to 2018).  The regulatory changes in 2017 have led to a need for a full review - technical updates will also be covered in the review.  If you have any feedback or suggestions for changes to NZS8409 or you would like to be involved in its review, please contact us at

Where can I get a copy of NZS8409?

Email us on or phone 0508 GROWSAFE to order a copy of NZS8409.



I am a retailer selling agrichemicals. Do I need a GROWSAFE certificate? Or Certified Handler?

There are no requirements under the RMA for Suppliers of agrichemicals and you do not need a GROWSAFE certificate. However, there is a recommended qualification for retailers called GROWSAFE Supplier which is a higher level certification. Under the HSW Act, class 6.1A and 6.1B substances must be under the control of a Certified Handler. This certificate needs to cover the classes and quantities of hazardous goods found in the retail store, which may include agrichemicals, oxidisers, flammable products. It also needs to cover the appropriate lifecycles eg Storage. It does not need to cover Use.

Note: the GROWSAFE Standard course covers the knowledge requirements for Certified Handler for agrichemicals but not for other classes of hazardous goods and not for large quantities so may not be appropriate to your needs. However, the Standard certificate is a prerequisite for the GROWSAFE Supplier certificate so a good place to start training. Under the HSW Act, you may also need a Location Test Certificate if you store large quantities of Class 2 or 3 flammable product. Not many agrichemicals are Class 2 or 3, but other products in a rural retail store may be.

My neighbour is spraying and I am concerned about spraydrift onto my property. What should I do?

In the first instance you should contact the neighbour and discuss the problem. If this does not lead to resolution of the issue, contact the Incident Response Manager at your regional council. All regional plans require the sprayer to ensure either that there is no spraydrift or at least there are no adverse effects from spraydrift. If you believe there has been a spraydrift, you need to collect evidence such as photos or video of the spraying activities, photos of any negative impact, records of weather such as photo of windsock or anenometer reading. You may also wish to take samples from plants that have been affected and keep them in airtight bags for possible future analysis.

Can I get recognition for a certificate in agrichemical use gained overseas?

Unfortunately we are unable to recognise certificates gained overseas. While there will be some overlap in content such as practical skills, there is also a significant gap in content. The GROWSAFE certificate includes understanding of New Zealand legislation, regulation and Code of Practice. Understanding the responsibilities of agrichemical users under this legislative framework is a key part of the GROWSAFE course.