Safety and health


Timber treatments generally consist of chemicals that need to be handled safely and appropriately. Important measures to take when using treated timber, especially hazard classes H3 and above, are:

  • reduce contact by wearing gloves, goggles and a dust mask
  • don't burn off-cuts or cook with them
  • dispose of waste in an approved landfill
  • wash your hands before using the toilet, smoking or eating
  • wash work clothes separately
  • ventilate work spaces as much as you can
  • working with solvent-damp timber is not advised, solvent-damp timber should be allowed to properly dry off before use.

Note: Boron has been used commercially as a timber preservative in New Zealand since the 1950s, with no known health issues for timber users or building inhabitants.


This information is published by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s Chief Executive. It is a general guide only and, if used, does not relieve any person of the obligation to consider any matter to which the information relates according to the circumstances of the particular case. Expert advice may be required in specific circumstances. Where this information relates to assisting people: