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Your legal duties

New regulations for Occupational Health and Safety came into effect on 18 June 2017.

The OHS Regulations contain requirements for the control of risks associated with major hazard facilities. These obligations are addressed in Chapter 5 of the regulations.

The OHS Regulations set out criteria for determining whether a facility is a major hazard facility, based on the type and quantity of materials kept.

To do this, the regulations impose specific legal responsibilities on the operatorof a major hazard facility and employers for the safe management or control of the facility.

Visit the operators and employees sections of this guide for details of the specific duties relating to major hazard facilities.

What's new

Emergency plans 

As an operator of a major hazard facility, you now have a duty to provide a copy of the parts of the emergency plan relevant to the off-site consequences of a major incident to municipal councils in the area occupied by the local community.

This ensures municipal councils are able to prepare and respond more quickly in the event of a major incident.

The revised provision also makes clear that you must be able to carry out the emergency plan immediately if a major incident, or an uncontrolled event or incident which could lead to a major incident, occurs.

Safety Case

As an operator of a major hazard facility, you now have more flexibility in providing revised information to WorkSafe following a review of the safety case for your major hazard facility. 

You can now provide WorkSafe with details of the changes made to the safety case, rather than the entire revised safety case. 

You can also still provide the entire revised safety case by choice, and will be required to do so upon a request by WorkSafe.

Determination of Major Hazard Facility

Under the new regulations an operator of a facility that is not yet a major hazard facility is required to notify WorkSafe where materials listed in Schedule 14 are present at the facility in a quantity exceeding 10 per cent of their threshold. 

To reduce confusion about who has to notify, the upper limit on the quantity required for notification has been removed. 

To ensure that this change does not duplicate existing requirements and impose undue burden on operators, the provision makes clear that a person who has already registered (or applied to register) a proposed major hazard facility would not have to provide a notification for the same facility.

Materials at major hazard facilities and their threshold quantities

As an operator of a major hazard facility, you need to be aware of Schedule 14 of the new regulations.

The Schedule reflects improved safety knowledge and aligns terminology with the transition to the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS).

Guidance materials will be developed to ensure major hazard facility operators understand the impact of specific changes to the Schedule.

Refer to the regulations for full details of the schedules.

Matters to be included in major hazard facility emergency plan

As an operator of a major hazard facility, you now have a duty to consider the protection of emergency services personnel when preparing an emergency plan. The new duty has been inserted into Schedule 16 (at 1.6).

This ensures that the potential impact of a major incident on first responders is planned for as part of the preparation and implementation of the facility's emergency plan. 

Requirements in the rest of the Schedule are unchanged.

Additional matters to be included in major hazard facility safety case 

As an operator of a major hazard facility, you no longer have to present demographic information for the local community graphically in your safety case. This will allow more flexibility as to how operators can provide this information.

You now have a duty to provide seismic data in the safety case where it is relevant to the risk of a major incident at a major hazard facility. The likelihood and consequence of a major incident may be affected by the type and nature of any seismic activity posing a risk and it is therefore useful to have this data included in a safety case where it is relevant.

You now also have a duty to provide a summary of any notifiable incidents (i.e. incidents that require notification to WorkSafe under Part 5 of the OHS Act) that have occurred at the major hazard facility in the last five years, in addition to major incidents as shown at Item 10. This is intended to ensure that operators address hazards and risks highlighted by previous incidents, including those that may not fall within the definition of a 'major incident'.

Requirements in the rest of the Schedule are unchanged.

View the regulations