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Major Hazard Facilities

Major Hazard Facilities (MHFs) are sites that store, handle and process large quantities of hazardous chemicals and dangerous goods, including explosives that exceed specified threshold quantities. Examples include:

  • chemical manufacturing
  • gas processing plants
  • LPG storage and distribution facilities
  • Some warehouses and transport depots.

Risk

  • explosion/ fire or chemical release impacting on surrounding areas

Remedy

Dependant on the context and conditions, but may include for example:

  • Mandatory licensing of MHF
  • Requirement to notify Comcare of specified quantities of chemicals (Schedule 15 of the WHS regulations)

Some examples of MHF notification thresholds are set out in the table below.

Hazardous chemicalThreshold quantityNotification quantity

Petrol
(This is a hazardous chemical which is described as Flammable Liquid, that meets the criteria for Class 3 Packing Group II or III, under Table 15.2 in Schedule 15)

50,000 tonnes

5,000 tonnes or more

Ammonium Nitrate (UN 1942)

2,500 tonnes

250 tonnes or more

Sodium Cyanide
(This is a hazardous chemical which meets the criteria for very toxic under Table 15.3 in Schedule 15)

20 tonnes

2 tonnes or more

LP Gas (UN 1011, 1012, 1075, 1978 and 1077)

200 tonnes

20 tonnes or more

Chlorine (UN 1017)

25 tonnes

2.5 tonnes or more

Determination and licensing

MHF licensing is mandatory for a facility where Schedule 15 chemicals are present or likely to be present in a quantity that exceeds their threshold quantity. Licensing is mandatory where Schedule 15 chemicals—present or likely to be present—at the facility exceed 10 per cent of their threshold quantity but not the threshold quantity and Comcare has determined the facility to be a MHF.

The circumstances in which Comcare may determine a facility to be a MHF include:

  • the quantity and combination of the Schedule 15 chemicals
  • the type of activity at the facility involving the chemicals
  • land use and other activities in the surrounding area.

Requirements for operators of MHFs include, but are not limited to:

  • identification of all major incidents that could occur
  • identification of major incident hazards
  • preparation of a safety assessment
  • implementing control measures to eliminate the risk of major incidents so far as reasonably practicable, or to minimise the risk if it is not reasonably practicable to eliminate the risk
  • establishing and implementing a safety management system
  • preparation and testing of an emergency plan
  • preparation, assessment, submission and review of a safety case
  • review of risk management.

Resources

Information SourceContents
 Major Hazard Facility – Guidance on completion of annual reportThe purpose of this guidance note is to outline what information and level of detail Comcare require within each annual report on the performance of the facility's Safety Management System (SMS) and the facility's ability to continue operating safely.

Code of Practice - How to Manage Work Health and Safety Risks

This code provides practical guidance for persons who have duties under the WHS Act and Regulations to manage risks to health and safety

Major Hazard Facilities - Chapter 9 of the Work Health and Safety Regulations 2011

Specific information on regulatory information relating to managing risks for major hazard facilities

Comcare - Licence application form

Application form used to apply for a licence to store, handle or process large chemicals in a Major Hazard Facility

Safe Work Australia - Notification and determination

Information on notifying and determining threshold quantities amongst other things associated with Major Hazard Facilities

Safe Work Australia - Information, training and instruction for workers and other persons at the facility

Information relating to training and instruction for workers and others  involved with chemicals in Major Hazard Facilities

Safe Work Australia - Safety assessment

Information relating to safety assessments for Major Hazard Facilities

Safe Work Australia - Emergency plans

Information relating to the preparation, implementation and testing of an emergency plan

Safe Work Australia - Providing information to the community

Information relating to the responsibilities of providing information regarding

Safe Work Australia - Safety management systems

Information relating to best practice systems concerning major hazard facilities

Safe Work Australia - Developing a safety case outline

Information regarding the development of business cases for managing safety for Major hazard Facilities

Safe Work Australia - Preparation of a safety case

Information regarding the preparation of business cases for managing safety for Major hazard Facilities

Safe Work Australia - Safety case: Demonstrating the adequacy of safety management and control measure

Information regarding the most efficient approach to marketing business cases for managing safety within Major Hazard Facilities

Notifications

Information sourceWhat it contains

Incident notification - Part 3, Section 35 to 37 of the Work, Health and Safety Act 2011

The legislative requirements for incident notification to Comcare

Comcare - Guide to incident notification

Helps you decide whether you need to notify Comcare of an injury, illness or dangerous incident under the WHS Act

Comcare - Notification Form

Form for notifying Comcare if a facility controls Schedule 15 materials greater than 10% threshold quantity.

Page last updated: 08 May 2017