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Major hazard facilities

For: Employers and managers Information seekers

Australian Government agencies and statutory authorities, and self-insured licensees, must follow requirements for major hazard facilities. This includes notification and licensing.


Major hazard facilities explained

Major hazard facilities are sites that store, handle and process large quantities of hazardous chemicals and dangerous goods. This includes explosives that exceed allowed limits.

Common examples of major hazard facilities

  • Chemical manufacturing and storage
  • Explosive storage depots
  • Explosive and munitions manufacturing facilities
  • Gas processing plants
  • LPG storage and distribution facilities
  • Some warehouses and transport depots
  • Fuel storage depots.

How we manage risks at facilities

The key risks at major hazard facilities are explosion, fire, and the release of chemicals in the facility or surrounding area.

We help manage these risks through:

  • mandatory licensing of major hazard facilities
  • requiring facilities to notify Comcare when they have more than a specific quantity of chemicals.

For more information, see:

Notification and threshold quantities

Each hazardous chemical has a notification and threshold quantity.

  • At the notification quantity, a facility must notify Comcare.
  • At the threshold quantity, a facility must apply for a major hazard facility licence.
  • Between the notification and threshold quantity, Comcare may determine that the facility requires a major hazard facility licence.

Quantities of common hazardous chemicals

Table 1 provides the quantities for some common hazardous chemicals.

A full list of the notification and threshold quantities for hazardous chemicals is available in schedule 15 of the Work Health and Safety Regulations 2011.

Table 1: The threshold and notification quantities for some common hazardous chemicals.
Hazardous chemical Threshold quantity Notification quantity
(When to notify Comcare)

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

Notification of chemical quantities

Meeting your obligations to notify

The Major Hazard Facilities Notifications and Determinations guide provides information to help operators of facilities meet their obligations. This includes operators who are, or are likely to become, a major hazard facility.

This guide assists operators to:

  • provide prompt notification for an existing facility
  • provide timely notification for a new or proposed facility
  • accurately calculate the quantity of schedule 15 chemicals present or likely to be present at the facility
  • supply all the information required in a notification.

When you need to notify

You must notify Comcare when your facility reaches or exceeds the notification quantity for any of the chemicals listed in schedule 15 of the Work Health and Safety Regulations 2011.

How to notify

Submit the Major Hazard Facility Notification form (PDF, 83.7 KB) to notify Comcare if your facility controls schedule 15 materials greater than the 10 per cent threshold quantity.

The form includes more information about the process.

If you need help:

Major hazard facility licence

When you need to apply for a licence

A major hazard facility licence is required when a facility has chemicals listed in schedule 15 of the Work Health and Safety Regulations 2011 present, or likely to be present, and:

  • the quantity exceeds the threshold quantity, or
  • the quantity is between the notification and threshold quantity and Comcare has determined that the facility is a major hazard facility and requires a licence.

When we determine if a facility is a major hazard facility, we consider:

  • the amount and combination of schedule 15 chemicals
  • the type of activities at the facility
  • land use and other activities in the surrounding area.

How to apply for a licence

Operators of a major hazard facility must apply to Comcare for a licence to operate the facility.

Submit the Operate a Major Hazard Facility application form (PDF, 175.2 KB) to apply for a licence to store, handle or process large chemicals in a major hazard facility.

The form contains more information about the application process.

Develop a safety case and have it assessed

In the licence application, you must develop a safety case for the facility and have this assessed by an approved assessor.

The assessor must prepare an assessment of the safety case for the major hazard facility together with an executive summary.

The major hazard facility operator then submits the executive summary to Comcare in support of the licence application.

For more information, see Preparation of a safety case and Developing a safety case outline by Safe Work Australia.

List of approved assessors

Arup Australia Pty Ltd
Sky Park, One Melbourne Quarter
699 Collins Street
Docklands, Victoria 3008
Contact: Mr Nigel Cann
(03) 9668 5516
nigel.cann@arup.com

AMOG Consulting
Monash Business Park
19 Business Park Drive
Notting Hill, Victoria 3168
Contact: Ms Cherie Holland
(03) 9542 3700
cherie.holland@amog.consulting

R4Risk Pty Ltd
15 Yarra Street
PO Box 5023
South Melbourne, Victoria 3205
Contact: Mr Brian Cooper
(03) 9268 9700
brian.cooper@r4risk.com.au

Comcare maintains the register of approved assessors.

Exemption

Comcare may grant an exemption from complying with provisions of the Work Health and Safety Regulations 2011. We usually only do this when the standards of health and safety will not be compromised.

Before you apply for an exemption, we recommend you first read the Regulatory guide - Major hazard facility exemptions, which includes further information about this exemption and the application process.

Notify us if your details change

Please contact us if any details change:

Information for operators of a facility

Establishing a safety management system

Identifying major incidents and hazards

Preparing and testing an emergency plan

  • Emergency plans – information to prepare, implement and test an emergency plan.

Reporting

Reviewing risk management

Training and providing information

Page last reviewed: 15 December 2019
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Comcare
GPO Box 9905, Canberra, ACT 2601
1300 366 979 | www.comcare.gov.au

Date printed 09 Aug 2020

https://www.comcare.gov.au/safe-healthy-work/prevent-harm/major-hazard-facilities