Depending upon the circumstances and substances involved, an incident at a major hazard facility (MHF) could affect people and may have devastating effect on the industry.
Major hazard facilities are industrial sites that store, handle or process large quantities of hazardous chemicals and dangerous goods, including petroleum products over pre-determined threshold limits which are set by WorkSafe.
- oil refineries - fire, explosions and spills
- chemical manufacturing sites - spills, fire and poisonous gases/fumes
- gas-processing plants - fire, explosions and fumes
- LPG facilities - fire and explosions
- some warehouses and transport depots - chemical spills.
Victoria has approximately 45 of these sites, which must comply with stringent legal requirements, including preparation of a safety case, to ensure they are operated safely.
As at November 2017, we have four major hazard facilities within our municipal footprint.
All facilities must establish and implement a documented safety management system as the primary means of ensuring the safe operation of the facility.
A safety management system must:
- provide a comprehensive and integrated management system for the control of risk
- be accessible and comprehensible
- set out the operator’s safety policy
- describe safety objectives and the systems and procedures to achieve them
- set out how legal duties will be complied with
- include all additional matters specified in schedule 10 of the regulations (for example: organisation and personnel, operational controls, management of change, performance monitoring and auditing).
The MHF must also prepare a safety plan to demonstrate the adequacy of the safety management system and the control measures in preventing major incidents.
Because of the risks involved in operating a major hazard facility, operators have specific obligations to consult with employees and the community.
Should an incident occur at a MHF then the relevant emergency service will keep the public informed and provide advice on what actions nearby property owners/occupiers need to do.