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Major hazard facilities are locations such as oil refineries, chemical plants and large fuel or chemical storage sites where large quantities of hazardous materials are stored, handled or processed.

The model WHS Regulations define a MHF as a facility:

  • at which Schedule 15 chemicals are present or likely to be present in a quantity that exceeds their threshold quantity
  • that is determined by the regulator to be a MHF.

A Schedule 15 chemical is one that is listed in Schedule 15 to the model WHS Regulations. The Schedule 15 also lists the chemical's threshold quantity.

Operators of facilities with more than 10% of the chemical quantities listed in Schedule 15 must notify the WHS regulator in their jurisdiction of the chemicals they hold. The WHS regulator may choose to inspect the facility to determine its status.

Work health and safety duties 

Specific duties are placed on operators of MHF to manage the risk of a major incident at them. These duties include:

  • Identifying all major incident hazards for the facility and implementing control measures that eliminate or minimise the risk of a major incident happening.
  • Carrying out and documenting a safety assessment on how the facility operates, including a comprehensive and systematic investigation and analysis of all aspects of risks to health and safety that could happen when it’s operating.
  • Preparing an emergency plan in consultation with emergency service organisations and other relevant stakeholders.
  • Establishing a safety management system for the MHF.
  • Preparing a safety case for the MHF that demonstrates its safety management system will control risks arising from major incidents and major incident hazards.

Further advice

SWA is not a regulator and cannot advise you about WHS compliance at major hazard facilities. If you need help, please contact your state or territory work health and safety authority.

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