Major hazard facilities

Major hazard facilities (MHF) are industrial sites such as oil refineries, chemical plants and large fuel or chemical storage sites where large amounts of hazardous materials are stored, handled or processed. If you operate an MHF, you have specific work health and safety (WHS) duties. These duties are in addition to the general WHS duties

What is a major hazard facility? 

An MHF is a facility: 

  • where Schedule 15 chemicals are present or likely to be present in a quantity that exceeds their threshold quantity, or  

  • that is determined by the regulator to be an MHF. 

Schedule 15 chemicals 

The model WHS Regulations lists certain hazardous chemicals under Schedule 15. Schedule 15 also lists the chemical's threshold quantity. 

If you operate a facility with 10% or more of the threshold quantity listed in Schedule 15, you must notify your WHS regulator about the chemicals.  

The WHS regulator will then determine whether your facility is an MHF and they may choose to inspect the facility to determine its status. 

MHF licensing 

Operators must apply to their WHS regulator for a license within 2 years of their facility being determined to be an MHF. The operator of the facility holds the licence and is responsible for the WHS duties outlined in the model WHS Regulations.  

The WHS regulator can issue the MHF a licence if the operator meets certain conditions regarding operating and managing the facility, including: 

  • emergency plans 

  • safety management system (SMS) 

  • safety case. 

More information about meeting the regulator’s conditions is in the guides for major hazard facilities.  

Work health and safety duties 

MHF operators must manage risks and hazards and risks that could lead to a major incident at their MHF facility. 

 These duties include: 

  • identifying all major incident hazards at the facility 

  • putting in place control measures that eliminate or minimise the risk of a major incident happening 

  • performing and documenting a safety assessment on how the facility operates, including investigating and analysing all risks to health and safety that could happen during operation 

  • preparing an emergency plan with emergency services organisations and other stakeholders 

  • establishing a safety management system for the MHF 

  • preparing a safety case for the MHF that shows the SMS will control risks and hazards that could cause a major incident.  

An MHF operator has extra WHS duties in the model WHS Regulations. Find out more in the guides for MHFs.