Major hazard facilities (MHF) are sites that store, handle and process large quantities of hazardous chemicals and dangerous goods, including explosives and fuels.

These sites are regulated under the Work Health and Safety (National Uniform Legislation Act (WHS Act) and the Work Health and Safety (National Uniform Legislation) Regulations (WHS Regulations).

Examples include:

  • chemical plants
  • gas processing
  • LPG and LNG facilities
  • some warehouses and transport depots
  • mines which have large volumes of hazardous chemicals / dangerous goods.

All Northern Territory sites that are determined as MHFs are required to hold a licence under the WHS Act and must comply with stringent requirements, including preparation of a safety case, to ensure they are operated safely.

Under WHS Regulations, operators of any facility where hazardous chemicals are present or likely to be present in a quantity that exceeds 10% the threshold quantity detailed in Schedule 15 of the WHS Regulations, are required to provide certain information to NT WorkSafe using the 'Major hazard facility notification form'.

Some examples of MHF notification thresholds:

​Hazardous chemical ​Threshold quantity ​Notification 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

MHF obligations

Under the WHS Act, operators of determined MHFs have an obligation to:

  • Identify all major incidents and hazards that could cause a major incident for the facility.
  • Conduct and document a safety assessment in relation to the operation of the facility that involves a comprehensive and systematic investigation and analysis of all aspects of risks to health and safety that could occur in the operation of the MHF.
  • Implement control measures that eliminate or minimise the risk of a major incident occurring at the MHF.
  • Prepare an emergency plan.
  • Establish a Safety Management System (SMS) for the operation of the MHF.
  • Prepare a Safety Case for the MHF that demonstrates that the MHF's SMS will control risks arising from major incidents and hazards that could cause a major incident. The Safety Case must demonstrate the adequacy of the measures to be implemented by the operator to control risks associated with the occurrence of major incidents.
Publications

NT WorkSafe has published MHF guidance material to assist MHF operators to meet their obligations. The currently available guides are:

Developing a safety case outline (pdf 273 kb)
Emergency plans (pdf 1.5 Mb)
Information, training and instruction for workers and other persons at the facility (pdf 266 kb)
Notification and determination (pdf 401 kb)
Preparation of a safety case (pdf 314 kb)
Providing information to the community (pdf 257 kb)
Safety assessment (pdf 372 kb)
Safety case: Demonstrating adequacy of safety management systems and control measures (pdf 214 kb)
Safety management systems (pdf 185 kb)

Should you require an alternative version of the above documents please contact us.

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