Across Australia WHS laws are harmonised — meaning most states and territories use the same WHS legislation. But Victoria has not yet adopted the Model Act and Regulation issued by Safe Work Australia — they have different WHS laws. This state also has legislation that specifically applies to Dangerous Goods storage and handling. In this blog we’ll be outlining some of the key legislative requirements for Victorian businesses and workplaces that carry Class 3 Flammable Liquids.
IMPORTANT: If you carry certain quantities of Class 3 Flammable Liquids you must notify WorkSafe Victoria using the proper form.
Work health and safety laws in Victoria
In Victoria, workplace health and safety is regulated by WorkSafe Victoria. Your obligations to provide a workplace and job site that is safe and properly managed is defined in the following legislation:
- Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004
- Occupational Health and Safety Regulations 2017
- Dangerous Goods Act 1985
Of course the legislation requires you to employ specific risk management practices on all the hazards at your workplace, but the state of Victoria also has additional requirements for the storage and handling of all Dangerous Goods including Class 3 Flammable Liquids.
Essential Codes of Practice
Victoria’s Dangerous Goods legislation can be best understood and implemented by following the requirements of the following Codes of Practice:
Code of practice: The storage and handling of dangerous goods - this is essential reading because it walks you through the Dangerous Goods Act and Regulations and provides practical guidance about how to comply.
ADG Code - you’ll need to refer to the ADG Code because the Dangerous Goods Act and Code follow its chemical classification system. This includes hazard classes, packaging sizes and segregation requirements.
Critical requirements of the Code
In this section we’ll introduce you to some of the critical requirements of the Code of practice: The storage and handling of dangerous goods. Remember, this is an overview only to help get you started.
Using the ADG Code, determine the type (and quantities) of Dangerous Goods at your worksite. This should be done first because many of the requirements of the DG Regulations are determined by the classification of the chemicals (eg, Class 3 Flammable Liquids), the size of the containers you are using (eg, IBCs), and aggregate quantities of other Dangerous Goods held onsite (eg, compressed gases in cylinders).
2. Consult with your workers
Consult with the people who are going to be in contact with the Flammable Liquids at your worksite. Get their input when introducing new chemicals, ordering storage equipment and PPE, or developing safe handling procedures.
3. Induction and training
Everyone on the job site must be aware of the hazards associated with the flammable liquids and other Dangerous Goods they may encounter. They should know how to stay safe, use PPE, and follow emergency procedures. This includes workers, contractors and site visitors.
4. Safety Data Sheets
You must obtain a current copy of a substance’s Safety Data Sheet (SDS) on (or before) it is brought onto the worksite. The SDSs must be kept in a Register (additional to the one required under the OHS Act) and be readily accessible to workers in the immediate area.
5. Safety Signs, Placards and Markings
Dangerous Goods onsite must retain their official markings according to the ADG Code. Your worksite is also required to display certain safety signs and warning placards (depending on aggregate quantities).
6. Risk Management
Have in place a clear risk management process and plan that includes WHS duty holders, risk assessments, hazard controls and review systems.
7. Isolation and stability
Using correct segregation distances and barriers, keep your Class 3 Flammable Liquids (and other Dangerous Goods) stable and away from:
- Incompatible and reactive substances
- Ignition sources
- Traffic and impact hazards
- People and property
8. Spill containment
Have spill containment equipment, systems and procedures in place. This includes planned responses and clean-up of uncontrolled releases or dangerous spill incidents.
9. Decanting and transfer
Use proper equipment and safety procedures when filling, loading, pumping, or pouring Class 3 Flammable Liquids (and other Dangerous Goods).
10. Ignition source
Identify and manage ignition sources in and around Dangerous Goods storage and handling zones — and other hazardous areas.
Ensure there is sufficient ventilation to prevent flammable, explosive and asphyxiant atmospheres — plus keep chemical concentration levels within required standards.
12. Site Security
Have proper security equipment and systems to prevent unauthorised people from accessing the Dangerous Goods onsite.
13. Fire Protection Systems
Ensure your fire protection equipment is designed and constructed to suit the quantities of Flammable Liquids and other Dangerous Goods onsite.
14. Emergency Plan
Have an up-to-date emergency plan that is regularly reviewed and tested.
15. Manifest of Dangerous Goods
If the quantities of Class 3 Flammable Liquids (and other Dangerous Goods) exceeds the Manifest Quantity (outline in Schedule 2 of the DG Regulations) you must prepare a Manifest of Dangerous Goods.
16. Notification of storage and handling
Notify WorkSafe Victoria (using the correct form) if you exceed manifest quantities of Flammable Liquids and Dangerous Goods.
REMEMBER: Your duties and responsibilities are directly linked to the class of Dangerous Goods, packaging sizes and aggregate quantities held onsite. You may require the services of a Dangerous Good Consultant to assist you in this classification process.
Of course we could never hope to condense your flammable liquids compliance obligations down to a single blog post. We also encourage you to download and read our free eBook Essential Considerations When Storing Flammable Liquids Indoors. No matter what state or territory your business operates from, our eBook will help you to minimise your Dangerous Goods storage risks. Use it as the basis of your next risk assessment and compliance audit.