Putting good work design into practice on your Class 3 Flammable Liquids 

Oct 7, 2019 Posted by Walter Ingles

Have you been reading our blog series on applying the principles of good work design to flammable liquids safety? In today’s post we’ll be unpacking Principle 5 — ensuring your flammable liquids storage and handling practices are fit-for-purpose, meet the unique needs of your business, and pay close attention to the physical work environment at the job site. We’ll briefly unpack these three essential considerations, then provide a living example of good work design in practice. 

Principle 5 — Good work design considers the business needs, context and work environment. Safe Work Australia. 

Good work design — Principle 5 

Principle 5 of Good Work Design recognises the trading needs of an organisation and ensures that work procedures are not only safe, but practical, and affordable. There are three key considerations to this principle. They are: 

  • Considering business needs - keeping workers safe while meeting production schedules and sales targets. 
  • Considering context - evaluating how individual work tasks fit into the complete supply chain and operational life cycle. 
  • Considering work environment - ensuring the physical layout of work areas (including machinery and equipment) supports individual job tasks. 

“Good work design is most effective when it addresses the specific business needs of the individual workplace or business.” Safe Work Australia. 


Steps to good work design 

Safe Work Australia list 7 clear steps when implementing good work design. Following these 7 steps will also ensure you’ve fulfilled your compliance obligations under Part 3.1 Managing Risks to Health and Safety of the WHS Regulations, and Division 2 Consultation with workers of the WHS Act.  






Business operators and senior managers authorise and activate a good work design initiative. 



Workers directly involved in the implementation of the project — as well as individual job tasks — are consulted. 



Existing (and potential) hazards are identified. 



Hazards are assessed, and where possible eliminated at the source. 



Safe work systems are implemented according to the needs, context, and physical work environment of the business. 



Work systems are reviewed to ensure they remain fit-for-purpose, effective, and installed correctly.  



Corrective actions are taken to addresses breaches and the system updated to incorporate the changes. 


Good work design principles in practice 

Let’s take a look at good work design in practice by applying each of the 7 steps (above) to this simple example (below).  

 EXAMPLE: your worksite keeps unleaded petrol in 205 litre drums on a pallet in an open area. Anyone needing fuel for the small machines and outdoor equipment in their department brings their own jerrycan and gets the fuel they need. There are no set procedures in place, and very often apprentices and new workers are sent to complete the task.  


1. Direct

The General Manager instructs the HSE Manager to clean up the fuel drum area for compliance, reduce wastage, and design out hazards as far as possible. The HSE Manager has an allocated budget for the project. 

2. Consult

Workers who decant the petrol, plus supervisors who oversee the fuel drum area are consulted to gain a better understanding of the existing work processes and associated hazards. 

3. Identify

An external Dangerous Goods Consultant specialising in Class 3 Flammable Liquids is appointed to carry out a comprehensive safety audit of the fuel drum area and decanting process. The Consultant identifies several hazards as well as handling practices that are resulting in significant spillage and chemical waste. 

4. Assess

The HSE Manager and Dangerous Goods Consultant meet with the WHS Committee to consider the installation of a series of drum dolly’s, drum caddy’s, spill funnels and drum lids. Each item is considered based on the potential to reduce waste (cut costs), reduce processing time (increase productivity), and minimise chemical exposure hazards (WHS compliance).  

5. Control

The decanting equipment for the petrol drums is purchased and installed. Workers and supervisors are briefed on the new fuel decanting and transfer procedures. 

6. Review

7-10 days after the decanting equipment has been installed the HSE Manager and Dangerous Goods Consultant carry out a follow-up safety audit. They discover that since installing the drum decanting equipment, workers have stopped wearing PPE while filling jerry cans. A more detailed training plan is developed, and workers are supervised more closely as they get used to the new work procedures — including the need to wear PPE. 

7. Improve

The HSE Manager consults with the purchasing manager to monitor petrol usage and determines there has been very little reduction in wastage. Further examination determines that greater restrictions need to place on the fuel decanting station and closer monitoring of fuel use in departmental areas. 


Next steps  

Using a safety cabinet that has been manufactured to Australian Safety Standards for your Class 3 Flammable Liquids supports every aspect of Good Word Design Principle 5. It reduces your compliance risk (business needs), it’s purpose built for Class 3 Flammables (context) and minimises chemical exposure of individual workers at their job stations (environment). For more information about how a flammable liquids cabinet can improve organisational efficiencies (as well as help you meet your chemical storage responsibilities) please download our free eBook Essential Considerations When Storing Flammable Liquids Indoors. Download and read it today by clicking on the image below:  

Essential Considerations when Storing Flammable Liquids Indoors download Free eBook

Walter Ingles

Walter Ingles Compliance Specialist

Walter is STOREMASTA’s Dangerous Goods Storage Specialist. He helps organisations reduce risk and improve efficiencies in the storage and management of dangerous goods and hazardous chemicals.

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