Using, storing and handling hazardous chemicals
The quantities and types of hazardous chemicals used, handled or stored at your workplace will mean your workplace is classified as:
- a hazardous chemical workplace or
- a manifest quantity workplace (MQW) or
- a major hazard facility (MHF).
This will determine how you manage safety at your workplace.
Hazardous chemical workplace
This is a workplace with quantities of hazardous chemicals that do not exceed the set amounts specified in the Work Health and Safety Regulations 2012.
If you’re the person conducting a business or undertaking (PCBU) of a hazardous chemical workplace, you must:
- manage risks to health and safety associated with the hazardous chemicals
- keep an up-to-date register of hazardous chemicals
- provide correct labelling, safe handling and access to safety data sheets for hazardous chemicals
- ensure there is appropriate placarding in place.
Placards are important for workers, contractors, and emergency services personnel because they identify:
- the hazardous chemicals that are stored in bulk (including tanks)
- significant quantities of hazardous chemicals in packages
- the dangers of the hazardous chemicals at the workplace
- the required emergency actions for the hazardous chemicals.
Placarding helps emergency services personnel take the appropriate action when responding to an emergency situation at your workplace.
Manifest Quantity Workplace (MQW)
This is a workplace where hazardous chemical quantities exceed amounts in Schedule 11 of the Work Health and Safety Regulations 2012.
An example of a MQW is a retail service station where quantities of petrol exceed 2,500 litres.
If you’re the person conducting a business or undertaking (PCBU) of an MQW, you have the same duties as for a hazardous chemical workplace, plus you must:
- maintain an up-to-date manifest of the hazardous chemicals on site, for use by emergency services
- complete and submit to a Service Tasmania outlet the Notification of a Manifest Quantity Workplace (MQW) application form (PDF, 1.4 MB), along with a copy of your manifest.
You must also notify WorkSafe using this form if:
- there is a change of PCBU
- your quantity of Schedule 11 hazardous chemicals no longer exceeds MQW quantities
- there is a significant change to the risk of using, handling or storing schedule 11 hazardous chemicals.
Major Hazard Facility (MHF)
This is a workplace where, because of the hazardous chemicals present, there is potential for a major incident.
An MHF is usually very large, requiring the hazardous chemicals as part of its business activities. Examples include chemical plants, and large fuel or chemical storage sites.
If you’re the person conducting a business or undertaking (PCBU) of an MHF, there are very complex obligations you must meet. Please see Safe Work Australia’s guidance (external link).
Abandoned fuel/gas tanks
You must notify WorkSafe if an underground tank (including partial or fully mounded) under your control or management has been abandoned; that is:
- the tank has not been used to store flammable gases or flammable liquids for 2 years; or
- you do not intend to use the tank to store flammable gases or liquids again.
You must complete and submit to WorkSafe the Notification of an abandoned tank form.
If the tank has been decommissioned you should include supporting evidence; for example, a copy of the letter or certification from a competent person/contractor confirming the method of decommissioning.