NSW regulator brings hazardous chemicals under fire

The New South Wales Resources Regulator is going to rank the storage, use and handling of hazardous chemicals the same as other prescribed principal hazards.

This comes following the regulator identifying several non-compliance issues in relation to the storage of large quantities of chemicals or sites possessing multiple dangerous goods.

According to chapter nine of the work, health and safety of regulation, mines and petroleum sites that use, handle and store quantities of hazardous chemicals consistent with major facilities will be treated as high-risk sites.

This includes sites that exceed 10 per cent of thresholds identified in schedule 15 of the work, health and safety regulation, relating to major hazard facilities.

These finds, along with emergency management considerations, prompted it to review the regulation of hazardous chemicals being kept on mine sites.

The new compliance measures identified include improvements to its compliance database, increased focus on regulating hazardous chemicals and launching an industry awareness campaign.

The regulator will also incorporate the storage, use and handling of hazardous chemicals and explosives as part of the risk profiling of mine sites across New South Wales.

“We have commenced a hazardous chemicals program to operationalise the recommendations, including an increased focus on hazardous chemicals within our compliance program,” the New South Wales Resources Regulator stated.

“Hazardous chemicals are used extensively throughout the New South Wales mining industry, ranging from fuels and oils for plant operations, cyanides and caustics for ore processing plants (and) radioactive elements in testing and explosive precursors.

“Some of these chemicals are highly toxic, are physically dangerous, causing fire and damage and can pose security risks if not managed appropriately.”