As part of the ongoing commitment to safety and compliance ACAPMA hosted another Fuel Industry Safety Forum Townhall Session in Melbourne. Regulators, site operators, trusted business advisers and suppliers, as well as business owners came together at the Townhall Session recently to learn about industry wide trends, risks safety and compliance programs and solutions.
Building on a tradition of direct engagement with regulators the Fuel Industry Safety Forum Townhall Sessions are an open invitation to all in the industry, regardless of membership status. ACAPMA CEO Mark McKenzie explains ‘safety and compliance is an issue of importance for the whole industry, and it is of benefit to members and non members to come together to hear from regulators and gain a more complete understanding of not only their expectations, but possible approaches to achieving compliance. A safer and more compliant industry is a benefit to the whole industry as well as the community and seen as an important focus for the Association.’
Attendees at the session heard from Malcom Bartlett, Manager of Trade Measurement Services at the National Measurement Institute. Mr Bartlett outlined, not only NMIs role in regulation and compliance in the fuel wholesale and retail industry, but also provided valuable insight into NMIs findings coming out of a recent retail inspection project regarding bowser measurements, explored in detail several cases, and provided advice to businesses on the basis of the current inspection projects underway in the wholesale and transport areas.
Mr Bartlett’s message to the industry was clear. All trade measurement devices, including retail dispensers, as well as truck loading and unloading equipment, needs to be verified, carry clear verification stickers, and be assessed and calibrated as part of a compliance program that will allow operators to ensure that it is delivering correct measure at all times.
Mr Bartlett encouraged any operators who have questions regarding trade measurement devices, inspections, calibrations or compliance plan development to contact NMI or ACAPMA for assistance and support.
Attendees were also able to hear from Heather Hutchinson, Team Leader and Industry Advisor for the Environmental Protection Agency Victoria on the rollout of the latest batch of reporting requirement and self assessment tools that the EPA has launched to assist all owners and operators of Underground Petroleum Storage Systems with understanding, achieving and demonstrating their compliance with the regulations.
Ms Hutchinson provided attendees with information on the compliance program to date, highlighting that the EPA Guidelines for UPSS Compliance were developed many years ago to assist operators of UPSS understand what they need to do to comply. Ms Hutchinson outlined that recently all known retail UPSS sites were contacted by the EPA and provided with two documents, a Self Assessment that is to be kept onsite and allows operators to work through the compliance requirements and establish what if any items require addressing, and a Summary Report, that is to be sent back to the EPA that outlines the key findings of the self assessment. Attendees were informed that to date 75% of all contacted retail UPSS sites have completed and submitted the Summary Report. This high level of compliance in a short period of time was commended.
The retail UPSS compliance program is underway, with inspections beginning on 1 December 2015. EPA inspectors also at the Session encouraged sites in the 25% who have not completed and submitted the Summary Report to do so now. Reports are still being accepted and demonstrate a commitment to compliance from retail businesses, even if the Report highlights there is work to do to achieve compliance. The inspection program that commences 1 December 2015 will initially target those retail sites who have not completed and submitted a Summary Report, before progressing to an inspection patter of those sites that have submitted Reports.
Ms Hutchinson’s message to the Session was very clear, take the time to do the Self Assessment and to complete and submit the Summary Report, it is an important step to protecting the business, the environment and the community, and those who fail to undertake these simple steps will be the first to be approached by the EPA in their inspection program.
Finally Ms Hutchinson also noted that the EPA is aware that, due to this type of self assessment and reporting being new to the industry, there may be questions that operators have. She encouraged any operators with questions to contact the EPA or ACAPMA for advice and assistance in completing and submitting these important compliance documents.
Any retail UPSS site that has not received the communication from the EPA regarding this program can click the following link to learn more and to download the Self Assessment and Summary Reports. http://www.epa.vic.gov.au/our-work/programs/upsss-at-service-stations
Attendees also heard from ACAPMA Executive Manager for Employment and Training, on broad industry trends and solutions and risk management approaches in the areas of manual handling, contractor management, armed robbery and security and transport. One of the key items discussed in the room was the recently launched ACAPMA National Petroleum Contractor Recognition Scheme and the benefits to retail and wholesale operators of being able to access a list of recognised businesses providing fuel site services. ‘The Scheme is a simple one, but one that is needed in what is increasingly a national industry. While there are larger businesses that administer their own schemes the smaller independent fuel site operators, which make up the majority of the industry, struggle to locate appropriately trained and experienced businesses.’
‘From a practical safety perspective on all sides of the industry as we approach the ‘silly’ season it is important to engage with all staff about increased risk. Weather from increased numbers of drivers on the roads or increased traffic on forecourts. Of particular importance is communicating with staff who work at, work on or visit retail sites on Armed Robbery and Security risks, as the data shows the coming months are typically the most high risk for security incidents onsite’ Elisha explained.
After a short question time The Townhall Session was then opened to networking and attendees took advantage of the opportunity to engage directly with the association and regulators on the issues facing their business. Ms Hutchinson summarised the value of the networking opportunity ‘it was really great to get a chance to talk directly with the operators and the consultants and suppliers, we see them as partners in achieving a great compliance outcome and a great environmental outcome so it is beneficial to have a real conversation about their real pressures’.
At the request of many interested parties who were unable to attend the Townhall Session the presentations and question time will be converted into a webinar, and made available to all interested industry parties.
The Fuel Industry Safety Forum Townhall Sessions will continue around the country in the new year. If you have any questions, or would like to discuss safety and compliance in your business please do not hesitate to contact ACAPMA on 1300 160 270 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.