In response to a series of incidents in the greater Melbourne area safety regulators are visiting businesses storing and retailing hazardous chemicals in a proactive risk assessment and response capacity.

This blitz extends to service station operators and is highlighting again the need for all business operators to take some time to do a hazard and compliance walk on their sites.

“Hazard Walks and Compliance checks onsite are vital to ensure that the systems the business has put in place to address hazards are; in place, being used and working.  The best system in the world will not work if it is not regularly checked and reviewed” explains Elisha Radwanowski from ACAPMA.

“ACAPMA works with members as part of the Assisted Compliance Audits to help them understand the requirements and to provide template documents to assist with achieving compliance, however we are not onsite, we can not see the cracked concrete, or the faded sign.  It is vital that members take the information provided and then review the actual physical situation onsite, and respond accordingly” says Elisha.

Operators should make the time to do a self inspection onsite;

  • checking plant and equipment is in good repair, calibrated and tested – including being free from damage and within appropriate electrical and other testing requirements,
  • checking that pathways are clear and safe, and
  • checking signage and exits.

While at times it can feel like a business is drowning in paperwork, and it can be easy to consider all paperwork a waste, when it comes to the elements of the safety management system, this paperwork is far from a waste – it is vital.  Operators should also take care to review paperwork while doing their self inspection. 

This includes;

  • Manifest,
  • Emergency Response Plan,
  • Dangerous Goods Registration,
  • Site Plan with hazards, equpment and evacuation points,
  • Chemical Register,
  • Saftey Data Sheets,
  • Plant and Equipment Manitencne Records, and
  • Emergency Stop Button Testing Records.

It is also vital that operators review their training of staff in these hazards and controls – including the paperwork.  Staff should be trainied, and a detailed record of the training should be kept.

The time for businesses to review their physical and paperwork compliance status onsite is always NOW, however with the recent spate of incidents there is even greater reason for businesses to make the time to check in on their site safety now.