In a timely reminder that all employers are required to train workers in the risks and hazards that are associated with their work, including the risk of spill and how to address it, the failure of a small business to train its workers in spill response in a dangerous goods environment has resulted in a $27,500 fine.

The breach to section 21 of the Victorian Occupational Health and Safety Act, general duties of employers to employees, was specific to the failure of the employer to adequately train the employees to do their work safely and to address emergencies and situations that were reasonably foreseeable to occur in the course of them doing their tasks.

“In this particular case a forklift driver pierced a drum holding dangerous goods in the course of moving goods with the forklift.  There was no breach or issue with the operation of the forklift, but rather with the workers lack of adequate training in how to respond if there was a spill”, explains ACAPMAs Elisha Radwanowski.

“Due to the lack of training the unsupervised employee did not realise the seriousness of the spill and it was left unaddressed for over 35 minutes, creating a serious situation and hazardous atmosphere in the workplace that could have had very serious consequences”, continues Elisha.

The fine was significantly reduced in the Sunshine Magistrates Court due to the remedial action taken by the company since the December 2021 incident.  The employer was able to show that they have since implemented comprehensive spill response training and procedures that are a verified element of new worker onboarding processes.

DG Compliance training solutions for fuel retail businesses

Structured, documented and rigorous training is required and there is a due diligence requirement to not only train staff but to verify that the knowledge has been embedded, that the worker understands the information and can demonstrate the skills. Achieving this cycle internally is difficult for many small and medium businesses. Best practice external providers not only assist businesses in delivering and verifying competency levels but also deliver peace of mind that the standard and content delivered is removed from the business, allowing bad habits to be corrected and circumventing the possibility of perpetuating miscommunication that hastily constructed internal training can contain.

Internal or external competency based training and regular refreshers need to be documented on the training register, and course outcomes and certificates retained for reference and production to the authorities as required.

In the fuel retail or petrol & convenience area, ACAPMA has delivered the industry gold standard in compliance training, the Petroleum Convenience Compliance (PCC) course to an average of 20,000 learners every year for the last 9 years.

The result of a collaborative process with ACAPMA, regulators and retailers, the PCC assists businesses in ensuring that they are meeting the legal requirement to train all staff in the risks and hazards associated with the work they do.

When staff complete the PCC they gain a comprehensive understanding of how to keep themselves, customers and the business safe and compliant, while the business gains confidence that id can demonstrate to regulators that they have met their legal requirements.

The PCC Per Site Access Pathway help site operators ‘get it right at the site’ every day and allow for the natural growth and staff turnover that is an inherent characteristic of the retail fuel industry.

This level of access has been designed in recognition of the fact that the nature of petroleum retail is that there is a high level of staff turnover and training options that charge per person often tend to become prohibitively expensive for the site over time.  As such this pathway allows for all of the staff at the Site to access the training on an uncapped (but subject to fair play) basis.  So if the site has 7 staff usually and through the year they loose a couple but hire a few more, all of the staff are able to do the training and the cost of the Sites access does not change.  This provision for the natural turnover of staff makes the PCC a sensible and affordable option for all fuel retailers to ensure that they are meeting their requirements to train staff in the risks and hazards of their work.

With this access pathway Site Managers are able to; set up new users to access the training, archive or delete ex staff and report on completion of the individual or the site as a whole all through their own login, meaning there is no delay in setting up new staff.

The PCC is delivered entirely online in a rich multimedia adult learning format that can be completed on any device.  Learners can complete the course modules in a stop start fashion from behind the console in between serving customers, or at home on their own device, or a mix of the two.  The delivery through an entirely online (not app based) platform allows the Learner to stop at any point in the middle of a module or in between modules and pick up from where they left off later, across multiple devices.

ACAPMAs dedicated Training Team is on hand to assist Learners with any technical issues and to ensure that if a Learner ‘gets stuck’ on a question they fully understand the correct answer before moving on.

Annual course review, specific to the Australian context, allows the site operators to be confident that the PCC is delivering the most up to date compliance and safety learnings to staff.

The PCC has been designed to encompass all of the items that are vital for the retail staff to understand to ensure that they are safe, and the business is operating compliantly.  This includes specific modules on;

  • Retail Competition and Consumer Compliance
  • Tobacco and Vaping Products Compliance
  • Personal Workplace Safety (incl. Bullying,  Harassment and Discrimination)
  • Instore Safety and Manual Handling
  • Forecourt Safety and Safe Fuel Dispensing
  • Environmental Safety and Wetstock Management
  • LPG Safety
  • Fire First Response
  • Armed Robbery and Security
  • Food Safety for Food Handlers

The PCC is an industry solution to delivering competent console operators and compliant businesses.

The full PCC is complemented by a learning and development plan that sees staff complete all 11 modules in their first year, ideally before working onsite, and then in the following year completing a shorter single module PCC Refresher.

The PCC is a low cost, high impact, comprehensive fuel retail safety and compliance solution that is relied on by industry.  ACAPMA understands that staff turnover is a characteristic of the industry and access to the PCC has been priced on a per site basis.  ACAPMA Members can access the PCC for all staff onsite for $1,100 inc GST per site per year.  See the PCC Application Pack –   and the PCC Outcomes – for more information.

Here to Help

Safety Highlights are things to consider, implement and watch out for in your business.  They are provided as general information for you to consider and do not constitute advice.  You should seek further advice on your situation by contacting your legal advisor.  ACAPMA members can access resources and receive advice, guidance and support from the ACAPMA employment professionals via , it is free for members.  ACAPMA Membership delivers this and more benefits, see;    for more information.

Elisha Radwanowski BCom(HRM&IR)
Executive Manager for Employment and Compliance