Changed requirements for hazardous chemicals and registration of plant in Queensland

16 April 2012

Work Health and Safety Act 2011

The Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (Qld) (WHS Act) is part of a national package of uniform work health and safety legislation.  It repealed the Dangerous Goods Safety Management Act 2001 (Qld) (DGSM Act) and as of 1 January 2012 regulates dangerous goods in Queensland.  

It also altered the requirements for registration of plant.

Requirements if you use, handle or generate hazardous chemicals

If your workplace uses, handles or generates hazardous chemicals, you must now comply with Chapter 7 of the Work Health and Safety Regulation 2011 (Qld) (WHS Regulation).

If your workplace uses, stores or handles schedule 11 hazardous chemicals in quantities that exceed the manifest quantity (noted in column 5 of schedule 11) you must (as a person conducting a business or undertaking):

  1. Notify the regulator: give written notice to the regulator, Work Health and Safety Queensland (WHSQ).[1]  If you have already given this notice under the DGSM Act, you will have until 31 December 2012 to update your current notification to meet the new requirements.
  2. Prepare a manifest: prepare a manifest of schedule 11 hazardous chemicals and keep it up to date.[2]  The manifest must be available for inspection and readily accessible to the emergency service organisation.  You will also need to give an electronic copy to WHSQ. 
  3. Display a placard: ensure that a placard is prominently displayed in accordance with schedule 13 of the WHS Regulation. Generally, you will need to locate this placard:
  • as close as is reasonably practicable to the main entrance of the building and at the entrance to each room or walled section of the building in which the hazardous chemical is used, handled or stored;  and
  • if the hazardous chemical is contained in a container or outside storage area, next to the container or the outside storage area. 

Click here to view a copy of schedule 11.

You no longer need a licence for storage of hazardous chemicals

If you store flammable or combustible liquid on your premises you would have previously been required to hold a licence issued by your local government. With the introduction of the WHS Act these licences no longer exist.  Local governments no longer regulate or enforce matters relating to the storage of flammable and combustible liquids.

There is no replacement licensing system under the WHS Act. Instead, WHSQ will be responsible for monitoring the storage of flammable and combustible liquids. Local council officers, have however, retained their role with respect to other responsibilities such as environmental licences under the environmental protection legislation.

Regardless of the WHS Act, if you own or occupy land and store petroleum products or oil in levels that amount to a notifiable activity under Schedule 3 of the Environmental Protection Act 1994 (Qld), you must notify the relevant department.

Changes to registration of plant

You will now need to only register the following items of plant from 1 January 2012[3]:

  • boilers categorised as hazard level A, B or C according to criteria in Section 2.1 of AS 4343:2005 (Pressure equipment—Hazard levels).
  • pressure vessels categorised as hazard level A, B or C according to the criteria in Section 2.1 of AS 4343:2005 (Pressure equipment—Hazard levels), except gas cylinders, LP Gas fuel vessels for automotive use, and serially produced vessels;
  • tower cranes including self-erecting tower cranes ;
  • lifts, including escalators and moving walkways;
  • building maintenance units;
  • amusement devices covered by Section 2.1 of AS 3533.1:2009 (Amusement rides and Devices), except class 1 structures stated in section 4(2);
  • concrete placement units with delivery booms; and
  • mobile cranes with a rated capacity of greater than 10 tonnes.

This means that air-conditioning units or cooling towers (unless they contain pressure vessels that satisfy the criteria above) no longer need to be registered.

Further Information

Further information on the WHS Act and WHS Regulation can be obtained by contacting us or visiting the WHSQ website. 

[1] Work Health and Safety Regulation 2011 s 348.
[2] Work Health and Safety Regulation 2011 s 347.
[3] Work Health and Safety Regulation 2011 part 2, schedule 5

The content of this publication is for reference purposes only. It is current at the date of publication. This content does not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. Legal advice about your specific circumstances should always be obtained before taking any action based on this publication.

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Daryl Clifford

Partner. Brisbane
+61 7 3228 9778


Jo-anne Atkinson

Special Counsel. Brisbane
+61 7 3228 9801