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Petroleum & Gas Inspectorate | Bulletin | No.14 V 2.0 | 21 July 2021

Chemical Management

What happened?

Recent inspections across oil & gas field operations have identified a lack of awareness with hazardous chemical management and training. This includes identification and recognition of hazardous components such as respirable crystalline silica.

How did it happen?

On 1 January 2021, Australia began a two-year transition to Global Harmonisation Scheme (GHS) 7. GHS is a globalised method for classifying chemicals and preparing labels and safety data sheets (SDS).  It gives users practical, consistent and easy to understand information about chemical hazards and management.

Key issues

  • Documentation is not current or readily available to workers: handling and storing hazardous chemicals at the workplace,  hazardous chemical registers, safety data sheets and risk assessments.
  • Limited understanding of requirements in managing hazardous chemical and Australia’s current transition to GHS 7.
  • Crystalline silica is a mineral found in most rocks, sands, clays and products such as concrete products and some drilling muds. If microscopic respirable crystalline silica particles contained in drilling muds become airborne, they can be inhaled and lodge within the lungs. Over time and further exposure this can result in a lung disease called Silicosis.

Recommendations

The Executive Safety Manager must ensure the operator of the plant has, for each stage of the plant, an approved safety management system  which is implemented to effectively manage the risks associated with the plant. This includes ensuring:

  • All information used to manage hazardous chemicals is current and available e.g. hazardous chemical register, chemicals are classified under GHS with an updated SDS, risk assessment and supporting procedures.
  • Information, training, instruction and supervision is provided to workers including supervisors, who may be exposed to hazardous chemicals (s675(g),(h) Petroleum and Gas (Production and Safety) Act 2004).
  • Health monitoring is conducted where there is risk of exposure for a worker using, storing or handling restricted hazardous chemicals (s675(e)(s) Petroleum and Gas (Production and Safety) Act 2004).
  • Review current practices to ascertain risk/s associated with worker exposure to Respirable Crystalline Silica. Specific controls are required to manage RCS exposure
  • Emergency management includes hazardous chemical response and equipment (s675(l)) Petroleum and Gas (Production and Safety) Act 2004).

References and further information

Key considerations

Both the Petroleum and Gas (Production and Safety) Act 2004 and Work Health and Safety Act 2011 regulates:

  • construction work for a stage of operating plant or proposed operating plant unless the work is commissioning of an operating plant or when rigging up or rigging down drilling operating plant.
  • handling and use of hazardous chemicals.
  • petroleum and gas authorised activities.

Authorised by Bill Date - Chief Inspector – Petroleum & Gas

Contact: Don Harris, Principal Inspector, Drilling , +61 7 4531 8521

Issued by Resources Safety & Health Queensland

Safety: This information is a guide only and is issued to promote safety through experience. It is not to be taken as a statement of law and must not be construed to waive or modify any legal obligation.
Placement: Place this announcement on noticeboards and ensure all relevant people in your organisation receive a copy.