Major Hazard Facilities - additional duties

PCBUs must involve their workers in workplace health and safety. It is easier to achieve a safe and healthy workplace when everybody works together to identify hazards and risks, and find solutions.

The Major Hazard Facilities Regulations 2016 set out additional engagement and participation requirements for operators of major hazard facilities.

Duties under HSWA

PCBUs have two related duties, no matter what their size or risk profile: to engage with workers and to enable workers to participate in improving health and safety. You must:

  1. ensure that workers’ views on health and safety matters are asked for and taken into account
  2. have clear, effective, and ongoing ways for workers to suggest improvements or raise concerns on a day-to-day basis.

These duties only extend to workers who carry out work for the PCBU.

Together with your workers, you can determine the best way to meet these two related duties. What’s reasonable and effective will depend on:

  • workers’ views and needs,
  • the size of your business
  • the nature of its risks.

Additional duties under the major hazard facilities regulations

Under HSWA, the duties to engage and to provide opportunities for workers to participate apply only to workers who carry out work for the business or undertaking.

Under the Major Hazard Facilities (MHF) Regulations 2016(external link), you must engage with, and make sure there is participation of, workers and any worker representatives who are:

  • identifiable at the time
  • working, or likely to be working, at the MHF.

These are stronger requirements than the engagement and participation duties placed on PCBUs under HSWA. The set of workers the duties apply to also differ. The engagement and participation duties under HSWA only apply to workers who carry out work for the business or undertaking. In comparison, the duties under the MHF Regulations apply to any identifiable worker ‘working, or likely to be working’ at the MHF.

The Major Hazard Facilities Regulations 2016(external link) also sets out requirements for operators of major hazard facilities (MHF) to ensure there is engagement with, and participation of, workers in the following key processes:

  • developing and revising the emergency plan
  • designing and implementing the safety management system
  • preparing and revising a major accident prevention policy for a lower tier MHF
  • conducting a safety assessment for an upper tier MHF
  • preparing or revising a safety case for an upper tier MHF.

Workers who must be involved in these key processes include workers and their representatives who are:

  • identified as workers at the time the key processes are being developed, prepared or revised
  • working, or likely to be working, at the MHF.

These are stronger requirements than the engagement and participation duties placed on PCBUs under HSWA.