Public comments received on plant safety regulation

Monday, 06 July, 2009

Safe Work Australia has received a total of 64 submissions from a wide range of stakeholders in response to the public discussion paper on the Safety Requirements for the Design, Manufacture and Conformity Assessment of Plant.

Tom Phillips AM, Chair of the Safe Work Australia Council, said that an initial review of responses has revealed a strong preference to retain the current system of plant regulation and to using technical standards to demonstrate conformity: “The public comment process sought opinions on a wide range of issues relating to the current National Standard for Plant and invited suggestions to improve the effectiveness of plant regulation. The paper proposed to regulate plant design using Essential Safety Outcomes (ESOs) supported by a conformity assessment process.”

The submissions suggest regulating plant design using ESOs is not generally supported at this stage. Stakeholders have clearly communicated a preference to work within the current plant standard framework, particularly the central role of technical standards, to address the identified issues.

Phillips said many of the responses indicated ESOs would be favourably considered if they were used to support plant regulations rather than define the safety requirements: “Safe Work Australia was pleased by the level of interest in the process, demonstrated by the number of responses and the range of stakeholder groups represented. The responses will continue to be analysed to determine if preferences vary between industry groups such as manufacturers, importers or regulators.”

After final analysis of submissions, a proposal for improving plant regulation will be developed and provided to the Safe Work Australia Council for consideration. The submissions can be downloaded from safeworkaustralia.gov.au.

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