Feedback sought on safe storage of ammonium nitrate
SafeWork NSW is seeking feedback on safety measures that will strengthen the current regulation of ammonium nitrate storage and has encouraged the community to ‘Have Your Say’ on the issue. Acting Head of SafeWork Andrew Gavrielatos said the consultation period is open on a proposal to introduce mandatory separation distances between ammonium nitrate facilities and surrounding infrastructure, to add an extra level of protection for communities and workers.
Gavrielatos said that while NSW has a strong multi-agency regulatory regime for the storage of explosives and explosive precursors like ammonium nitrate, this proposal would strengthen the regime and raise NSW safety standards to the same level as other Australian states. Gavrielatos said that the consultation aims to strengthen the regulatory framework and ensure clarity and consistency for industry. The proposal applies to 17 current ammonium nitrate storage facilities regulated by SafeWork NSW, including eight major hazard facilities, and will include any new facilities regulated by SafeWork NSW.
According to Gavrielatos, under NSW legislation all storage of ammonium nitrate requires a licence from SafeWork NSW. Quantities of ammonium nitrate that exceed 2500 tonnes of ammonium nitrate or 5000 tonnes of ammonium nitrate fertilisers also require a major hazard facility licence.
“Although there is unlikely to be an incident at an ammonium nitrate facility, international incidents such as the explosion in Beirut two years ago show that the consequences can be catastrophic when ammonium nitrate is stored too close to residential, industrial and other public infrastructure. The purpose of this consultation is to give all stakeholders an opportunity to provide feedback and to identify any concerns. This is to ensure regulation of the storage of ammonium nitrate considers all relevant matters, including any economic and social impacts,” Gavrielatos said.
To give feedback on the proposal for safer storage of ammonium nitrate, visit: www.haveyoursay.nsw.gov.au/ammonium-nitrate-safety. Consultations close on 3 November 2022.
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