Safety regulations

Introduction

All onshore petroleum proposals (proposals) in Western Australia (WA) are assessed by the Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety (DMIRS) under the Petroleum and Geothermal Energy Resources Act 1967.

Petroleum operators must submit an Environment Plan, Safety Management System, and Well Management Plan to DMIRS for each proposed activity. Proposals may also require assessment by and approvals from other government agencies.

To ensure safety risks are responsibly managed during each stage of activity, DMIRS requires operators to implement best practice management measures and demonstrate risks will be managed to ‘as low as reasonably practicable’ (ALARP).

Safety regulations

Safety Regulations cover all safety risks which may occur at surface level.

The Petroleum and Geothermal Energy Resources (Management of Safety) Regulations 2010 (the regulations) require that all petroleum activities have an approved Safety Management System (SMS).

SMS is a detailed, legally binding management document, assessed by DMIRS, which must identify:

  • Causes and consequences of hazards and major accident events and their associated risks
  • The selection of strategies and measures to control and mitigate risks.

Reporting and monitoring

DMP inspectors appointed under the Petroleum and Geothermal Energy Resources Act 1967 and Petroleum (Submerged Lands) Act 1982 conduct rigorous safety compliance audits and inspections of petroleum activities in WA. These audits and inspections ensure activities are conducted in accordance with the approved SMS and that best practice management is being implemented.

Further to the above, it is a legislative requirement of all petroleum operators in WA to self-audit their activities to ensure safety impacts and risks are managed appropriately and are continuously reduced as ‘low as reasonably practicable’.

Reporting of accidents

Operators are required to inform DMIRS of an accident or dangerous occurrence as soon as it happens. Following this, the operator must undertake an investigation into the incident and report the outcomes of the investigation to the department.

Where required, DMIRS also undertakes independent investigations and provides recommendations to the operator.

Risk management requirements

Element SMS requirement
Hazard identification
  • Identify major potential accident events
  • Identify hazards and potential consequences
Risk assessment
  • Assess the potential consequences for each hazard which could lead to a major accident event
  • Assess the likelihood of each hazard which could lead to a major accident event
  • Determine the risk for the major accident event, taking into account the control measures in place
Control measures
  • Identify and select all reasonably practicable control measures
  • Identify potential additional control measures
  • Identify performance indicators and performance standards for selected control measures
  • Ensure all reasonably practicable control measures to reduce the risk associated with each major accident event have been considered
Safety management
system (SMS)
  • Detail the elements of the SMS
  • Define how the organisation is set up to manage risk
  • Identify workplace risk and implement suitable controls
  • mplement effective communications across all levels of the organisation
  • Implement a process to identify and correct non-conformities
  • Implement a continuous improvement process
Evidence of ‘as
low as reasonably
practicable’
  • Demonstrate a process that identifies and reduces risks using the ‘ALARP’ principle
  • Document where risk has been reduced by implementation of appropriate control measure
  • Document where the cost of the control measure far exceeds the potential risk to personnel Health and Safety

 

For more information check out What is RADARS?

Safety regulations - 796 Kb

An explanation of how safety risks are managed during petroleum activities