SafeWork NSW is consulting on safety measures that will strengthen the current regulation of ammonium nitrate storage and is encouraging the community to speak on the matter.
Acting Head of SafeWork, Andrew Gavrielatos, said the consultation period is now 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.
“New South Wales has a strong multi-agency regulatory regime for the storage of explosives and explosive precursors like ammonium nitrate,” said Gavrielatos.
“This proposal would strengthen that regime and raise NSW safety standards to the same level as other Australian states.
“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.
“This ‘Have Your Say’ proposes to strengthen an already robust regulatory framework and ensure clarity and consistency for industry.
“Under NSW legislation all storage of ammonium nitrate requires a licence from SafeWork NSW. Quantities of ammonium nitrate that exceed 2,500 tonnes of ammonium nitrate or 5,000 tonnes of ammonium nitrate fertilisers also require a major hazard facility licence.
“The proposal will apply 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.
“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.”