The regulatory framework that applies to dangerous chemicals in Victoria is complex, with multiple aspects overlapping. A contributor to this complexity is that during their life cycle, chemicals can be classified in different ways, under different regulatory frameworks, with each framework having distinct but overlapping compliance obligations.
High profile incidents, like the recent chemical warehouse fires and the discovery of illegal stockpiles of dangerous chemicals, clearly indicate that the current dangerous goods regulatory frameworks in Victoria are not working effectively. The Victorian Government is conducting a comprehensive review of the Victoria’s dangerous goods laws, to assess whether they are fit for purpose. The “independent reviewer” Andrew Palmer QC is overseeing this process. A consultation paper was issued in October 2020. The objective of the consultation paper was to promote public discussion about the regulation of dangerous goods in Victoria. It takes readers through the regulatory framework, the current dangerous goods landscape and then poses a list of questions. The paper doesn’t present answers but points to possible substantial change, such as a performance-based regime with a principal duty to reduce risks “so far as reasonably practicable”. The Review’s final report and recommendations to the Minister for Workplace Safety are expected in mid-2021. Whatever the outcome of the review, there will likely be legislative changes that affect businesses working with dangerous chemicals. With expert knowledge in the storage and handling of dangerous goods and managing the risks of these activities, R4Risk can provide the expertise and advice necessary to assess the impact of such changes on your business.
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