If your workplace stores compressed gases in cylinders you’ll need to follow the guidelines of AS4332-2004 – The Storage and Handling of Gases in Cylinders to control all the hazards associated with the cylinders.
To do this effectively your organisation should use a risk management methodology to ensure that you understand each of the hazards and the risks they present to your operations. This blog introduces the STOREMASTA risk management methodology Identify – Assess – Control – Sustain, showing how each of the steps work to ensure your workplace is always compliant with Australian WHS safety legislation.
What is a risk management methodology?
Risk management is a step-by-step process that considers everything that could possibly go wrong at your worksite as well as the consequences of those dangerous events. Each dangerous event or hazard is carefully assessed and then control measures are introduced to reduce the likelihood the event occurring (or minimise the harm if it did).
The STOREMASTA risk management methodology has four steps to ensure that nothing gets missed, and nothing is left to chance. The whole process includes regular reviews to make sure that safety compliance is sustained.
Let’s take a closer look at the four steps which must be completed in order to guarantee each cylinder hazard is identified and suitable control measures implemented.
Keeping your workplace compliant
To keep your workplace compliant with WHS safety legislation in Australia, you need to do more than just work through each of the steps in the methodology – once. Worksites are dynamic places and both operating methods and staff change regularly, so Step 4: SUSTAIN is critical for identifying those changes and maintaining compliance.
It’s essential to conduct a follow-up risk assessment to review the control measures you have implemented and make sure they are working. Your follow up risk assessment for the cylinder hazards at your worksite should consider:
- Any new cylinder hazards introduced by the control measures
- Any gas cylinders and hazards that were overlooked during your first risk assessment
- If there has been a change in the number of safety incidents involving compressed gases
- Whether staff are correctly handling the gas cylinders and using appropriate PPE
Additional risk assessments should also be conducted as changes are introduced to the workplace: things like a change in management, staff turnover, introducing new gases to the workplace, or using a new gas cylinder supplier.
Documenting the risk management process is an important part of sustaining compliance. Apart from having records on hand to demonstrate your WHS actions and the control measures you have introduced, good documentation allows you to:
- Create a schedule for follow up risk assessments, WHS audits and cylinder maintenance.
- Track the effectiveness of staff training and target key areas where staff need specialised training. For example if handling toxic and corrosive gases.
- Easily review risks after changes to legislation, the supply chain, or the way gases are manufactured.
- Quickly check all the gases, cylinder types, quantities and their locations at the worksite.
- Monitor holding stocks of cylinders, so you can take action if they change the status of your workplace in or out of ‘minor storage’.**
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**As cylinder quantities increase or decrease your responsibilities under AS4332-2004 – The storage and handling of gases in cylinders can change. The Standard specifies a threshold known as ‘minor storage’ and once your cylinder quantities exceed this threshold different sections of the Standard will apply.
Article originally published by STOREMASTA