Hazardous Areas: Regulating Standards in a Global Market

Hazardous Area - Coex

Hazardous Areas. Not only are they dangerous, they’re increasingly common. And with Australia outsourcing more projects overseas, regulation has become challenging. So how do we ensure the next generation have the knowledge to work safely in a Hazardous Area?

It comes down to training. Equipment installation, maintenance and inspection to Australian Standards – these are essential competencies, especially when it comes to oil refineries, chemical plants, LNG plants, sewage treatment plants and similar facilities.

Even when operating normally, Hazardous Areas are dangerous places. Just because a facility has been designed, built and inspected to the highest standards, there’s nothing to say that an incident won’t occur. Flammable gases, vapors and combustible dusts pose ongoing risks, and without the intervention of good processes (or good luck), these elements can cause explosions, serious injuries and even casualties.

In 1998, the Esso refinery explosion in Longford, Victoria claimed the lives of two workers and injured eight. In 2008, the Varanus Island gas explosion cost the state economy up to $3 billion and took out 30% of WA’s gas supply. Where was the regulation here?

It’s impossible to speculate the exact events leading up to these tragedies, but we’re familiar with the workplace pressures that threaten to override safety. Cost overruns and schedule blowouts are no excuse to skip crucial training and other safety precautions, especially when we have new recruits entering the industry every other day.

Consider how prolific our oil and gas exploration and processing facilities have become in recent years. If Australia hasn’t already become the largest exporter of LNG in the world, we soon will be – and we have numerous gas plants poised to ramp up their capacity.

In fact, one major infrastructure project was recently exposed for sourcing low-cost, non-compliant equipment from overseas. The result? High-risk facilities going into commissioning phase and production.

While you can’t control every aspect of these facilities, you can learn the processes that lead to safer plants of this type.

At Coex Training, our Technical Training Specialists train students on the associated standards, regulations, worker competencies and risks associated with Hazardous Areas. You can learn more and enrol here.

Image supplied by The Age.