When is a dangerous goods site also a major hazard facility (MHF)?

What is a major hazard facility (MHF)?

A site is a major hazard facility (MHF) if:

  • it stores, handles or processes quantities of specified dangerous goods that exceed specified threshold quantities


  • a major incident could occur at that place


  • the department’s Chief Dangerous Goods Officer has determined it to be an MHF.

Examples of MHFs include:

  • oil refineries
  • gas processing plants
  • large chemical manufacturing
  • large LP gas storage and distribution facilities.

These sites are specifically identified because of the potential for explosions, fires, chemical releases or other events to affect surrounding areas, and the need for a sophisticated safety management system to adequately address the risks.

Explosives storage sites will not be classified as MHFs in the absence of other dangerous goods, but explosives manufacturing operations may be.

Similarly, dangerous goods sites involving only storage are not classified as MHFs.

Further information:

  • “Major incident” means an incident that causes serious harm to people, property or the environment, such as an emission of a Schedule 1 substance, a loss of containment of a Schedule 1 substance, a fire, an explosion, or a release of energy.
  • Schedule 1 substances are those listed in Schedule 1 of both the Dangerous Goods Safety (Storage and Handling of Non-explosives) Regulations 2007 and Dangerous Good Safety (Major Hazard Facilities) Regulations 2007.

What legislation applies to MHFs in Western Australia?

The legislation requires MHFs to have a dangerous goods licence and comply with the specific MHF regulations as well as the applicable storage and handling, explosives and security risk substances regulations.

The MHF regulations incorporate the principles of the National Standard for the Control of Major Hazard Facilities 2002 with some modifications to accommodate local needs and reflect experience gained since the development of the National Standard.

The National Standard for the Control of Major Hazard Facilities 2002 is available from Safe Work Australia.

Operators must demonstrate that measures have been taken to identify all foreseeable major incidents, their likelihood and consequences, and must justify the adequacy of the control measures used to minimise risk (both onsite and offsite).

Requirement to notify Chief Officer if critical quantity exceeded

Sites that intend to have quantities of dangerous goods greater than the critical quantity (10% of the threshold quantity of Schedule 1 substances) are required to notify the department’s Chief Officer. The formal notification will be assessed to determine whether the site is classified as a MHF. The Chief Officer should also be notified before any significant change to an existing site.

Overview of storage and handling regulations - information sheet - 510 Kb

This document is for guidance only and the definitive statutory requirements are contained in the Dangerous Goods Safety (Storage and Handling of Non-Explosives) Regulations 2007 (the Storage and Handling Regulations).

Licensing and exemptions for storage and handling - guidance note - 194 Kb

This guidance note will assist people wishing to store, handle or process dangerous goods in Western Australia to determine whether licensing applies and, if so, what information is required for the licensing process.

Operator notification that critical quantity of Schedule 1 substances will be exceeded - 794 Kb

This form should be completed by the operator of a place that is not a classified major hazard facility if the operator intends to store or handle more than the critical quantity of Schedule 1 substances.

Determining if a site’s dangerous goods inventory exceeds the critical quantity

Schedule 1 substances at a site may exceed the critical quantity if the operator has decided to:

  • implement a change to plant or a process, or
  • introduce new plant or a process.

If Schedule 1 substances are likely to be present, the next step is to calculate the site’s inventory of Schedule 1 substances and determine whether it exceeds the critical quantity.

Important note: Regulations 7, 8, 9 and 10, and Tables 1 and 2 of Schedule 1 of the Dangerous Goods Safety (Major Hazard Facilities) Regulations 2007 describe the requirements for determining whether the critical quantity of Schedule 1 substances is or will be exceeded.

Does a site’s dangerous goods inventory exceed the critical quantity? Information on determining the inventory of Schedule 1 substances and calculating the critical quantity.