Public Consultation on the Proposed WSH (Major Hazard Installations) Regulations

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Ministry of Manpower (Occupational Safety and Health Division)

Consultation Period: 04 Jan 2016 - 31 Jan 2016
Status: Closed - Summary of Responses
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Consultation Outcome

SUMMARY OF RESPONSES TO FEEDBACK FROM PUBLIC CONSULTATION ON THE PROPOSED WORKPLACE SAFETY AND HEALTH (MAJOR HAZARD INSTALLATIONS)(“MHI”) REGULATIONS

1. In January 2016, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) invited the public to provide feedback on the proposed WorkplaceSafety and Health (Major Hazard Installations) Regulations (MHI Regulations). The objective of the proposed Regulations is to implement a Safety Case regime and streamline existing Workplace Safety and Health (WSH) regulatory requirementsfor MHIs.

2. The Ministry is heartened to have received constructive feedback from the industry, public sector agencies and safety professionals operating locally as well as overseas. MOM would like to thank everyone who has participated in the consultation exercise for the proposed MHI Regulations.

MOM’S RESPONSES TO KEY FEEDBACK

3. Respondents were generally supportive of the proposed Regulations and suggested refinements and the development of guidelines on the Safety Case regime to aid the industry in complying with the Regulations.

4. MOM will incorporate some of the suggestions in the proposed Regulations. In support of the Regulations, MOM will issue a “Guide to WSH (MHI) Regulations” that will assist Occupiers in the interpretation of the Regulations and a “Safety Case Technical Guidance” that will set out the technical requirements of Safety Case.

5. MOM would like to take this opportunity to provide our responses to the key feedback received.

Definitions

6.Respondents have suggested refinements to some of the definitions used in the proposed Regulations which MOM has adopted. For example, the definition of Emergency Response Plan has been amended to be aligned with the Fire Safety (Petroleum and Flammable Materials)Regulations and an Emergency Action Plan under the Environmental Protection andManagement (Hazardous Substances) Regulations.

Registration of MHIs

MHI and Existing MHIs[1]

7. Respondents sought clarity on registration requirements for new and existing MHIs. We would like to inform that when the MHI Regulations come into force on 1 September 2017, factories deemed as MHI will no longer be required to be registered under the WSH (Registration of Factories) Regulations (ROF Regulations) and instead be required to apply for an MHI certificate of registration under the MHI Regulations and allowed to continue their operations.

8. Registration under the MHI Regulations will be via LicenceOne, the government-wide licensing portal for businesses,similar to the current process for ROF Registration.

Safety Case Submission and Review

9.Respondents noted that a Safety Case is required with the application for MHI registration and expressed concern that existing MHIs do not have sufficient lead time to prepare their Safety Cases.  Respondents also enquired on the time required for assessment of the Safety Case application.

10. We would like to clarify that existing MHIs would be allowed to continue their operations as an MHI upon submission of the registration application. Unlike registration applications for new MHIs, existing MHIs do not need to submit a Safety Case at the point of application. Existing MHIs would be informed of the date by which they need to submit their Safety Case.

11. Assessment of a Safety Case application would usually take 6 months from date of submission, should the MHImeet or exceed assessment criteria stipulated in the Guidance through onsite verifications of the Safety Case.

Review of Safety Case

12. Respondents proposed that the criteria for review of the Safety Case be limited to areas where there are material changes. We have taken in the suggestion and refined the criteria to changes with significant repercussions.

13. For modifications of MHIs, MHI could seek consultations with MOM to ascertain if it requires Safety Case reviews.Details would be covered in the Guidelines.

Provision of Information

14. Whilst respondents acknowledged the importance of information sharing, they also expressed concern on the confidentiality and sought clarity on the type of information required to be shared. We would like to clarify that MHIs are not expected to share information that would compromise confidentiality.

15. The information required to be shared with the neighbouring workplaces would be limited to those deemed critical and necessary for them to understand the nature of hazards and the extent of effects that their premises may be exposed to in the event of a major accident. The information provided should be sufficient to allow neighbouring workplaces to incorporate in their risk management processes and emergency response plans. The “Guide to WSH (MHI)Regulations” would provide further explanation on the list of information (listed in the Fourth Schedule of the Regulations) to be provided to the neighbouring workplaces for designated workplaces.

Notification and Reporting of Incidents

16. Respondents sought clarification on the notification and reporting of incidents. They queried on the scope of incidents which requires notification and reporting to the Commissioner. At the same time, they were concerned whether the time frame and method of reporting of incidents would be similar to the existing reporting requirements under the WSH(Incident Reporting) Regulations.

17. We would like to share that the intent of notification and reporting of incidents is to alert regulators on potential systemic issues within MHIs and to share the learning points from the incidents. We have considered the suggestions related to the coverage of incidents carefully and would provide more guidance in the Guide to WSH (MHI) Regulations. We would also like to clarify that the time frame for all notification and reporting of incidents is similar to the existing requirements under the WSH (Incident Reporting) Regulations and it will be done using the same system.

CONCLUSION

18. Once again, we would like to thank all stakeholders and members of the public who have participated in the consultation exercise. The feedback received has helped to refine the proposed MHI Regulations and contribute to building safer and healthier workplaces for all.

[1] Existing MHIs are factories which are deemed as MHI but whose operation commenced before the Regulations comes into force.

Aim

  1. The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) is inviting members of the public to give feedback on the proposed Workplace Safety and Health (Major Hazard Installations) Regulations.
Background

Ministry of Manpower (Occupational Safety and Health Division)
  1. Major Hazard Installations (MHIs) generally comprise petroleum refining, chemicals processing and manufacturing facilities and facilities where large quantities of toxic and flammable substances are stored or used. These installations handle large volumes of highly hazardous chemicals in a complex operating environment and the consequence of any accident could be catastrophic.

  2. The increasingly complex and integrated nature of MHIs in Singapore calls for a more coordinated and holistic approach in regulating MHIs. During MOM's Committee of Supply (COS) debate in March 2015, the Government announced its intention to introduce a set of MHI Regulations under the Workplace Safety and Health Act (WSH Act) to implement a Safety Case regime and streamline existing Safety, Health and Environment (SHE) regulatory requirements for MHIs.

OBJECTIVE OF THE PROPOSED WSH (MAJOR HAZARD INSTALLATIONS) REGULATIONS

  1. The Safety Case regime is a regulatory tool used to manage MHIs in countries with established SHE regimes, such as EU member states and Australia. MHIs process, handle and store dangerous substances, which, if at or above a threshold quantity, possess the potential to cause major accidents. Hence, occupiers are required to develop a Safety Case which outlines and integrates all SHE protocols of an MHI, and demonstrate to the authorities that they have managed their risks arising from the processes and dangerous substance inventories, to as low as reasonably practicable (ALARP). This allows MHIs the flexibility to tailor their risk mitigating measures to best suit their needs.

  2. The proposed WSH (MHI) Regulations thus aims to:

    1. Place responsibility on MHIs to demonstrate to the authorities, at regular intervals, that essential measures have been taken to prevent and limit the consequences of major accidents in their facilities; and

    2. Mitigate the consequence of potential domino effects through active sharing of information among MHIs.

KEY PROVISIONS

  1. The key provisions of the proposed WSH (Major Hazard Installations) Regulations are as follows:

    1. Registration of MHIs
      Under the proposed Regulations, workplaces which carry out specific trade activities and possess dangerous substances at or above a specified threshold quantity will need to be registered as MHIs prior to operations. An MHI certification of registration will be granted upon the submission of the Safety Case to the Commissioner and the acceptance of the Safety Case.

    2. Safety Case submission and review
      The proposed Regulations will place duties on the occupier of MHIs to maintain and submit a Safety Case for assessment once in every five years. Occupiers are also required to review the Safety Case when there are new facts, knowledge or changes which could have significant repercussions with respect to the prevention of major accidents or limitation of consequence of major accidents. This ensures that the Safety Case would be kept relevant and up to date.

    3. Mandatory sharing of information
      To manage potential domino effects in the event of an accident, MHIs will be required under the proposed Regulations to share information pertaining to the nature and extent of risks imposed on other installations within the cluster and to other workplaces within the affected area. This will allow neighbouring sites to take these additional risks into account in their risk management processes and emergency response plans.

    4. Notification and reporting of incidents
      The proposed Regulations will require MHIs to notify and report any process-related incidents which have led to an explosion, fire or release of dangerous substances, even if there were no personnel injured. This serves to alert regulators on potential systemic issues within industries which we can then inform and share lessons learnt with the rest of the industries.

  2. The draft Regulations are attached in Annex A.

PERIOD OF INDUSTRY CONSULTATION

  1. The industry consultation exercise will last for four weeks, from 4 January 2016 to 31 January 2016.

FEEDBACK CHANNEL

  1. We seek your support to ensure that the consultation exercise is productive and focused. We would like to request that respondents follow these guidelines:
    1. a) Identify yourself and the organisation you represent (if any) – This will help us understand the impact of the proposed changes on different stakeholder groups.

    2. Make your comments clear and concise.

    3. Focus your comments on how the provisions and features can be improved or made clearer.

    4. As far as possible, explain your points with illustrations and examples.

  2. Your feedback is important to us. To enable your feedback to reach us more quickly, we strongly encourage you to submit your feedback through this email address: mom_oshd_consultation@mom.gov.sg, with the subject heading “Consultation on Proposed WSH (Major Hazard Installations) Regulations”, using the template for submission of feedback at Annex B.

  3. Alternatively, you can also send your comments to us via:

    1. Fax: 6535 6726; or

    2. Post: Ministry of Manpower
      Occupational Safety and Health Division
      1500 Bendemeer Road #03-02
      Singapore 339946.
      Attn: Ms Charlene Liew

SUMMARY OF RESPONSES

  1. We regret that we will not be able to individually acknowledge or address every comment we receive. However, we will consolidate and publish a summary of the key comments received, together with our responses, on the REACH website following the close of the consultation exercise. The summary will not disclose the identity of person(s) providing the feedback, to maintain confidentiality of the feedback received.

DOCUMENTS TO DOWNLOAD

  1. For your convenience, the relevant documents relating to this public consultation exercise can be downloaded for further reference.