Energy Safety Report Released

Richard RobinsonALARP & SFAIRP, Safety Due Diligence

The Release of the Final Report and Government Response – Review of Victoria’s Electricity and Gas Network Safety Framework has occurred and is available at https://engage.vic.gov.au/electricity-network-safety-review.

R2A is quoted a number of times in the report.

Two of the key recommendations, supported in principle by the government, are:

34   All energy safety legislation should be consolidated in a single new energy safety Act, replacing the Gas Safety Act 1997, Electricity Safety Act 1998, those elements of the Pipelines Act 2005 that relate to safety, and the Energy Safe Victoria Act 2005.

35   The general safety duties within the new consolidated energy safety legislation should be based around a consistent application of the principle that risks should be reduced so far as is “reasonably practicable” aligning with the definition adopted in the Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004. 

Recommendation 35 does not sit well with a significant number of Australian Standards which continue to use an ALARP (as low as reasonably practicable) approach, supported by a target or tolerable level of risk and safety instead of the ‘so far as is reasonably practicable’ approach of the 2004 Victoria OHS Act and the model WHS legislation adopted in almost all other Australian jurisdictions, and in New Zealand.

Such standards particularly include AS2885 (the pipeline standard), AS5577 (electricity network safety), AS (IEC) 61508 (functional safety) and its derivatives.

R2A has previously commented on this issue. We (also) regularly have had to overturn the ALARP approach in these standards based on relevant legal advice.

I’ll be presenting the basis for this need to the Chemeca 2018 conference in Queenstown on 2nd October in a session entitled: Gas Pipelines and the Changing Face of Australian Energy Regulation.