Manifest quantity workplaces (MQW) use, store and handle relatively large quantities of hazardous chemicals and have extra safety obligations.
Find out if your place of work is an MQW.
What is a manifest quantity workplace?
A manifest quantity workplace (MQW) refers to a workplace which stores, handles or uses hazardous chemicals in quantities that exceed or are likely to exceed the prescribed manifest quantities in column 5, Schedule 11 in the Work Health and Safety Regulation 2011 (WHS Regulation).
MQWs are recognised under the WHS Regulation as workplaces where relatively large quantities of hazardous chemicals are used, stored and handled. Additional safety obligations apply to MQWs.
Examples of MQWs
|Service stations/fuel retailers||Petrol >2500 L|
|Fuel depots and distributors||Petrol > 2500 L and/or Diesel >100 000 L|
|Engineering works and gas depots||LP Gas >5000 L, Industrial Gases >10 000 L|
|Water and sewage treatment plants||Chlorine gas >500 L, Corrosives >10 000 L|
|Power stations||Various >10 000 L|
|Chemical manufacturers and formulators||Various >10 000 L|
|Grain depots||Fumigant gases >500 L|
|Health care and aged care facilities, hospitals||LP Gas >5 000 L|
|Industrial manufacturing||Various >10 000 L|
|Warehousing, transport depots||Various >10 000 L|
|Fibreglass manufacturing e.g. pools, boats||Flammable solvents >2500 L|
|Bitumen plants||Kerosene >10 000 L|
|Biofuel manufacturers||Ethanol >2 500 or Biodiesel >100,000|
|Cold stores, food product processing||Refrigerant gas (Ammonia) > 500 L|
|Rural chemical suppliers and distributors||Toxic substances >2500 kg or L, can be as low as 500 kg or L|
Additional MQW safety obligations include:
- preparing a manifest and site plan for use by emergency services.
- providing the emergency plan to the QFRS for review of the HAZMAT incident management systems.
- notifying WHSQ of the existence of the MQW and providing certain information.
Preparing a manifest and site plan
A manifest is a written summary of specific types of hazardous chemicals with physicochemical hazards and acute toxicity that are used, handled or stored at a workplace. It contains more detailed information than a register of hazardous chemicals as its primary purpose is to provide emergency services organisations with information on the quantity, classification and location of hazardous chemicals at the workplace. It also contains information such as site plans and emergency contact details.
The manifest must comply with the requirements of Schedule 12 of the WHS Regulation and it must be updated as soon as practicable after any change to the amount or types of chemicals being used, stored, handled or generated at the workplace.
For guidance on the content and preparation of a manifest and site plan, refer to Manifest requirements for hazardous chemicals (PDF, 1.04 MB). This guide provides an example manifest and site plan. There is also a self-assessment checklist provided.
The sample manifest for hazardous chemicals (DOC, 0.34 MB) provides assistance to develop a manifest that meets the requirements of Schedule 12 of the WHS Regulation.
Regardless of controls put in place to prevent incidents occurring in your workplace, they can still occur. For example, people can be exposed to chemicals requiring immediate medical treatment, a fire can start or a loss of containment can occur. It is therefore necessary to be prepared for any foreseeable incident.
Refer to emergency planning for hazardous chemicals for further information including a link to QFRS for lodging an emergency plan for a MQW.
Under section 348 of the WHS Regulation, a person conducting a business or undertaking must submit a notification to WHSQ for a MQW. This notification requires a copy of the manifest and site plan to be included with the notification.
Under section 536 of the WHS Regulation, the operator of a facility storing or handling Schedule 15 chemicals in quantities that may exceed 10 per cent of the prescribed quantity must submit a notification. MQWs may need to consider this notification if they have materials identified in Schedule 15.
If your workplace holds or uses a lot of chemicals it may qualify as a MQW, and very large MQWs may then meet the criteria of a major hazard facility (MHF).
Why does a PCBU have to notify of a MQW?
WHSQ collects information about the hazardous chemicals at workplaces for a number of reasons including:
- reviewing manifest and site plan information to help ensure the regulatory requirements are met to assist emergency services
- providing notified information to QFRS to assist HAZMAT emergency responses and planning
- assisting WHSQ to prioritise hazardous chemical regulatory activities
- assisting WHSQ to develop targeted hazardous chemical audit campaigns
- assisting with the evaluation of workplace health and safety risks to workers and members of the public from hazardous chemicals.