Safety cases

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Petroleum operator

A safety case must be in force before any petroleum or geothermal energy operations are commenced or undertaken. The safety case outlines the:

  • type of facility and the activities undertaken
  • types of safety studies undertaken
  • results of those studies
  • safety management arrangements to address the findings of those studies
  • emergency response plan (ERP) for the facility.

The content of the safety case is the basis against which WorkSafe Petroleum Safety inspectors (inspectors) will conduct periodic inspections and assessments of the operator’s activities on the facility. It should cover all activities likely to take place on the facility, including those of all workers. Workers under the WHS Act includes contractors and subcontractors.

In the event of an accident or incident, the safety case may form part of evidence in legal proceedings. A safety case accepted by the regulator must be in force for all phases of the operation, including:

  • construction
  • commissioning and operations
  • modifications, upgrades and significant changes to the facilities
  • decommissioning.

The operator must ensure that there is a process in place for the smooth transition for update, review and acceptance of the safety case before any prescribed activity commences on the facility.

If new or increased risks are identified that are not adequately covered in the safety case, then a person must not engage in that operation until the safety case is updated, reviewed and accepted by the regulator.

Petroleum and geothermal energy operations interpretive guidelines

These interpretive guidelines will assist onshore and offshore petroleum, pipeline and geothermal energy operators in the development and submission of a safety case.

Download interpretive guidelines  

Further information

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