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Decommissioning and Dismantling of High Risk Plant Guideline

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Section 1 - Purpose and Scope

(1) Property and Facilities Division (P&F) has the primary duty under the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (WHS Act) to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that workers and other persons are not exposed to health and safety risks arising from its business or undertaking. To effectively control risks associated with decommissioning and dismantling of high risk plant, the decommissioning and dismantling process must be appropriately managed.

Work Health and Safety Regulation 2011, Section 204(2):

A person with management or control of plant at a workplace must ensure that:

• plant is not decommissioned or dismantled unless it can be carried out without risks to health and safety so far as is reasonably practicable.

• the person who decommissions or dismantles the plant is a competent person and is provided with all available information necessary to eliminate, or where this is not reasonably practicable, minimise risks to health and safety.

• the processes associated with the decommissioning and dismantling include inspections to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that risks associated with these activities are monitored.

(2) The purpose of this Guideline is to:

  1. assist workers to manage workplace health and safety risks posed by Decommissioning and Dismantling of High Risk Plant and
  2. establish responsibilities and actions required to manage the risks to health and safety associated with the Decommissioning, Dismantling, decontamination and/or removal of High Risk Plant, in accordance with legislative requirements and the University’s Health, Safety and Wellness Policy.

(3) This Guideline covers all UQ campuses and remote sites and applies to all High Risk plant extending from complete decommissioning, decontamination, and removal. It includes the removal of all, or a significant part of, an operating plant from service.

(4) All workers must comply with this Guideline. Contractors are required to have in place their own systems of work for decommissioning and dismantling of High Risk Plant.

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Section 2 - Risk Assessment

(5) Legislation requires that the person who decommissions or dismantles the plant is a competent person and is provided with all available information necessary to eliminate, or where this is not reasonably practicable, minimise risks to health and safety. P&F will achieve this by contracting out the decommissioning works to competent contractors as applicable.

(6) In order to provide information to contractors or UQ workers through a risk assessment process, a responsible person shall be nominated to manage any significant decommissioning, dismantling, decontamination, or removal of high risk plant. Responsible persons/Client Facility Managers must consult with their workers to identify potential WHS hazards and associated risks in connection with such work activities. Once the risks associated with decommissioning and decontamination are identified, appropriate methods must be used to eliminate or minimise workers’ exposure to the hazards and associated risks.

(7) The risk assessment should be reflective of the scope and complexity of the decommissioning, decontamination, and/or removal work. The risk assessment team shall include people with sufficient knowledge of the High Risk Plant as required.

(8) The risk assessment shall contain:

  1. Engineering Assessment - conducted to assess the structural integrity of the High Risk Plant and to understand the key design characteristics of the structure.
  2. Electrical Assessment - conducted to identify and mark out the power supply to, and the distribution of power in, the work area. This identification is essential to assess the isolation requirements and to plan for the relocation or protection of the supply to other areas of the High Risk Plant. This element of the risk assessment shall include input from qualified electrical fitters/mechanics, with sufficient knowledge of the associated electrical infrastructure, including any modifications and additions.
  3. Fire Assessment - conducted to understand the fire prevention and control measures required in the decontamination and dismantling process. Temporary changes to fire protection systems might be required. Where appropriate, input and advice may be sought by fire prevention specialist or services.
  4. Asbestos Assessment - conducted to establish the presence, type and distribution of asbestos containing materials. The assessment shall be completed with reference to the organisations asbestos register. Where asbestos removal work is required as part of the decommissioning and dismantling of the High Risk Plant, such work shall be undertaken by appropriately licensed contractors.
  5. General Health and Safety Risk Assessment - to address the impact of the work on surrounding working areas and activities. This will provide assurance that all hazards arising from interactions between the work group and UQ’s operations are identified and understood and are then eliminated or appropriately controlled.
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Section 3 - General Risk Control Requirements and Contracting out of High Risk Plant Decommissioning, Dismantling and Decontamination

(9) Access to the work areas where High Risk Plant is to be decommissioned, dismantled, or decontaminated shall be controlled and restricted. This may require security fencing, signage, and communication with affected workgroups and/or the UQ community.

(10) The High Risk Plant to be decommissioned should be clearly labelled to differentiate between working and redundant equipment. Such equipment shall be secured to prevent accidental use and to prevent it from becoming a hazard to any other operations.

(11) Equipment and energy sources shall be isolated and physically locked from re-operation or re-energising prior to any decommissioning or dismantling work commencing.

(12) P&F will engage competent contractors to decommission, decontaminate and dismantle High Risk Plant. All outputs and records from risk assessments shall be retained and made available to contractors or other workers.

(13) If the plant is to be resold, UQ/P&F will take on the duties listed in section 25 of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011; Duties of persons conducting businesses or undertakings that supply plant, substances, or structures. Any information relating to the plant design, registration, installation, operation and/or maintenance must be provided with the plant to the reseller or buyer. If the plant is to be used for scrap or spare parts, UQ/P&F must inform the person they are supplying the plant to that the plant is being supplied as scrap or spare parts and that the plant in its current form is not to be used as plant. This must be done in writing or by marking the item of plant. UQ/P&F will achieve this by providing such information to the contractors engaged for the decommissioning work.

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Section 4 - Record Keeping

(14) Records of risk assessments and all relevant information about the High Risk Plant (provided to the contractors) must be maintained by P&F. Records should also be used to update the High Risk Plant registers for local precincts.

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Section 5 - Appendix


Term Definition
High Risk Plant • Air conditioning unit,
• Amusement device;
• Cooling tower;
• Escalator;
• Lift; and/or
• LP gas cylinder.
Air Conditioning Unit A unit of plant that provides air conditioning and that either:

• incorporates a cooling tower; or
• consists of 1 or more compressors and the power rating required for operation of the air conditioning unit is 50kW or more.
Amusement Device • Used for commercial purposes; and
• used or designed to be used for amusement, games, recreation, sightseeing or entertainment, and on which persons may be carried, raised, lowered, or supported by any part of the device (including, for example, any car, carriage, platform, cage, boat, plank, chair, seat, or thing) while the part of the device is in motion.
Cooling Tower A device for lowering the temperature of water by evaporative cooling in which atmospheric air passes through sprayed water exchanging heat, and includes a device incorporating a refrigerant or water heat exchanger.
Escalator A power driven inclined continuous stairway used for raising or lowering passengers and includes a moving walkway.
Lift Any machinery:

• having a platform or cage the direction or movement of which is restricted by a guide or guides; and
• used or designed for use for raising or lowering persons, goods or materials (and includes any and all machinery, supports, and enclosures) and all equipment of them (whether or not detachable) used or designed for use for operating a lift.
LP Gas Cylinder A cylinder with a water capacity of more than 0.1kg that contains liquefied petroleum gas under pressure.