Western Australian Industrial Relations Commission

Tribunal upholds application to review a decision to deregister plant design

The Occupational Safety and Health Tribunal upheld an application to review a decision by WorkSafe to deregister the design for two waste heat recovery units installed at Fiona Stanley Hospital. The Units recover heat from exhaust gases of natural gas engines, generating steam for use in the hospital.

Senior Commissioner Kenner concluded that the design alteration in relation to the gas side chambers of the Units is consistent with “sound engineering practice which achieves a comparable level of safety”. He found the requests for exemption from compliance with the Regulations should be granted by WorkSafe. The design is limited to the Units at Fiona Stanley Hospital and may not be used for any other fabrication anywhere in Australia.

The parties agreed that the key issue for determination by the Tribunal, was whether the gas side chambers of the Units could be properly characterised as “pressure parts”, as defined in AS 4942-2001 – Pressure equipment, for the purposes of AS 1228-2006. Flowing from this was whether the AS/NZS 3678-250 steel plates used for the construction of the gas side chambers, breached the requirements of AS 1228-2006 in relation to the construction and operation of “boilers”.

The Tribunal concluded that the gas side chambers of the Units fall within the extended definition of a “boiler”, as being a part of the “boiler setting”. Having considered all the Australian Standards relating to pressure vessels, and the definition of “pressure parts” and “vessel”, the Tribunal held that the gas side chambers of the Units should not be construed as “pressure parts” for the purposes of AS 4942–2001 and AS 1228-2006. Consequently, the terms of s 2.1.1 or 2.1.6 of AS 122-2006 do not have application to the gas side chambers of the Units. 

The decision can be read here.

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