QLD: green hydrogen workforce safety prioritised

The following article is a news item provided for the benefit of the Workplace Health and Safety profession. Its content does not necessarily reflect the views of the Australian Institute of Health & Safety.
Monday, 30 May, 2022 - 12:45
Policy & legislation

The Queensland Government recently launched a draft safety code of practice for the green hydrogen industry, which is an emerging but fast-growing industry in the state.

Queensland is the first state to develop a clear pathway for hydrogen safety system compliance, according to Minister for Resources Scott Stewart, who said green hydrogen will create new jobs throughout regional Queensland.

“It’s important the right safety guidelines are in place,” Minister Stewart said.

“Current legislation and safety requirements are tailored for traditional products like LPG and natural gas and do not specifically target hydrogen fuel applications.

“The draft code will deliver a framework to outline minimum safety requirements and give businesses certainty that they are compliant.

“It will be useful for applications that use hydrogen as a fuel gas and will provide guidance to the industry about safe operations, regulatory compliance and approval processes.”

Minister for Energy, Renewables and Hydrogen, Mick de Brenni said safety and reliability were important factors for both workers and investors.

“As we grow the future fuels value chain, workers and unions have told us they want their workplaces and processes to meet the highest safety requirements, so the Palaszczuk Government will lead as the first jurisdiction to establish a hydrogen code of practice,” Minister de Brenni said.

“Green hydrogen is key to diversifying our energy sector and growing more jobs in more industries, so ensuring the safety of workers and the public is paramount.”

The Queensland Government has backed green hydrogen with a $2 billion hydrogen and renewable energy jobs fund with projects across the state, as well as securing the world’s largest electrolyser manufacturing plant in Gladstone, fuel cell manufacturing in Springfield and the tri-state hydrogen superhighway agreement with New South Wales and Victoria.

Minister Stewart said Resources Safety and Health Queensland had consulted with industry and business to develop the draft code which is now open for consultation.

“As the first cab off the rank in Australia it’s important to get feedback from a range of stakeholders during the consultation period,” Minister Stewart said.

“I encourage peak bodies, other state regulators, hydrogen companies and businesses that are planning a hydrogen project to step forward and provide input.”

Once the feedback is considered, the policy approach and relevant legislative amendments will be finalised later in 2022.

The draft code proposes alternate means of achieving a safe outcome where existing obligations in the current legislation are problematic for hydrogen fuel applications.