What Does the New AS1940-2017 Mean To You

After more than 2 years in review the Australian Standard for the storage and handling of flammable and combustible liquids has been published. At over 180 pages, this Standard has significant changes related to spill control. The following is a summary of those changes and how they will impact you in regard to provision of spill response equipment.

While many Standards are intended to provide voluntary guidance on industry practices, this particular Standard is a very significant one for Australian industry as it is called up in Australian state and territory regulations.

Whilst there are many changes, the single most significant change is the introduction of the term “Spill Response Kit” into the standard and a description of what this kit should contain.

This is first seen in Section 2.3.4. In the previous version, a typical spillage kit was described in this section 2.3.4 as,

  • a metal bin with a tightly-fitting lid partially filled with non-combustible absorbent such as vermiculite;
  • broom, shovel, face shield, chemically-resistant boots and gloves; and
  • a suitable respirator.

The current version of the standard has introduced the term “spill response kit” and updated the description to better reflect improvements in spill kit design.

  • a readily identifiable, suitable container with a lid or cover containing absorbent materials
  • suitable personal protective equipment; and
  • suitable equipment required for spill clean-up.

Unchanged in this section is that the spill response capacity should be based on the loss of contents of the largest container kept and the requirement for spills to be cleaned up immediately is still mandatory.

Section 9.4 of the new AS1940 goes into more detail of spill response kit contents.

The title of section 9.4 of the standard has changed its title from, “Management of Leaks and Spills” to “Management of Above-Ground Leaks and Spills”

Clause 9.4.2 of this section has also had considerable revision. Previously this section had reference to the requirement of a range of neutralising agents and sand for use in response to Class 3 liquid spills. This has been removed and replaced with,

In order to deal with leaks and spills, a spill response kit shall be readily available where flammable or combustible liquids are stored, dispensed or in transit storage

Note that a spill response kit is now a mandatory requirement for sites handling Class 3 flammable liquids.

This section goes into more detail on the contents of a typical spill response kit. It states:

A simple spill response kit should consist of some or all of absorbent pads, booms, loose absorbent and contaminated waste bags that are packed in a readily identifiable weather resistant container and are compatible with the liquids stored.

Section 8 of AS1940-2017 describes the requirements for all installations where tank vehicles are filled.

Clause has been introduced. It states:

  • A spill response kit shall be positioned within 15 m of the tank fill point.

There have also been changes made to Section 9.8 which covers the requirements of construction and maintenance work where Class 3 liquids are kept. Clause 9.8.1 of the new Standards states:

No construction or maintenance work shall be carried out where flammable and combustible liquids are kept, unless a hazard identification and risk assessment has been undertaken, appropriate controls are in place and with written authorization from a person designated for the purpose by the occupier of the premises.

Section 9.8.3 goes on to state:

Except for routine, non-hazardous work, any work within the restricted area shall be authorized by means of a work permit.

In AS1940-2004, no consideration was given to assessing the risk of spill prior to the commencement. The new standard has added clause 9.8.3(h). This clause states that it is now mandatory that the work permit contains a statement regarding the spill response equipment required.

If a risk of spill is identified in the work permit, section 9.8.4 now requires appropriate spill response equipment to be provided.

Spill Station Australia site auditors have been trained in the new requirements as stated in AS1940-2017. If you want to make sure that your spill response capacity complies with the new standard, contact us now to arrange your spill risk compliance audit.


Spill Station Australia

Ph: 1300 66 42 66