Regulations For Pressure Vessels In Australia

Nancy B. Alston

Pressure vessels can be a health or environmental hazard if they are not designed properly. This is the reason why the Australian government has put in place laws and regulations to set the required standards of pressure vessel design. The laws in this respect may vary from one region, territory or state in Australia to the other. However, the regulations are basically the same in all states expect Western Australia and Victoria.

Generally, regulations for pressure vessels cover three main areas namely:

> Accumulator design registration

> Registration of plant

> In-service inspections

Accumulator Design Registration

It is the vessel design which determines its durability and strength, and suitability to the intended use. Improperly designed vessels cannot effectively serve its purpose and can pose serious danger to the health of the public and the environment. Remember that these vessels are used to hold or store gases or liquids at very high pressures. Improperly designed vessels can cause serious fire breakouts and deaths. One of the factors that may have contributed to the well known Chernobyl Nuclear disaster in Russia is the result of improper vessel design. This is the reason why engineers and industry experts attach a lot of importance to the design of vessels.

In Queensland State, the accumulators that have A, B, C and D Hazard Levels according to the Australian Standard AS4343, should have their designs registered with the state’s Workplace Health and Safety organization. The registration number of that design should also be marked very clearly on that plant item. This rule applies to the old as well as new accumulators. Generally every new accumulator manufactured to AS1210 specifications is sold with a design registration document. Older equipment or those which are imported from outside Australia should also have their pressure vessel design registered by the Queensland Workplace Health and Safety Board.

Many other states in Australia have laws and regulations similar to that of Queensland with regard to pressure vessel design. It is the duty of the owner of the equipment or the importer to register the design of the vessel. Thus, if you are importing a pressure vessel from any country of the world to Australia, ensure that you have its design registered. For the design to be approved, the authorities may require you to produce detailed manufacturing reports including shell drawings. Thus, importing a vessel may end up costing you a lot of money because of the complex design regulations that must be complied with in Australia. It would be cheaper and with less hassle if you hire locally based experts in Australia to design the vessels that you need.

Registration of plant

In Queensland, the accumulators that have A, B, and C Hazard Levels according to the Australian Standard AS4343, should have the plant registered with the state’s Workplace Health and Safety Board. It is the responsibility of the owner to have this inspection to be undertaken.

In-service inspection

Pressure vessels must be regularly inspected to ensure that they meet the required safety and design standards.

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