24 August 2022

Addressing human and organisational factors that impact nuclear safety is among the changes to the 2018 Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety (ARPANS) Regulations that came into effect on 10 August 2022.  

‘ARPANSA regulates Commonwealth entities who use and produce radiation and we are pleased to be at the forefront of enhancing Australia’s reputation as a leader in nuclear regulation,’ Chief Executive Officer Dr Gillian Hirth said. 

‘Understanding human behaviours and capabilities is a critical part of safety and considering these human factors during planning and operations will help prevent safety incidents.’ 

‘The updated regulations recognise that incidents often occur due to organisational factors like workplaces not being run in a way that facilitates safety or appropriately considering risk.’ 

‘These amendments aim to prevent organisational failures by requiring licence holders to demonstrate how they will prevent human errors.’ 

Another change to the regulations has been to reduce red tape.  

‘We have introduced clearance levels where certain types of solid waste that do not pose a risk to people or the environment can be disposed of without a separate approval from ARPANSA,’ said Dr Samir Sarkar, Acting Chief Regulatory Officer.  

‘This change streamlines the process and brings Australian practice into line with current international safety standards.’  

Effective from 10 August 2022, the changes include: 

  • Increase application fees by an indexation amount of 2 per cent 
  • Introduction of the definitions of incident and notifiable incident to be used consistently throughout the regulations and aligned with the terminology used in the Planned Exposure Code  
  • Introduction of the concept of clearance levels to allow licence holders to dispose of certain types of solid waste that pose an insignificant risk to people and the environment, without the approval of the CEO of ARPANSA   
  • A new obligation for licence holders to prevent and minimise human errors and organisational failures  
  • Introduction of human and organisational factors when updating safety analysis reports, plans and arrangements and preparing new applications for licence  
  • Other minor amendments to support changes mentioned above or to make the Regulations easier for licence holders to understand and apply in practice. 

You can view the full explanatory statement for the amendments on the Federal Register for Legislation

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