Plant - machinery and equipment

Plant includes machinery, equipment, appliances, containers, implements and tools and components or anything fitted or connected to those things. Some examples of plant include lifts, cranes, computers, machinery, scaffolding components, conveyors, forklifts, vehicles, power tools and amusement devices.

Plant includes machinery, equipment, appliances, containers, implements and tools and components or anything fitted or connected to those things. Some examples of plant include lifts, cranes, computers, machinery, scaffolding components, conveyors, forklifts, vehicles, power tools and amusement devices.

Must dos

There are specific laws about working with plant to make sure it is safe for operators and people nearby.

Some laws apply to designers of plant, some relate to manufacturers, importers, suppliers and installers, while others are for owners, managers and supervisors.

Designers

Designers are responsible for preparing drawings, specifying materials, capabilities and limitations of plant and include those who make changes to plant that will impact health and safety e.g: altering or fitting attachments that were not included in the original design.

A designer must have a good understanding of how the plant will be used and the environment it will be used in, including foreseeable misuse.

For more information see SafeWork Australia: Guide for safe design of plant

Manage risks

You must manage the risks to everyone's health and safety when they manufacture, use, store, decommission, dismantle or dispose of the plant according to the instructions.

For more information see Machine safety - Designers

Give information to the manufacturer:

  • on the design specifications of your plant
  • that will enable the plant to be manufactured in accordance with the design specifications which may include testing requirements
  • about installing, commissioning, decommissioning, using, handling, storing and dismantling it if applicable
  • about the plant's purpose and any conditions necessary to operate the plant properly, including information relating to risks that cannot be controlled by the design.

IN some cases, a manufacturer will identify a hazard where it may be difficult to implement a control measure. Therefore you must revise your information to ensure the risks have been minimised as much as possible.

Safeguarding

Plant must include safeguarding to ensure operators and others in the vicinity of the plant are protected against hazardous moving parts or outputs. Safeguarding can include physical barriers such as screens or insulation for harmful emissions and other safeguarding devices like interlocks, two-handed controls, or electronic presence sensing controls.

Physical barriers are often simple and reliable solutions for protecting your workers when access to dangerous areas is not required during operation. They also protect against materials and substances ejecting or emanating from the plant. Safeguarding devices are more complex and technical but may be the best available solution when access to dangerous areas is required during normal operation, inspection or maintenance.

In many instances a combination of controls may be required to effectively safeguard your workers against all risks.

For more information on building safeguards into the design see machine safety for designers.

Emergency stop controls

Emergency stop controls must be visible, clearly marked, accessible and displayed in red. If there are multiple emergency stop controls and more than one person is required to operate the plant, the controls must be the 'stop and lock-off' type, so the plant can't be restarted until the emergency stop control is reset. Unlocking the switch should not automatically start the machine.

Warning devices

If included in the plant design, a warning device must be positioned for maximum effect.

Registered plant

If your plant design needs to be registered, you must keep a record of:

  • the plant's control measures and why you decided upon those controls
  • information you gave to the manufacturer
  • any published technical standards or engineering principles you use.

You must keep this record for the design life of the plant and make it available for inspection.

Manufacturers

You must follow the designer's instructions regarding the manufacture, inspection and testing of the plant.

Control risks

If you identify a hazard in the design that does not have a control measure, don't include it in the plant being manufactured - ask the designer, in writing, to rectify the problem as soon as possible. Don't begin manufacturing until the designer has responded, and talk to them about possible resolutions.

For more information see Machine safety - Manufacturers, importers, suppliers and installers.

Obtain and provide necessary information

Obtain necessary information from the designer required to manufacture the plant safely and in accordance with the designers specifications.

Provide information that is necessary to ensure importers, suppliers and users etc can install, inspect, test, maintain and use the plant safely.

Registered plant

If the design of your plant is not registered and is listed in Part 1 of Schedule 5, you must supply the plant until the design is registered.

Importers and suppliers

An importer is the person conducting a business or undertaking that imports the plant into Australia. A supplier is the person conducting a business or undertaking that supplies the plant to the person who will have management or control of the plant. An importer and supplier can often be the same person conducting a business or undertaking. Suppliers also include those persons who conduct a business or undertaking which hires plant or sells second-hand plant.

Ensure tests and examinations have been/are carried out that may be necessary to ensure the plant is safe. This may involve arranging verification that the design and manufactured product is safe.

Second-hand plant

You must give anyone you supply second-hand plant written information about its condition and faults, and whether the faults need to be rectified before using.

If plant is to be used for scrap or spare parts, it must be marked as such before being supplied to anyone - or advice must be given in writing that the plant is being supplied as scrap or spare plants and will not be used as plant.

For more information see Machine safety - Manufacturers, importers, suppliers and installers.

Obtain and provide information

Make sure you obtain necessary information from the manufacturer required to ensure the plant is without risk to health and safety to those who will assemble, install, store, use and maintain the plant etc. This information should also be provided to the person who controls or manages the plant.

Registered plant

If the design of your plant is not registered and is listed in Part 1 of Schedule 5, you must not supply the plant until the design is registered.

Installers and Commissioners

Installers and commissioners must:

  • install or commission with regards to the information provided by the designer, manufacturer, importer, supplier of plant or equipment or a competent person
  • use appropriate tools and equipment
  • have competent people undertake this work
  • keep records of commissioning inspection for high risk plant.

For more information see Machine safety - Manufacturers, importers, suppliers and installers.

Owners and managers

Owners and management in control must:

  • obtain necessary information that is required to inspect, maintain and use the plant
  • introduce a schedule to inspect and maintain plant based on manufacturer's recommendations
  • ensure workers who operate, inspect and maintain are provided all necessary information, supervision and training to undertake these tasks.

For more information see Employer and business obligations.

Manage the risks

You must manage the risks associated with plant.

Install/commission

Ensure a competent person installs, assembles, constructs, commissions, decommissions or dismantles the plant and gives them all available information for eliminating and minimising risks. Through the process, inspect and monitor the risks associated with any activities related to the plant.

Alter/interfere

You must prevent unauthorised alterations to, or interference with any plant.

Use properly

Only use plant for the purpose it is designed for.

If you propose to use it for another purpose, contact the manufacturer or get a competent person to determine whether the plant is safe for such use.

Those who use the plant must be trained in using its safety features and warning devices according to the manufacturer's instructions.

Not in use

Even idle plant can be dangerous. Make sure plant that is not being used doesn't create a risk of anyone's health or safety.

See designer's obligations for information relating to heat and cold, operator's controls, emergency stop controls and warning devices.

Maintenance and inspection

You must ensure a competent person maintains, inspects and if necessary tests the plant according to the manufacturer's instructions.

Powered mobile plant

If you use mobile plant make sure:

  • it can't overturn, or collide with anyone or anything
  • the operator can't be hit by falling objects, or ejected
  • fluid that might be released from the plant in the event of a mechanical failure doesn't pose a risk or anyone's health or safety
  • the plant has a suitable protective device - and they are used and maintained properly
  • no-one rides on the plant without the appropriate protective devices.

Tractor roll-over protection

If you use a tractor with a mass between 560kg and 15,000kg it must have a securely fitted, roll-over protective structure.

You can lower or remove the structure only if the work demands it - and after other control measures are implemented to reduce the risk of a roll-over.

Plant that lifts or suspends loads

If you use plant that lifts people or objects, it must:

  • be designed to do so
  • have suitable lifting attachments
  • be used within its rated capacity
  • not be used to suspend or carry loads over people.

You must also ensure:

  • the loads remain under control
  • no load is lifted simultaneously by more than one item of plant (unless the load placed on each item of plant is within its rated capacity).

If you need to lift people and you don't have the plant specifically designed to do so, you can use plant that has a work box (with a safety harness and safe exit) attached to it.

When tree-lopping, you can lift or suspend a person in a harness with a crane and place them in the tree, provided it has been risk assessed as being the safest way to carry a person - and provided the person is in visual or verbal communication with the crane operator at all items.

Industrial robots

If you use an industrial robot, don't let anyone within its vicinity if it could start without warning and cause a hazard unless it has suitable risk control measures in place.

You must isolate the robot by providing interlocked guards or presence-sensing devices.

Lasers

If you use laser equipment, make sure it is designed, made and installed to accidental irradiation won't occur.

Never expose anyone to direct radiation, radiation produced by reflection or diffusion, or secondary radiation. Everyone using the equipment must be properly trained.

Ensure that any visual equipment used to observe or adjust the laser equipment is safe to use and does not create a risk to health and safety from the laser's rays.

Don't use Class 3B or Class 4 lasers in construction work.

Keep records

For all registerable plant, you must keep a record of:

  • inspections
  • testing
  • maintenance
  • commissioning
  • decommissioning
  • dismantling
  • alterations.

For items of plant with presence-sensing safeguarding systems, you must also keep a record of safety integrity tests.

For amusement devices, you must also keep log books and operating and maintenance manuals.

Keep records until you sell or dispose of the plant. Ensure you give a copy to whoever buys it.

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