Purchasing a new item of plant fact sheet
This factsheet provides general information on how to ensure you are purchasing an item of plant that is safe for your workers and complies with the NSW Work Health and Safety (WHS) legislative requirements.
The following checklist can be used by a person purchasing an item of plant to ensure it has safety features that meet current Australian expectations as outlined in the Australian Standard AS 4024 regarding safety of machinery.
Know what you need
Before purchasing consider what you are going to use the item of plant for and make sure the plant is designed to undertake the work you want to use if for.
- What features the item of plant should have to ensure safe operation, has it been safeguarded as much as possible to meet Australian expectations in the Australian Standard AS 4024 regarding safety of machinery? Does it have suitable controls to eliminate the WHS hazards?
- Have you carried out a WHS risk assessment that includes the installation, commissioning, operation, inspection and maintenance? Will the item of plant be compatible with your existing plant, accessories, attachments and spare parts? Will its location allow for the raw and finished materials to be handled safely?
- Talking to your workers about possible WHS risks and discussing with them what you are after including what features the item of plant should have to ensure safe operation.
- What training your workers will need to operate the item of plant safely? Are you familiar with this type of plant or model, should you seek advice?
- What are the service requirements, how long before it will need a service, repair or replacement? Does it require a competent person to undertaken the service?
- Identifying the controls that are required to eliminate hazards or minimise health and safety risks. What are the hazards and risks associated with installation, commissioning, operation, inspection, maintenance, repair, transport, storage and dismantling of the plant? Are these controls incorporated into the design of the item of plant?
- Safeguards that prevent access to dangerous parts such as permanently fixed or interlocked physical barriers, presence sensing systems, emergency stops, warning devices, alarms, flashing lights.
- Energy source isolation devices such as switches with built in locks and lock-out circuit breakers, fuses and valves, chains, safety lock out jaws (also known as hasps).
- Safeguards that prevent ejecting parts or offcuts from striking people nearby.
- Functioning safety devices such as rated capacity limiters.
- Sound-absorbing features to minimise noise.
- Safeguards that prevent harmful emissions.
- Whether certain modifications would need to be made to meet Australian expectations as outlined in Australian Standard 4024 series. Think about how you will document and manage changes to the design.
- What you will need to operate the item of plant, including operator licensing requirements, ongoing training, instructions, supervision and verification of competencies.
- Identifying the future inspection and maintenance requirements. Including:
- The availability of information, assistance and on-going support from the manufacturer which is specific to Australian requirements.
- The availability of compatible spare parts.
- When the next major inspection is required.
- The availability of suitable competent persons to undertake inspections and maintenance.
- Talking to you workers who will operate the item of plant about possible WHS risks and discuss with them the appropriate controls. Your workers can assist in identifying safe operator controls to enable the plant to be fail safe and easily accessible.
- Whether the item of plant will need to be registered with a WHS regulator? Check with the WHS regulator in each state or territory for their requirements. It is advisable to make sure registration requirements can be met before finalising the purchase.
Know your workplace obligations
- When you buy an item of plant and take ownership under the WHS legislation you become a person with management or control. This requires you to ensure the item of plant is without risks to the health and safety of any person, including those who are near
the item of plant when it is in use.
- You must ensure it is fit for purpose and use it for what it was designed to do. Ensure it is correctly operated and maintained in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions or in the absence of such specification, in accordance with a competent person’s recommendations.
Know your suppliers WHS obligations
Suppliers must take all reasonable steps to obtain relevant information from the item of plant’s manufacturer and then pass on that information when supplying the plant. You should obtain as much of this information as you can, such as:
- What the item of plant was designed or manufactured to do.
- What safety features does it have or what safety equipment do you need to safely operate the plant.
- Adequate information or results from any calculations, analysis, testing or examination that will help to ensure safe operation of the plant.
- The conditions required to ensure the safe operations of the item of plant, for example operator’s manual.
- The maintenance, inspection and testing requirements of the item of plant to ensure continued safe operation, for example maintenance manual.
- The design registration number from a WHS Regulator or preferably a copy of the registration certificate, where applicable.