Purchasing a second-hand item of plant factsheet
This factsheet provides general information on how to ensure you are purchasing a second-hand item of plant that is safe for your workers and complies with the NSW Work Health and Safety (WHS) legislative requirements.
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 off-cuts from striking people nearby.
- Functioning safety devices such as rated capacity limiters.
- Sound-absorbing features to minimise noise.
- Safeguards that prevent harmful emissions.
- Before putting the plant into service it is your responsibility to make sure it is safe to use.
- 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, on-going 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 WHS obligations
When you buy a second-hand item of plant and take ownership under the WHS legislation you become a person with management or control. This requires you to ensure the plant is without risks to the health and safety of any person, including those who are near the plant when it is in use. Items of plant that are purchased second-hand may have defects or missing parts that mean it cannot be put into service without repairs or modifications.
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 what you need to get from the previous owner
You must take all reasonable steps to obtain relevant information from the previous owner. You should obtain as much of this information as you can, such as:
- What the plant was designed or manufactured to do.
- When the plant was manufactured.
- Information on how to use and maintain the plant
- Records of maintenance, inspection and testing. When is the next inspection due? Can it be inspected personally or does it require independent inspection?
- Are there any modifications? Recent repairs?
- If the item of plant is registered with the WHS regulator, make sure you receive the item registration and design registration numbers or preferably a copy of the registration certificate.
The previous owner must also identify faults with the plant and provide the buyers this information in writing. If appropriate, they must provide a statement that the plant should not be used until the faults are rectified.
Where an item of plant is being sold for scrap or spare parts and is not intended to be used, the previous owner must tell the buyers in writing or by marking the plant that:
- The item of plant is being supplied for scrap or spare parts only, and
- The item of plant cannot be used in its current form.
In this case, if the buyer then wanted to use the item of plant it would first need to be inspected by a competent person, and any faults identified would then need to be rectified before putting the plant into service.