Plant and Equipment
There is a broad definition of “plant” under the OHS Act 2004 which can cover hand held power tools, chain saws, workshop equipment, office equipment as well as blenders and coffee grinders. Each plant item presents its own hazards which can include:
- mechanical and moving parts;
- crushing or cutting;
- fire and explosion;
- hot parts of plant;
- manual handling; and
- chemical hazards.
Injuries resulting from incidents involving plant can range from:
- near misses;
- small cuts and bruises; and
- serious injuries such as amputations, scalping, degloving and fatalities.
Some plant is classified as high risk and may require registration with WorkSafe. This includes lifts, cooling towers, some gas cylinders, boilers and pressure vessels, amusement devices and prefabricated scaffolding. Some special schools and specialist settings would have hoists and equipment that lift students. This equipment is considered plant that requires regular maintenance and record keeping.
Where/when would these issues be relevant?
Some examples of plant and equipment within DEECD workplaces include:
- Technology areas will have workshop equipment such as lathes, drill presses and band saws;
- Hand tools and power tools;
- Office equipment;
- Lifts and cooling towers;
- Pressure vessels;
- Gar Cylinders;
- Mowers and brush cutters;
- Forklifts and pallet jacks; and
- Ovens and kilns.
These issues become more relevant if students are required to operate any kind of equipment, appliance or tool that has elements of risk associated with it.
What do I need to do?
- Consult with Health and Safety Representatives (HSR) and employees about the tasks and environments where plant is used that requires supervision;
- Conduct a risk assessment to identify hazards and assess risks associated with plant items at the workplace;
- Develop and implement controls to eliminate or reduce the risks in accordance with the hierarchy of control;
- Identify any plant requiring registration with WorkSafe and make sure that such plant is registered. A record of inspections and maintenance needs to be kept for each item of registered plant;
- Develop pre-start checklists for high risk plant;
- Consider lockout/tag out requirements for plant and implement lock out/tag out procedures;
- Develop safe work procedures for tasks involving hazardous plant;
- Train and assess employees and students as competent in these procedures;
- Establish and implement a maintenance program for plant including inspection, maintenance and cleaning; and
- Monitor the practices of employees and students to ensure that they are working safely.
Legislation, guidance and codes of practice
Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004
Occupational Health and Safety Regulations 2007
WorkSafe Victoria - Your Health and Safety Guide to Plant
Plant and Equipment Procedure (PDF - 274Kb)
Plant and Equipment Risk Management Form (Word - 604Kb)
Managing Technology Risk
OHS Advisory Service 1300 074 715
DEECD Regional OHS/WorkSafe Advisors