Plant OHS Risk Assessments


Why undertake Plant Risk Assessment?
Employers have a duty to identify and control all hazards present for each piece of plant to ensure that they are safe to use (OHS Regulations Part 3.5, Division 5). OHS Regulation 105 requires that “plant is inspected to the extent necessary to ensure that any risk associated with the use of plant is monitored.”
These requirements apply no matter how old the plant is. Documented plant risk assessments allow an employer a means to identify any hazards present on specific plant and identify required controls to prevent injury, death or property damage so far as is reasonably practicable.

When to undertake Plant Risk Assessments?
Plant Risk Assessments need to be performed when purchasing new or used plant. Even if new plant comes with a manufacturers plant risk assessment, the employer should review the manufacturers risk assessment in the context of the business. For example, the positioning of fixed plant may introduce risks to employees due to cramped working conditions or locating an ignition source near flammable materials which may result in a fire or explosion.
Plant Risk Assessments need to be performed before and after alteration of plant to ensure that the alterations don’t introduce new risks to the plant and the modified plant is safe to use.
Plant Risk Assessments need to be reviewed after near misses, incidents and injuries to determine whether the plant is safe to continue to use and what additional controls are required. For example, a near miss with older plant may identify that additional guarding or interlock systems are needed to make the plant safe to use.
Routine Plant Risk Assessments are good practice. These allow employers to proactively review the condition of the plant and effectiveness of controls against the current requirements. Routine risk assessments used in conjunction with good plant maintenance and prestart inspections allow the employers to continually improve safety in a considered manner. SafetyZone suggests that businesses should consider introducing routine plant risk assessments on a scheduled e.g. 2-year basis, more frequently if routine risk assessments are identifying serious or frequent occurring problems with plant due to the environment it is used in.

How SafetyZone Can Assist You with Plant Safety
SafetyZone’s qualified experienced OHS consultants can perform independent written plant risk assessments anywhere in Victoria. Call SafetyZone on 1300 123 647 to discuss how we can assist you with any of your plant safety requirements including risk assessments, SWMSs, safe work procedures and OHS Management Systems all tailored for your business.

What is Plant?
Plant is any machinery, equipment, appliance, implement and tool: any component of those things; and anything connected or related to those things. OHS Act s5 “requires employers to provide or maintain plant that is as far as is reasonably practicable, safe and without risk to health”
In addition, specific items of plant are described in Regulation 74 of the OHS Regulations 2017 where there are additional specific duties present in Part 3.5, Division 5.
These items include:
• Plant that lifts or moves people or materials except for vehicles primarily used as a means of transport on public roads or railways
• It specifically lists pressure equipment, tractors, earthmoving machinery, lasers, scaffolds, temporary access equipment, explosive-powered tools, turbines and amusement structures,
• Plant that processes material by way of a mechanical action that:
o Cuts, drills, punches or grinds the material
o Presses, forms, hammers, joins or moulds the material, or
o Combines, mixes, sorts, packages, assembles, knits or weaves the material
• OHS Regulations r74 this includes plant where the functions referred to above are incidental to the main purpose of the plant.
It doesn’t include plant designed exclusively to rely on manual power or to be primarily supported by hand.

Further Information
Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004
Occupational Health and Safety Regulations 2017
WorkSafe Compliance Code: Plant, Edition 2 December 2019