Policy University Management WHS-PRO-027 Plant/Equipment Safety Procedure

WHS-PRO-027 Plant/Equipment Safety Procedure

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This procedure provides direction and assistance for the management of health and safety risks associated with University owned or controlled plant/equipment. The procedure also outlines legislative requirements to ensure the University meets relevant sections of the Work Health and Safety (WHS) Act 2011 (Qld) and Work Health and Safety Regulation 2011 (Qld).


This Work Health and Safety Plant/Equipment Safety Procedure applies to all staff, students, JCU affiliates and contractors involved in JCU business operations and activities.

This Procedure does not apply to the JCU Controlled Entities, JCU Singapore and JCU Brisbane.





Means performing the necessary adjustments, tests and inspections to ensure plant/equipment is in full working order, in accordance with the requirements specified in the design of the plant/equipment, before the plant/equipment commences normal operation for the first time.

Competent Person

A person who has acquired through training, qualification, experience or a combination of these, the knowledge and skill enabling that person to correctly perform the required task.


Means to remove from service.

High Risk Work

Forklift operation, pressure equipment operation, crane operation, crane a hoist operation, dogging and rigging work, all of which require a High Risk Work Licence as prescribed under the WHS Regulations.

Machine Guarding

Physical barriers that make machines safe by preventing access to dangerous parts.


Includes any machinery, equipment, appliance, container, implement and tool and includes any component or anything fitted or connected to any of those things. Plant includes lifts, benchtop centrifuges, machinery, photocopiers, desks, filing cabinets, vehicles, computers, power tools, fume cupboards and amusement devices.

Note: Plant/Equipment that relies exclusively on manual power for its operation and which is designed to be supported primarily by hand (e.g. a screw driver & utensils) are not covered by WHS Regulations. However, the general duty of care under WHS legislation applies to this type of plant/equipment.

Registrable Plant

Plant which must be registered with the relevant WHS Regulator.

Safe Work Procedures (SWPs)

Written instructions which outline the step-by-step process to be followed when undertaking a task, and which include WHS hazards and controls to minimise any risk.

Table of Contents

1 Duties, Obligations and Responsibilities

1.1 James Cook University

1.2 Officers

1.3 Supervisor/Person in Control of the Activity

1.4 Staff, Students, Contractors & Volunteers

1.5 Work Health and Safety Unit

2 Plant/Equipment

2.1 Acquiring Plant/Equipment

2.2 Plant/Equipment Risk Management

2.3 Safe Work Procedures

2.4 Installation and Commissioning of Plant/Equipment

2.5 Plant/Equipment Requiring Registration

2.6 Licences

2.7 Plant/Equipment Not in Use

2.8 Isolation/Tag Out of Plant/Equipment

2.9 Record Keeping

1 Duties, Obligations and Responsibilities

1.1 James Cook University

James Cook University has a responsibility as a Person Conducting a Business or Undertaking (PCBU) to provide and maintain safe plant/equipment and to ensure safe use, handling and storage.

1.2 Officers

It is an Officer’s duty to exercise due diligence to ensure the PCBU fulfils its health and safety obligations under the Work Health Safety Act 2011 (Qld). Officers must demonstrate due diligence by reviewing and following up on information, e.g. Enterprise Risk Registers and Audit Reports.

1.3 Supervisor/Person in Control of the Activity

The Supervisor/Person in control of the activity is responsible for ensuring that the requirements of this procedure are being met within the area of their control, including:

  • Ensure the Estate Office is consulted for any purchases associated with the built environment or purchases which require modification of infrastructure to accommodate the plant/equipment; and
  • Ensure commissioning and installation of plant/equipment is completed by qualified, competent individuals and as per the manufacturer's instructions; and
  • Complete risk assessments and review safe operating procedures prior to the operation of plant//equipment. The risk assessment must note if registration and/or high work licenses apply to plant//equipment; and
  • Ensure emergency instructions relating to an item of plant/equipment are displayed on or adjacent to the plant/equipment and that safe operating procedures, where required by the risk assessment, are available to the operator; and
  • Ensure instruction, training and appropriate supervision is provided to all individuals who operate plant/equipment; and
  • Ensure all operators are fit and well enough to operate plant and not under the influence of alcohol or drugs; and
  • Inspect licenses or evidence of competency prior to allowing operators to use plant/equipment; and
  • Maintain plant/equipment in accordance with manufacturer's recommendations, risk assessments and Australian Standards; and
  • Implement Isolation/Tag Out procedures for defective plant to prevent usage until the plant/equipment can be rectified.

1.4 Staff, Students, Contractors & Volunteers

All Staff, Students, Contractors & Volunteers are required to:

  • Work within the level of training competency and licensing attained when operating plant/equipment; and
  • Follow manufacturer's instructions and safe operating procedures; and
  • Attend training to attain and maintain competency and skills inclusive of obtaining licences for high-risk plant; and
  • Conduct pre-start checks prior to operation of plant/equipment to ensure proper working order; and
  • Be fit and well enough to operate plant and not under the influence of alcohol or drugs; and
  • Report any hazards or faults identified either prior to or during operation; and
  • Ensure that any faulty plant/equipment is tagged/locked out as per section 2.9 of this procedure; and
  • Report all incidents and near misses involving plant/equipment via the RiskWare system.

1.5 Work Health and Safety Unit

The Work Health and Safety Unit will assist the implementation and compliance to this procedure by:

  • Providing advice on minimising hazards with the purchase, installation, maintenance and use of all plant/equipment; and
  • Referring staff to suitably qualified external individuals where expertise is required beyond that which is available within the team; and
  • Disseminating any relevant information inclusive of legislative updates for the operation and maintenance of plant/equipment; and
  • Monitoring compliance with this procedure as part of planned auditing,

2 Plant/Equipment

2.1 Acquiring Plant/Equipment

2.1.1 Purchasing Plant/Equipment

When a person buys an item of plant/equipment and takes ownership under the WHS legislation they become a person with management or control. This requires them to ensure the item of plant/equipment is without risks to the health and safety of any person, including those who are near the item of plant/equipment when it is in use.

As required by the legislation and FMPM 711 Procurement Procedure, any Staff Member or Student purchasing plant/equipment as part of their work or study at JCU is responsible for assessing if the item of plant/equipment will pose a risk to health and safety. The WHS Risk Assessment must be completed prior to approaching the market.

Before purchasing an item of plant/equipment the following should be taken into consideration:

  • What features the item of plant/equipment 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 a WHS Risk Assessment been carried out that includes the installation, commissioning, operation, inspection and maintenance? Will the item of plant/equipment be compatible with existing plant/equipment, accessories, attachments and spare parts? Will its location allow for the raw and finished materials to be handled safely?
  • Talking to workers and other stakeholders about possible WHS risks and discussing with them what is required, including what features the item of plant/equipment should have to ensure safe operation
  • What training is needed for plant/equipment users to operate the item of plant/equipment safely? Are you familiar with this type of plant/equipment or model, should advice be sought?
  • What are the service requirements, and how long before the plan/equipment will need a service, repair or replacement? Does it require a competent person to undertake the service?
  • Whether certain modifications would need to be made to meet Australian expectations as outlined in Australian Standard AS 4024 series. Think about how changes to the design will be documented and managed.
  • What are the operating requirements of the plant/equipment, 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 ongoing 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
  • Has there been discussion/consultation with persons who will operate the item of plant/equipment about possible WHS risks and appropriate controls. Users of plant/equipment can assist with identifying safe operator controls to enable the plant/equipment to be fail safe.
  • Does the item of plant/equipment will need to be registered with a WHS regulator? Check with the WHS regulator for their requirements. It is advisable to make sure registration requirements can be met before finalising the purchase.

Refer to section 2.2 for more details on the risk assessment process.

2.1.2 Second-hand Plant/Equipment

When acquiring second-hand plant, the supplier of the plant/equipment is responsible for:

  • Giving written notice stating:
    • The condition of the plant/equipment, including identified faults
    • If appropriate, that the plant/equipment should not be used until the faults are rectified
  • Taking all reasonable steps to obtain information about how to use the plant/equipment correctly and safely from the manufacturer or original supplier
  • Providing all available records including data sheets, test certificates, operations and service manuals, reports and a safety manual
  • Declaring specific hazards:
    • Plant has the potential for asbestos containing materials to be present
    • Note: JCU will not accept radioactive sources

2.1.3 Hiring Plant/Equipment

When hiring plant/equipment the staff member/student must:

  • Assess whether the plant/equipment is suitable for its intended use
  • Check that plant/equipment has been inspected and maintained by the supplier according to the manufacturer’s specification (e.g. checking logbooks, maintenance manual)
  • Ensure that the supplier provides the manufacturer’s information

If plant/equipment is hired for an extended period of time, the JCU staff member/student must work with the supplier to make arrangements to ensure the plant/equipment is inspected and maintained throughout the lease.

2.1.4 Modification/Alterations of Plant/Equipment

If a JCU staff member or student initiates modification to an item of plant/equipment, they are responsible for ensuring:

  • A qualified/competent person conducts the modification
  • Certification numbers, engineering reports, etc. are obtained
  • A documented risk assessment is completed following consultation with the person completing the modifications

Unauthorised alterations or interference to plant/equipment is not permitted. Interference refers to making changes to safety features, warning devices, guarding, operational controls and emergency stops.

NOTE: If JCU makes alterations to plant/equipment, JCU takes on the obligations of a designer/manufacturer.

2.2 Plant/Equipment Risk Management

The first step in the risk management process is to identify all hazards associated with an item of plant/equipment. This involves assessing all circumstances in which an item of plant/equipment will be used to identify any potential hazards that may cause harm. WHS-PRO-002 WHS Risk Management Procedure describes how the WHS risk management process is applied at JCU.

The Plant/Equipment Risk Management process must be undertaken in the following situations:

  • When designing, manufacturing, selling or disposing of plant/equipment
  • Before purchasing, hiring, leasing and/or commissioning plant/equipment
  • Erecting or using plant/equipment
  • Whenever new information becomes available regarding plant/equipment
  • When responding to workplace incidents
  • Whenever changes are made to plant/equipment and how it is used

When identifying hazards related to plant/equipment the below factors should be taken into consideration:

  • Injury from entanglement
  • Crushing from falling or moving objects
  • Injury from operating plant/equipment, such as being thrown off or under plant/equipment
  • Injuries from sharp or flying objects
  • Injury from high pressure fluids
  • Injury from electricity
  • Slips, trips and falls
  • Exhaust fumes
  • Ergonomic factors
  • High temperatures
  • Biological substances
  • Unexpected start-up
  • Noise and vibrations
  • Hazardous substances
  • Radiation
  • Asbestos

WHS-PRO-TEM-002b Plant and Equipment Risk Assessment Template is available to assist in assessing the risk for plant and equipment. A completed example is also available at Example Plant and Equipment Risk Assessment Template.

The WHS Regulation sets out specific controls for certain types of plant/equipment e.g. lasers and pressure equipment.

2.3 Safe Work Procedures

A Safe Work Procedure (SWP) is a set of step-by-step instructions compiled to help workers carry out complex routine operations. SWP's should be developed where required following the plant/equipment risk assessment and displayed on or near plant. SWP's are used to alert users of the hazards associated with the plant/equipment.

When developing a SWP, the following information should be taken into consideration:

  • Plant/Equipment risk assessment
  • Regulatory requirements
  • Manufacturer’s requirements

For further information and the template for SWP’s refer to WHS-PRO-002 WHS Risk Management Procedure.

2.4 Installation and Commissioning of Plant/Equipment

The person with management and control of plant/equipment at the workplace must take into account the following before allowing the installation and commissioning of plant/equipment:

  • It has been established that the plant/equipment is so far as reasonably practicable without risk to the health and safety of others; and
  • Ensure that the person who installs, assembles or commissions the plant/equipment is a competent person and is provided with all necessary safety information to minimise risks associated with the plant/equipment; and
  • Include ongoing inspections to ensure that risks associated with the plant/equipment are monitored.

2.5 Plant/Equipment Requiring Registration

The purpose of registering an item of plant/equipment is to ensure that it is inspected by a competent person and is safe to operate.

A certificate of registration will be issued by the relevant regulator for all registered plant/equipment (fixed and mobile).

Under the Work Health and Safety Regulations 2011 certain items of plant/equipment cannot be used in the workplace unless they have registered with the relevant regulator. These include:

  • Boilers categorised as hazard level A, B or C according to criteria in section 2.1 of AS 4343:2005 (Pressure equipment - Hazard levels)
  • Pressure vessels - pressure equipment, other than pressure piping, and categorised as hazard level A, B or C according to the criteria in section 2.1 of AS 4343:2014 (pressure equipment—hazard levels), except;
    • Gas cylinders
    • LP gas fuel vessels for automotive use and
    • Serially produced vessels
    • Pressure equipment excluded from the scope of AS/NZS 1200:2000 stated in section 4(1)
  • Tower cranes including self-erecting tower cranes
  • Lifts and escalators and moving walkways
  • Building maintenance units
  • Amusement devices classified by section 2.1 of AS 3533.1:2009 (Amusement Rides and Devices - Design and construction), exceptions for amusement devices can be found in WHS Regulation Schedule 5 section 4(3)
  • Concrete placing booms
  • Mobile cranes with a rated capacity of greater than 10T

2.6 Licences

The person who operates an item of plant/equipment must have the necessary competencies and/or licences prior to operating an item of plant/equipment. Plant/equipment such as forklifts, pressure equipment and some particular types of cranes are identified in the WHS Regulations as plant/equipment requiring a High Risk Work Licence.

2.7 Plant/Equipment Not in Use

Plant/equipment that is not being used needs to be stored in a manner so that it does not create a risk for any person.

2.8 Isolation/Tag Out of Plant/Equipment

Before any plant/equipment at JCU is inspected, repaired, maintained or cleaned it must, where practicable, be shut down and its energy sources locked out and tagged as part of an isolation procedure to ensure the safety of those doing the work and that it does not create a risk to the health and safety of any person.

Damaged or unsafe plant/equipment must be taken out of service and be brought to a state that does not create a risk to the health and safety of any person.

The following types of tags should be used when a piece of plant/equipment is isolated or unsafe for use:

2.8.1 Personal Danger Tag

A Personal Danger Tag (Red and White) must be attached to a piece of plant/equipment when work on it is being carried out.

These tags should be restricted to people who will be working on the plant/equipment. A Personal Danger Tag on an item of plant/equipment is a warning that the plant/equipment is in unsafe condition and that the operation of that plant/equipment may endanger the person who has attached the tag.

If more than one person is involved in the work, each person must attach their own Personal Danger Tag to the plant/equipment.

A Personal Danger Tag should be removed only by the person whose name is written on the tag, and the tag should be destroyed after use.

2.8.2 Out of Service Tag

An Out of Service Tag (Yellow and Black) on a piece of plant/equipment indicates that it is unserviceable and should not be used. Out of Service Tags can be attached to non-powered plant/equipment,, such as ladders and trolleys, as well as powered plant/equipment.

These tags serve to indicate plant/equipment is out of service for repairs or maintenance. A piece of plant/equipment fitted with an Out of Service Tag must not be operated while the tag is in place.

Out of Service Tags should be attached by a competent person having specific knowledge relating to the plant/equipment. However, this should not prevent another person from attaching an Out of Service Tag in emergency situations where the use of the plant could be dangerous.

Out of Service Tags should, where applicable, be placed on devices which isolate energy sources, only when those devices are set in the ‘off’ or ‘safe’ position. Prior to attaching an Out of Service Tag all required details on the tag must be clearly and indelibly entered in the spaces provided, with emphasis given to the reason for placing the tag.

Tags must be securely fixed and be clearly visible.

Out of Service Tags should be removed only by an authorised person who is both familiar with the equipment and fully aware of the reason that the tag was placed, except in an emergency situation.

2.9 Record Keeping

WHS legislation places requirements on the person with management or control of registrable plant/equipment to keep a record of all tests, inspections, maintenance, commissioning, decommissioning, dismantling and alterations. The records are required to be kept for the period that the plant/equipment is used, or the person relinquishes control of the plant/equipment.

Plant/equipment with a presence-sensing safeguarding system also have record keeping requirements similar to registrable plant/equipment, however the records must be kept for 5 years.

It is also good practice to keep records of other types of plant/equipment in the workplace. Keeping records of the risk management process helps demonstrate compliance activities with the Work Health Safety Act 2011 and Work Health Safety Regulation 2011 (QLD). It also helps when undertaking subsequent risk assessments.

Records of plant/equipment that should be kept include:

  • The unique plant/equipment identification number
  • Relevant design information
  • Relevant data from commissioning
  • Compliance statement and/or test certificates
  • Manufacture’s specifications and user’s manuals
  • Results of inspections
  • Information on maintenance and major repairs carried out
  • Information on alterations
  • Results of risk assessments carried out on plant/equipment
  • Information, instruction and training provided to users
  • Competencies of operators

Related Policy Instruments

JCU Work Health and Safety Policy

Related Documents and Legislation

Work Health Safety Act 2011 (Qld)

Work Health Safety Regulation 2011 (Qld)

AS 3533.1:2009 (Amusement Rides and Devices - Design and construction)

AS/NZS 1200:2000 (Pressure Equipment)

Australian Standard AS 4024 (Safety of Machinery)


NOTE:  Printed copies of this procedure are uncontrolled, and currency can only be assured at the time of printing.

Approval Details

Policy DomainUniversity Management

Policy Sub-domain

WHS Management

Policy Custodian

Deputy Vice Chancellor, Services & Resources

Approval Authority

Work Health and Safety Committee

Date for next Major Review


Revision History


Approval date

Implementation date






Procedure Established

WHS Unit Manager



Contact person

WHS Unit Manager