The NSW Work Health and Safety Regulation 2011 Chapter 5 Plant imposes obligations on all people connected with plant and specifies requiremements for all phases of an item of plant's life.

This Regulation specify some specific duties for designers, manufacturers, importers, suppliers, employers and self employed persons to carry out hazard identification, risk assessment and risk control for the use of plant in the work environment. These assessements must be carried out for all existing plant as soon as practicable and for all new or modified plant before use. Australian Standard 4024 Safeguarding of Machinery provides general underlying principles for the safety of machinery in general.

The information contained in this document is provided to support implementation of the University's WHS Policy.


This procedure has been written for the University of Sydney's Faculties, Schools and Departments staff/student involved in the following activities (where applicable) relating to plant:

  • Designs
  • Manufactures
  • Import
  • Supplies (including sale, transfer, hire or lease arrangements)
  • Owns, operates and maintains

Table of Contents

  • Definitions
  • Performance Standards
  • Procedures
  • Safe Operating Procedure
  • Pre Purchase Assessments
  • Maintenance and Repair
  • Disposal and Selling
  • Training


Includes any machinery, equipment, appliance, implement, tool and any component or anything fitted or connected to those things

Plant with moving parts
Involve risks such as entanglement, crushing, stabbing and abrasion. Examples include lathes, milling machines, band saw, angle grinder, drill press, bench grinder, circular saw, guillotine, belt and disc sander, chainsaw, utility mower, industrial robot etc.

Powered mobile plant
Involve risks such as impact injuries, overturning and risks from falling objects. Examples include tractors, excavators, forklift, front end loader etc.

Plant with hot and cold parts
Involve risks such as burning. Examples include welding equipment, trimmer, lawn mower, blower etc.

Plant involving electrical hazards
Involve risks such as consuming, converting or generating electricity. Examples include hand held electrical drills, power saws, chain saws etc

Performance Standards

The following standards apply to all staff and students, whether they are frequent or occasional users of plant:

  1. Qualified or suitably trained personnel only to use
  2. Use machinery for the purpose it was designed for and within its specified capacity limits
  3. Operators using plant e.g. forklift, excavator, tractors must obtain certificate of competency
  4. Ensure any safety features or warning devices are maintained, tested and used as intended
  5. Always seek instruction before using an unfamiliar piece of machinery
  6. Report any damaged machinery and do not use it until it has been repaired
  7. Where machine guards are provided, they must be kept in place
  8. Never distract the attention of another staff or student when operating machinery
  9. Always use appropriate personal protective equipment
  10. Never use compressed air for cleaning clothing and machinery
  11. Quantities of fuel, oil, solvents, cleaning fluids should be stored in approved containers in a cool ventilated area
  12. Report ALL hazards, unsafe conditions and work practices


The University of Sydney in managing risks to health and safety that involve the use of machinery must:
(a) Identify reasonably foreseeable hazards - find out what could cause harm;
(b) Assess the risks - understand how serious the harm could be and the likelihood of happening;
(c) Control risks - implement the most effective control measures that is reasonably practicable in the circumstances;
(d) Review control measures to ensure they are working as planned.

Identification of Hazards

Hazards are identified:
- Before and during the introduction of machinery to a workplace
- Before and during any alteration to the machinery, how the machinery is used or work systems associated with machinery
- If new or additional information on the machinery becomes available

Examples of hazards:
- fragments and projectiles from abrasive wheels
- damaged casing in power tools
- unguarded rotating PTO (power takeoffs) or augers
- in running nip points of belts, chains and pulley
- hot parts of machinery

Assessing risks

Risks associated with each hazard must be assessed and must include all risks arising from:
- The systems of work with the machinery involved in the hazard
- The layout and condition of the work environment where the machinery is used
- The capability, skills and experience of the person who would normally use the machinery and
- Any reasonably foreseeable conditions

Implement Control Measures

Control measures must be put in place to eliminate the risk or where it is not practical to do so, the identified risk must be mininised. Control measures must be chosen from the highest possible level using the hierarchy of controls. In many cases, there will be more than one option for controlling the risk being considered.

Eliminate the risk

Elimination: e.g. no longer using a power tool until the identified risks can be controlled.

Minimise the risk

Substitution: e.g. roll over hazard by substituting mowing operation on a steep slope with a low grass retardant so that it did not need to be mowed.

Modification: e.g. design and install additional safety features such as guards.

Isolation: e.g. use a push stick when working on small piece of stock on the belt/disc sander.
Engineering controls: e.g. install cut-out switches, guards and emergency stop.

Where risk not minimised

Administrative controls: e.g. have a regular maintenance regime and provide information, training and supervision.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) e.g. use steel-capped shoes in saw milling, leather aprons in welding, protective goggles in landscaping and helmets to protect from head injury to riders of motorcycles and ATVs.

Monitor and Review Control Measures

An important part of this step is determining whether the control measure has introduced a new hazard that may have been previously overlooked.

Safe Operating Procedure

A standard operating procedure (SOP) for machinery is a sequence of logical steps that the operator follows to produce an action that has a safe outcome. They are arranged in logical order and lead the operator through the procedures to be followed before, during and after operation of the machinery.

Pre Purchase Assessments

The process of hazard identification, risk assessment and risk control shall be applied when considering the purchase or hire of machinery which may impact on health and safety within the University. A manufacturer’s risk assessment may be supplied.

Maintenance and Repair

Machinery must be made safe during inspection, maintenance, cleaning and repair. If practical, the machinery must be stopped if access is required. Approved lock out/tag out devices must be implemented to prevent machinery being accidentally started during maintenance.

Disposal and Selling

The University has a responsibility to ensure prospective purchaser be advised in writing before the sale of any faults detected in the machinery and if appropriate that the machinery is not to be used until these have been rectified. To comply with this requirement, it is necessary to subject the machinery to a risk assessment. An exception to these requirements involves machinery that is only intended for scrap or spare parts.


All staff and students using machinery are to be instructed and/or trained in the correct method of use. This must include:
1. The location of risk assessments and safe operating procedure for the machinery used in the area;
2. The use and location of personal protective and emergency devices;
3. Emergency procedures for the safe shutdown of the machinery.

Training records must be kept by the departments for training on machinery.