Who has duties related to plant?
In addition to a person managing or controlling plant, the designers, manufacturers, suppliers (including hirers), importers and installers of plant also have a responsibility to ensure it is safe to use.
Throughout the life of plant, information about it must be given to each person to whom the plant (or its design) is provided. Information must be passed on from the designer through to the manufacturer, supplier, installer and end user. This information includes:
- the purpose for which plant was designed or manufactured
- the results of any calculations, analysis, testing or examination
- any conditions necessary for the safe use of the plant
Where the designer is outside Australian jurisdiction, the manufacturer assumes the responsibilities of the designer. Where the manufacturer is also outside Australian jurisdiction, the importer assumes the responsibility of the designer and manufacturer.
Refer to rr. 6.2 to 6.31 of the Mine Safety and Inspection Regulations 1995
Managing risk during the life cycle of plant
Purchasing or hiring
Before purchasing or hiring plant, check that it is suitable for the intended use (i.e. fit for purpose), including the environment in which it will be used and the characteristics of the workforce who will be using it. Discuss any needs with the plant supplier.
Installation and commissioning
An employer must ensure that:
- plant (so far as is reasonably practicable) is without risk to the health and safety of any person
- competent persons undertake the installation and commissioning, and have been provided with all necessary information
- there are appropriate inspections and testing during installation, construction and commissioning, before plant is transferred into active service.
Refer to r. 6.20 of the Mine Safety and Inspection Regulations 1995
Use of plant
Before plant is used in a workplace, workers and others who are going to use the plant must be provided with the information, training, instruction and supervision necessary to protect them from risks arising from use of the plant.
Once operational, workers operating the plant need to be competent, or adequately supervised during training, so that they do not put themselves or others at risk.
It is important to retain all operating manuals and instructional material provided by the manufacturer to correctly operate and maintain the plant once it is in the workplace.
Modification of plant or intended use
A new risk assessment is required if changes are planned to:
- the design of the plant
- way the plant is used
- system of work associated with the plant.
Before making any alterations to plant, the designer and manufacturer should be consulted to ensure all relevant safety issues have been considered.
If plant is going to be used in a different way or for a purpose that it was not designed for, a competent person needs to assess the risks associated with the new use.
Refer to rr. 6.21(a) and 6.23 of the Mine Safety and Inspection Regulations 1995
Storage of plant
Plant that is not in use must be stored so it does not pose a risk to workers or other people in the workplace. Before plant is used after an extended period of storage, it should be re-commissioned by carrying out the same level of testing and inspection as when it was first commissioned.
Refer to r. 6.24(1)(2) of the Mine Safety and Inspection Regulations 1995
Decommissioning and disposal
Hazards inherent in the process of decommissioning and dismantling the plant (e.g. exposure to hazardous substances) should be identified. The plant should be dismantled in accordance with the designer’s and manufacturer’s instructions.
If the plant is to be resold, the seller will take on the duties of a person that supplies plant. If the plant is to be used for scrap or spare parts, the person receiving the plant should be told that the plant is being supplied as scrap or spare parts and, in its current form, is not to be used as plant. This needs to be done in writing or by marking the item of plant.
Refer to r. 6.24(3) of the Mine Safety and Inspection Regulations 1995
Keeping records for plant
A person with management and control of plant must keep records of:
- design or item registration
- all tests, inspections and maintenance
- commissioning and decommissioning
- dismantling and alterations of the plant.
These records must be kept for the period the plant is used or until the person relinquishes control of the plant.
The records must be available for inspection and be made available to any person to whom the plant is relinquished or sold.
For mining operations, a classified plant record book must be kept to record relevant tests, inspections, commissioning, or alterations to registered classified plant.
Multiple classified plant record books may be used. For example, it is common for separate books to be kept for iterant registered classified plant. Separate books may also be kept for boilers, cranes (fixed and mobile), lifts, hoists, air receivers and general pressure vessels (process related).
Important note: If there is a presence-sensing safeguarding system at a workplace, the person with management or control of the plant must keep a record of safety integrity tests, inspections, maintenance, commissioning, and decommissioning.
Refer to rr. 6.40(2) and 6.25 of the Mine Safety and Inspection Regulations 1995
High impact function (HIF) audits are available for fixed plant and classified plant.
Safe Work Australia has a National Code of Practice – Managing the Risks of Plant in the Workplace.