What is plant?
‘Plant’ is a general name for any machinery, equipment, appliance, implement or tool and any component, fitting or accessory.
It can include things as diverse as presses in a foundry, underground drill jumbos in mining and photocopiers in an office.
Plant can range from electric drills, lifts, escalators, tractors, haul trucks, hand trolleys, cranes, commercial fishing nets to arc welding gear.
Buildings, steel structures and their foundations are also considered to be plant, particularly if they are load-supporting structures.
Plant can be described as being either fixed (e.g. conveyor) or mobile (e.g. truck).
The term ‘plant’ is defined in Part 1, Section 4 of the Mines Safety and Inspection Act 1994.
High risk work licences are required to operate certain types of plant (e.g. some cranes, fork lifts, elevating work platforms, boilers).
What types of plant are there?
There are many types of plant at a mine site but there is a particular group, related to a higher operational hazard, referred to as 'classified plant', that has specific regulatory requirements.
All other machinery is deemed to be duty-of-care type plant.
Important note: Under Part 2 of the Mines Safety and Inspection and Part 6, Division 2 of the Mine Safety and Inspection Regulations 1995, the principal employer and any other employer at a mine site must provide a safe working environment in relation to all plant.
Regulation 6.1 of the Mines Safety Inspection Regulations 1995 defines classified plant as:
- any boiler
- pressure vessel.
Classified plant is required by the regulations to fully comply with specific Australian Standards. Furthermore, certain types of classified plant require registration with the State Mining Engineer before they can be used on a Western Australian mine site.
See r. 6.1 of the Mine Safety and Inspection Regulations 1995 for more details, including definitions.
Registered classified plant
Certain types and sizes of classified plant must be registered with the State Mining Engineer before they can be used on a Western Australian mine site. These are referred to a registered classified plant.
With the exception of plant covered under several general exemptions, classified plant requiring registration is listed in regulation 6.34(5) and includes:
- pressure equipment, other than pressure piping and equipment categorised as hazard level A, B, C or D according to the criteria identified in Australian Standard AS 4343.2
- gas cylinders covered by AS 2030 (currently exempted)
- powered tower cranes
- building maintenance units
- powered hoists, with a platform movement in excess of 2.4 m and designed to lift people
- work boxes suspended from cranes
- prefabricated scaffolding
- boom-type elevating work platforms
- gantry cranes with a safe working load greater than 5 t, or bridge cranes with a safe working load greater than 10 t, and any gantry crane or bridge crane which is designed to handle molten metal or dangerous goods
- powered vehicle hoists
- powered mast climbing work platforms
- mobile cranes with a safe working load greater than 10 t.
See General exemptions relating to classified plant in the link below:
Refer to rr. 6.1, 6.34(1) and 6.34(5) of the Mine Safety and Inspection Regulations 1995 for more details.
Australian Standards are available from Standards Australia.