Chapter 28: Plant

Chapter 28: Plant


Machinery, equipment, appliances or tools that can be generically grouped as ‘plant’ are ubiquitous in most workplaces. While many hazards are associated with such plant, this chapter focuses on the hazards associated with the moving parts of machinery, which have the potential to cause injury by crushing, shearing, entangling, trapping, hitting or abrading, or through the uncontrolled release of pressure. Most of these ‘kinetic energy’ or ‘potential energy’ related injuries are associated with fixed plant; however, a significant number of these injuries arise from use of powered equipment and tools in workshop, kitchen, office and garden workplaces. Identifying these hazards and assessing the associated risk requires knowledge of how kinetic and potential energy behave as well as factors at the machine-human interface that may lead to loss of control of the energy. Control strategies for these hazards have evolved from the simple approach of fencing in dangerous machine parts to a more sophisticated systematic approach involving: elimination or minimisation of the risk through design; engineering controls to prevent access to hazardous zones or to protect workers who have to access hazardous zones; administrative controls, including provision of information, training and instruction; and procedural approaches, such as Permit To Work and lockout/tagout systems. In developing or monitoring such controls, the generalist Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) professional must remain aware of the ways such protections can be defeated or break down.

Keywords: plant, machinery, equipment, guard, energy, injury, safety

First year of publication: 2012
Current Version : 2012

Chapter 28: Plant

Table of contents

1 Introduction
2 Historical perspective
3 Extent of the problem
4 Understanding plant hazards
4.1 An energy approach
4.2 Injury process and outcomes
4.3 Risk factors
4.4 Human-machine interface
4.5 Section summary
5 Legislation and standards
6 Control of mechanical hazards associated with plant
6.1 Elimination or minimisation through design
6.2 Engineering controls
6.3 Defeat of safeguarding systems
6.4 Administrative controls
6.5 Personal protective equipment
7 Implications for OHS practice
8 Summary
Key thinkers and resources

Tony Payne BE(Mech), GDipOHM, GDipErg, MIEAust, CPEng, CPE, CPMSIA
Ergonomics Engineer Director, Payne Consulting Services Pty Ltd

Tony is a safety and ergonomics professional with over 30 years experience working as s an employee, researcher and more recently as an independent consultant. For the last 10 years he has been the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society of Australia representative on the Standards Australia Committee SF-041 developing the current standards on machine safety. He continues to provide consulting services and training to organisations in both the Government and private sectors.

Peer reviewer
Ern Millard CMechE, GDipOHM, CPMSIA
Principal Consultant, Ern Millard and Associates Pty Ltd Chair, Standards Australia Committee SF–041 Safety of Machinery (1988–present)

Learning Outcomes: Physical Hazards: Plant

The OHS Body of Knowledge takes a conceptual approach which enables it to be applied in different contexts and frameworks.

To optimise its value for education and professional development learning outcomes have been developed for each technical chapter in the Body of Knowledge.

The learning outcomes as described give an indication of what should be the capabilities of an OHS professional; it is up to those developing OHS education programs, OHS professionals planning their CPD or recruiters or employers selecting or developing people for the OHS function to consider the required breadth vs. depth .

Please read the section on using the learning outcomes before delving into the leaning outcomes of the individual chapters.

The numbers against each learning outcome refer to the chapter number of the BOK download page. No learning outcomes have been developed for the chapters considered introductory or underpinning knowledge (that is chapters 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 1, .13, 14, 15.)

Find Out More About Using the OHS BOK Learning Outcomes