School operations

Plant and Equipment Management


The purpose of this policy is to ensure that risks associated with plant and equipment within schools are identified and managed.


  • The Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Act (2004) (Vic) and OHS Regulations 2017 (Vic) require the Department to provide or maintain, systems of work that are, so far as is reasonably practicable, safe and without risk to health, including risks related to plant and equipment — for example, machinery, appliances, or tools.
  • The principal and/or their delegate (as the local management representative) must lead a systematic approach to identify, assess and control hazards associated with plant and equipment in their workplace/s using the Hierarchy of Controls.
  • Under the OHS Act 2004, employees while at work must take reasonable care for their own health and safety and the safety of others who may be affected by their actions or omissions.
  • Central and regional offices provide a range of support and services to assist principals and employees to be safe and well, including access to the OHS Advisory Service and local regional officers who can provide free advice to schools on managing risks related to plant and equipment.
  • The Plant and Equipment Procedure must be followed, and sets out the practical step-by-step instructions for implementing this policy.
  • This Policy forms part of the Department’s OHS Management System, see OHS Management System (OHSMS) — Employee Health, Safety and Wellbeing for further information.


The principal and/or their delegate (in consultation with the Health and Safety Representative (HSR) or employee(s) affected by the relevant plant and equipment) must ensure that:

  • all plant and equipment are identified and recorded in the Plant and Equipment Register or equivalent, and included in the  column titled ‘Hazard’ in the OHS Risk Register or equivalent, including the level of risk assessed
  • a risk assessment is completed for each identified hazardous item of plant and equipment documented in the Plant and Equipment Risk Management Form or equivalent
  • control measures are identified to reduce the risks, that they are implemented and documented in the OHS Risk Register, and regularly reviewed for effectiveness
  • where the control measures include development of procedures for safe operation of plant and equipment, a Safe Work Procedure Template is completed and displayed adjacent to the item of plant or equipment.

In defining and keeping the control measures up to date, the principal and/or their delegate (in consultation with HSRs and relevant staff), and employees working with plant and equipment, must ensure:


Under the OHS Act 2004, 'plant' includes:

  • any machinery equipment, appliance, implement and tool
  • any component of any of those things
  • anything fitted, connected or related to any of those things.

Hierarchy of Controls
There are a number of ways that risks associated with hazards can be reduced however, the effectiveness of each method may vary. The prioritising of approaches in managing the risks associated with a hazard is called the hierarchy of controls and indicates the decreasing level of effectiveness of various approaches. The hierarchy of controls are:

  • eliminating the hazard at the source
  • substituting the hazard with something else that poses a lesser risk
  • isolating the hazard with an engineering control
  • implementing administrative controls and changing the way work is done
  • providing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).

Often a number of different approaches are used in conjunction with each other to provide a more effective risk control.

Department policy on controlling risks associated with plant and equipment in schools

Reviewed 23 February 2021

Policy last updated

15 June 2020


  • Schools
  • School councils


OHS Advisory Service

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