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School operations

Plant and Equipment Management

4  Controlling plant and equipment risks

4.1  Control measures

The principal and/or their delegate in consultation with the HSR and employees are to ensure suitable controls, as outlined in the OHS Risk Management Procedure, are selected and implemented where plant and equipment risks are identified. This is to be documented on the Plant and Equipment Risk Management Form.

Examples of plant and equipment controls, from most-to-least effective, could include:

  • determining whether the task can be completed by an alternative method — for example, purchasing timber pre-cut to the correct length
  • installing and maintaining fixed guarding on machinery
  • training employees in appropriate courses to obtain the required competencies
  • developing Safe Work Procedures
  • providing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), such as ear and eye protection.

Where the controls include development of procedures for the safe operation and/or use of plant and equipment, a Safe Work Procedure Template should be completed and displayed adjacent to all items of static plant and accessible to operators of portable plant.

Plant and equipment that is identified as being unsafe must be isolated and tagged as per the Equipment Isolation and Tag Out Procedure.

4.2  Training and Education

The principal and/or their delegate are to ensure teachers are competent to use plant and equipment in their facilities.

Teachers are required to have the necessary qualifications as outlined in the Victorian Institute of Teaching (VIT) Qualification for Teacher Registration Qualification Policy to enable them to teach Materials Technology in schools.

This shall be supplemented by successful completion of relevant modules of the Safe Use of Machinery in Technology Teaching course. Further information on this course is available from the Department’s OHS Advisory Service on 1300 074 715.

Training records are to be maintained by the principal and/or their delegate as outlined in the OHS Induction and Training Procedure.

4.3  Maintenance

The principal and/or their delegate are to ensure that a record of inspections and maintenance is kept for each item of plant and equipment. This includes scheduled maintenance, breakdown maintenance and replacement of parts (e.g. blades and belts) outside the scheduled maintenance program. Maintenance requirements should be determined in accordance with the supplier or manufacturer recommendations. Details recorded for plant and equipment should as a minimum include:

  • plant and equipment name
  • location
  • serial or identification number
  • description of work performed
  • completion date of repairs/maintenance
  • who the work was performed by.

If the workplace does not have an existing recording system, the Plant and Equipment Maintenance Form may be used. When items of plant are being maintained or repaired they must be isolated and tagged as per the Equipment Isolation and Tag Out Procedure.

The principal and/or their delegate should ensure that contractors engaged to undertake maintenance are managed as per the Contractor OHS Management Procedure. The frequency of the maintenance program will depend on:

  • legislative requirements
  • manufacturer recommendations and requirements
  • results of the Plant and Equipment Risk Management Form
  • plant and equipment breakdown / failure rates.

4.4  Reviewing controls

The principal and/or their delegate are responsible for reviewing the effectiveness of risk controls in consultation with the HSR and employees.

The principal and/or their delegate should review the completed Plant and Equipment Risk Management Form, OHS Risk Register and any other relevant sources of information (for example, operating manual) to determine if the current controls are appropriate for individual items of plant and equipment. Any changes to the risk controls must be documented on the relevant Plant and Equipment Risk Management Form and the OHS Risk Register.

Plant and Equipment Risk Management Forms are to be reviewed and revised whenever there is evidence to indicate that the controls may no longer be valid, for example:

  • when the system of work for plant and equipment changes
  • if the plant and equipment is used in a manner other than what it was designed for
  • when an incident occurs involving an item of plant
  • when new information regarding the safety of the plant and equipment becomes available.

4.5  Licensing requirements

WorkSafe Victoria requires the operator of certain items of plant and equipment to hold a relevant licence. Licencing requirements can be found in Schedule 3 of the Victorian Occupational Health and Safety Regulations — High Risk Work Licence Classes.

The principal and/or their delegate should ensure that all operators of plant and equipment required to be licenced are identified as per the OHS Induction and Training Procedure.

A photocopy of the current licence must be collected by the principal or their delegate and retained in the training records. The licensing requirements for contractors are to be managed as per the Contractor OHS Management Procedure.

Chapter 4 of the Plant and Equipment Procedure on controlling risks associated with plant and equipment in schools

Reviewed 20 August 2020

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