What is Plant?
Plant includes any machinery, equipment, appliance, container, implement and tool, and includes any component or anything fitted or connected to any of those things. Plant includes items as diverse as lifts, cranes, computers, machinery, conveyors, forklifts, vehicles, power tools and amusement devices.
Brewers, like many in the food and beverage industry, purchase plant and equipment from many sources and often import these products. Much of the brewery equipment is imported from China and Canada and the supplier places lots of importance on providing the “CE – Certified European” stamp. This is important, however there is still a requirement on the “end user” to conduct a risk assessment of their plant and equipment prior to use.
Some small items of equipment may not warrant a risk assessment, you may be satisfied to simply follow the manufacturer’s guidance. Other larger, more hazardous items of plant such as pressure vessels may require registration with the local regulator and engineer certification of the design elements.
The unsafe use, and the lack of, guarding is a large cause of incidents related to plant and equipment. Due to mechanical, electrical and mobility of plant, hazards may be difficult to identify. These hazards include but are not limited to:
|· Crushing, Striking & Pinching||· Behavioural & Human Factors (working alone, fatigue etc)|
|· Electrocution||· Manual Handling & Ergonomics|
|· Entanglement||· Chemical Exposure (Incl. Steam, Vapour, dust & fumes)|
|· Cutting, Stabbing, Puncturing & Shearing||· Confined Spaces|
|· Fire & Explosion||· Access Hazards (Heights, restricted spaces etc)|
controls to consider
Controlling these risks originates out of driving safety as a culture within the workplace. Common reasoning is “the cost outweighs the benefits”. However, cost is not a defence in accordance with the WHS legislation, unless it is disproportionate to the risk, which is extremely hard to prove.
Ensuring controls are sufficient for safeguarding tends to improve the efficiency of reduced machine breakdowns and downtime, increases performance of production and improves morale. Avoiding any injury by implementing machine safety controls can also improve the image of your company, save you the cost of workers compensation claims. A simple guard can promote improvement of safety for personnel within your brewery.
When things go wrong
A recent example of an incident relating to poor machine safety (January 2018), is Morris McMahon & Co. factory being fined $180,000 due to a casual worker losing three fingers, following a hand crush in a machine. The investigation showed a lack of guarding, insufficient procedures and training caused the incident, resulting in the worker having a permanent impairment. Full story can be found here.
Inspections, Repairs and Maintenance
Plant and equipment must be maintained, inspected and repaired on a regular basis, and when it is required. Manufacturers provide specifications to assist in how to ensure the safe usage of the plant. Competent and qualified engineers or inspectors conduct several complex tests during an “in-service” inspection to ensure the safety and the proper usage of the plant, pinpointing the critical points that could have potential hazards.
Plant should not have any changes to the original design, unless these changes mitigate risk. It should also be operating to its purpose. A repair would include a minor fix without compromising the integrity of the plant and should only be conducted by competent and trained qualified personnel. Any major repairs that include modification from the original design of the plant, will require a review of the design, verification of the design by competent personnel and potentially a new registration of the plant, detailing the changes to the design.
New Equipment & Applying IBASafe
It is important to understand that when procuring a new piece of plant, the relevant Australian Standards need to apply. Whether you are an importer, supplier, manufacturer, designer or installer, reasonable steps are to be taken to ensure the right information is provided and is certified to the required standards for the piece of plant.
If you have acquired plant without any information, it is recommended a Plant Risk Assessment is conducted to identify any hazards that could arise during the use of the plant. Each plant’s lifecycle will have different hazards at different stages:
The IBASafe Risk Assessment form will step you through a risk assessment. This can be applied to all plant and equipment. When undertaking this plant risk assessment, consider the mechanical and non-mechanical risks to create an awareness of what could go wrong, and the controls required. IBASafe will support brewers to implement thorough and appropriate control measures.
Plant that has a higher level of risk of harm associated with its operation, use or maintenance must be registered by the owner, lessee or controller of the plant. As per the WHS Regulations, Pressure Vessels are required to be a registrable plant. This equipment is to be renewed annually. For more information on plant registration visit your State’s Regulator website:
For more information or to get started with the IBASafe System, contact our program partners Victual