What Is A Plant Hazard Risk Assessment?

Have you ever been asked for a Plant Hazard Risk Assessment, Plant Safety Analysis or similar? Read our guide to learn more and don’t forget to check out our safety templates to save you time!

The Work Health and Safety Act (2011) legislates that all workplaces must ensure that plant is safe to use and is being used safely. Is your workplace up to code?

Just need a Plant Hazard Risk Assessment Template? Download our Plant Risk Assessment Form hereYou can use this template to conduct plant risk assessments for your workplace!

What is plant?

This has nothing to do with ferns or potting mix. The term plant in the context of a workplace refers to any piece of equipment, appliance, tool or machinery. This can be anything from a forklift to a computer. 

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Types of plant

While everything used in a workplace comes under the title of plant, there are many different types of plant, and therefore, many different standards of WHS Legislation around it.

Some plant, such as a forklift, can only be operated by someone who has been trained and holds the appropriate license. (For more information on what types of plant require licensing, visit the QLD Government page on work licences).

A smaller low risk item that requires manual support to operate, such as a screwdriver, will simply come under general duty of care.

What is a Plant Hazard?

Any situation that could potentially result in harm to an employee or damage to property is referred to as a risk or hazard. As well as being law, ensuring a safe workplace prevents accidents before they occur resulting in more productive employees and lower costs in the long run.

What is a Risk Assessment?

Managing risks to eliminate or minimise risks to workers is a condition of doing business in Queensland as legislated in the Work Health and Safety Act 2011. While company directors and managers are legally required to provide a safe working environment, it is the duty of every employee to take reasonable care for their own health and safety.

So What Is A Plant Hazard Risk Assessment?

A Plant Hazard Risk Assessment is a document that businesses use to identify, assess, control and review the risks associated with a specific item of plant.

Plant Hazard Risk Assessment in Four Steps:

  1. Identify hazards
  • Walk through your place of work and ensure workers are using all plant properly
  • Note any housekeeping issues (eg. slip, trip and fall hazards)
  • Discuss your workers’ health and ask them about any of their safety concerns, near misses or unreported incidents. 

Click here for a free Hazard Register Form!

  1. Assess risk

The severity of risk will depend on the type of plant being used. If something was to go wrong with a photocopier, this could result in discomfort or mild injury to the user or perhaps damage to the equipment itself. Incidents when operating a forklift, however, can and have resulted in death.

Factors to consider include;

  • the type of plant, 
  • the condition it’s in, 
  • the location it is used, 
  • how it is used, 
  • how often it is used, and
  • the skill and knowledge of the person operating it.
  • What controls are already in place to reduce the risk of harm?

Some questions you may want to ask yourself could include:

  • Are staff sufficiently trained in the protocols of the type of plant? 
  • Is the equipment regularly maintained, checked and cleaned?  
  • Is the appropriate Personal Protective Equipment being used?
  1. Control risks

Once the risk has been assessed, one can decide what, if any, action needs to be taken to control risks. Some examples of this can include:

  • Use of personal protective equipment
  • Maintenance or repairs on equipment
  • Training or re-training of staff to use plant
  • Substituting the hazard with something safer
  • Eliminating the hazard completely
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  1. Review

To ensure safe working conditions continue, make sure to record all control measures, records of training and any plans for changes.

Where Can I Find More Information about Health and Safety?

The Queensland Government website provides all information regarding work health and safety – check it out here!

Where Can I Find More Free Resources on Hazard and Risk Assessment?

Just need a Plant Hazard Risk Assessment Template? Download our Plant Risk Assessment Form hereYou can use this template to conduct plant risk assessments for your workplace!

For free Work Health and Safety Templates for Construction and companies in Queensland – click here!

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