Mobile plant

The operation of powered mobile plant at construction workplaces exposes workers to a range of risks to health and safety, including the risks of:

  • the plant overturning
  • things falling on the operator of the plant
  • the operator being ejected from the plant
  • the plant colliding or coming into contact with any person or thing (e.g. workers, other vehicles or plant, energised powerlines)
  • mechanical or other failures (e.g. hydraulic failures, release of hazardous substances).

People required to operate or work around powered mobile plant may also be exposed to excessive noise and vibration, hazardous fumes, fall hazards while accessing or evacuating the plant, and musculoskeletal hazards (e.g. access to plant, operator controls).

Powered mobile plant is defined by the Work Health and Safety Regulation 2011 (PDF, 2.53 MB) (WHS Regulation) to mean any plant that is provided with some form of self-propulsion that is ordinarily under the direct control of an operator, and includes:

  • earthmoving machinery (e.g. rollers, graders, scrapers, bobcats)
  • excavators
  • cranes
  • hoists
  • elevating work platforms
  • concrete placement booms
  • reach stackers and forklifts.

The WHS Regulation includes requirements for the registration of plant, the registration of plant designs, and for high risk work licences for plant operation. View information about plant licensing and registration.

Demonstrating competency to operate earthmoving or particular crane plant (EPCs)

EPC licences to operate certain types of plant are not required under the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (PDF, 833 KB).

Find out more about licensing for earthmoving or particular crane (EPC) occupational classes.

Legislation

The specific requirements for relating to plant are located in the Work Health and Safety Regulation 2011 (PDF, 2.53 MB) , Part 5.1 Division 7 – General duties of a person conducting a business or undertaking involving management or control of plant, and are summarised below.

The following Queensland codes of practice provide guidance on managing the risks associated with specific types of plant:

Specific legislative requirements for plant

Powered mobile plant – general control of risk

The person with management or control of powered mobile plant at a workplace must manage the associated risks to health and safety

WHS Regulation 2011, s214

Safe work method statements

Safe work method statements are required for all high risk construction work, including any construction work that is carried out in an area at a workplace in which there is any movement of powered mobile plant

WHS Regulation 2011, s291 and s299

Powered mobile plant – specific control measures

The person with management or control of powered mobile plant at a workplace must ensure:

  • that a suitable combination of operator protective devices are provided, maintained and used
  • that no person other than the operator rides on the plant unless they are provided with the same level of protection as the operator
  • that the plant does not collide with pedestrians or other powered mobile plant
  • that where there is a risk of collision, that the plant has a warning device to warn other persons of the risk

WHS Regulation 2011, s215

Plant that lifts and suspends loads

The person with management or control of the plant at a workplace must ensure that the plant used is specifically designed to lift or suspend the load or, if that is not reasonably practicable, that the plant does not cause a greater risk to health and safety than if specifically designed plant were used.

Additional requirements apply for plant not specifically designed to lit or suspend a person

WHS Regulation 2011, s218

Plant not specifically designed to lift or suspend a person

The person with management or control of plant at a workplace must ensure that:

  • persons are lifted or suspended in a work box that is securely attached to the plant
  • the persons within the work box remain substantially within the work box
  • if there is a risk of a fall from a height, that a safety harness is worn
  • a means of safe exit is provided in the event of a failure in its normal operation

WH Safety Regulation 2011, s219

Preventing unauthourised alterations of interference

The person with management or control of plant at a workplace must prevent alterations to or interference with the plant that are not authorised by the person

WHS Regulation 2011, s205

Proper use of plant

The person with management or control of plant at a workplace must take steps to ensure the plant is only used for the purpose for which it is designed, except where it is determined by a competent person that there is no additional risk to health and safety

WHS Regulation 2011, s206

Proper use of plant controls

The person with management or control of plant at a workplace must take steps to ensure that all safety features and warning devices are used in accordance with instructions, including guarding, operational controls, emergency stops and warning devices

WHS Regulation 2011, s206

Plant not in use

The person with management or control of plant at a workplace must ensure that plant not in use is left in a state that does not create a risk to the health and safety of any person

WHS Regulation 2011, s207

Guarding

The person with management or control of plant must ensure that:

  • guarding is appropriately fixed (e.g. permanent barrier, interlocked barrier, requiring tools to remove)
  • is of a solid construction
  • makes bypassing or disabling as difficult as is reasonably possible.

Guarding must also be of a kind that can be removed to allow maintenance and cleaning at any time that it is not in normal operation

WHS Regulation 2011, s208

Guarding and insulation against heat and cold

The person with management or control of plant must ensure that any pipe or other part associated with heat or cold is guarded or insulated to eliminate risks to health and safety

WHS Regulation 2011, s209

Operational controls

The person with management or control of plant at a workplace must ensure that operator's controls are:

  • identified so as to indicate their nature and function
  • located so that they are readily and conveniently operated
  • located or guarded to prevent unintentional activation
  • able to be locked off.

Additional requirements apply when performing maintenance

WHS Regulation 2011, s210

Emergency stop controls

If the plant includes an emergency stop control, the person with management or control of the plant must ensure:

  • it is prominent, clearly and durably marked and immediately accessible to each operator
  • any handle, bar or push button is coloured red.

it cannot be adversely affected by electrical or electronic circuit malfunction

WHS Regulation 2011, s191

Warning devices

Where an item of plant includes or requires a warning device, the person with management or control of the plant must ensure the device is positioned to ensure it will work to its best effect

WHS Regulation 2011, s212

Maintenance and inspection of plant

Plant maintenance, inspection and testing must be carried out by a competent person.

Maintenance, inspection and testing must be carried out:

  • in accordance with the manufacturer's recommendations, or
  • if there are no manufacturer's recommendations, in accordance with the recommendations of a competent person, or
  • in the absence of either of the above, annually

WHS Regulation 2011, s213

Last updated
09 September 2016