Plant/Equipment Safety Management FAQs

Below is a list of all frequently asked questions related to Plant/Equipment safety management.

Please scroll down the list to locate the FAQ you need.

Acquisition, installation and commissioning

The purpose of this information sheet is to provide guidance to workers and supervisors when they are purchasing new, used or are hiring items of plant/equipment.

Please refer to vehicle safety management FAQs if you are purchasing a vehicle and the Plant/Equipment Safety Management HSW handbook chapter for overarching responsibilities.

(Printable version)

Vehicle safety management

The purpose of these FAQs is to clarify what is and isn’t considered to be a vehicle for work and to provide guidance on the safe operation of vehicles at work.

Please also refer to the HSW Handbook Chapter Plant/Equipment Safety Management when reading these FAQs.

(Printable version)

Appendix AVehicle Pre Commissioning Checklist

  • What is a vehicle?

    In the context of this information sheet, the following are considered vehicles for work purposes:

    • cars
    • buses
    • trucks
    • aircraft/unmanned aircraft (e.g. drones)
    • trailers
    • motor bikes and quad bikes
    • modified vehicles
    • experimental vehicles
    • forklifts
    • hire vehicles (used for university purposes)
    • remote-controlled vehicles
    • boats and other watercraft or vessels (refer to the Boating Operations Procedure)
    • mobile agricultural equipment.
  • What is not considered a vehicle for University work purposes?

    • Private use of cars that are included in a staff member’s salary package.
    • Use of a private vehicle for travel to and from your usual place of work.
  • What are the licensing requirements for vehicle operations?

    Refer to Plant/Equipment Safety Management Procedure Appendix E for all vehicle licencing requirements.

    In accordance with Plant/Equipment Safety Management Procedure (5.2), if a worker is required to drive for work purposes they must notify their supervisor/manager as soon as practicable if:

    • their licence expires and is not renewed
    • their licence is suspended or restricted
    • they are disqualified from operating a vehicle.

    Staff and students should not under any circumstances operate a vehicle without having the appropriate type or class of licence.

    Workers with a learner’s permit, provisional, probationary, interstate or foreign licence, or who are driving heavy vehicles, must carry their licence whenever driving or operating a vehicle as specified in the Motor Vehicles Act.  Note: that holders of a full South Australian driver’s licence are not required to carry it when driving cars and other light vehicles.

  • Will vehicle rules be different if I am driving anywhere other than South Australia?

    It is likely that the road rules and/or licence requirements will be different interstate and overseas.  As the person driving the vehicle it is your responsibility to understand the rules of the road in the state or country you are driving in, by referring to the local motor vehicle legislation and road rules.

  • What is other safety-related training to be considered for vehicle operations?

  • What are the registration requirements for vehicles?

    All vehicles and trailers used on public roads must be registered.  The following link should assist in determining the registration requirements SA Government, or contact the appropriate government department to determine registration requirements.

  • What vehicle maintenance is required?

    • All vehicles must be regularly maintained and serviced in accordance with manufacturer’s/designer’s specifications (including any specifications for vehicles designed or modified by the University) to ensure continued safe operation and efficiency (as per Plant/Equipment Safety Management Procedure). 
    • Truck and bus maintenance must comply with relevant National Heavy Vehicle Regulator  and South Australian Government requirements.
    • All maintenance and servicing records for each vehicle are required to be retained for the life of the vehicle.
    • For extra information regarding maintenance, the acquisition of motor vehicles purchased or leased, general use, disposal, and the use of private vehicles for university business, refer to the University’s Motor Vehicle Procedures.
  • What are the vehicle safety requirements for aviation activities (including unmanned aircraft/drones/rockets)?

    • The Civil Aviation Safety Regulations (CASRs) stipulate the requirements for aviation activities. 
    • Drones (unmanned aircraft) are covered under the Drone Safety Management Procedure which has specific requirements for any drone use with respect to the University’s activities.
    • Rockets require special import permits and have specific rules regarding the purchasing and storage of fuel.  If you are planning an activity that involves the use of rockets you should consult with rocketry experts, SafeWork SA and the HSW Team.
  • What are the safety requirements specific to experimental vehicles & testing of vehicles?

    • When a vehicle is modified, the person or organisation that undertakes these modifications becomes the designer and/or manufacturer and is subject to the duties imposed upon them in the Work Health and Safety Regulations 2012 (SA).  
    • Testing of vehicles should include a documented test procedure and a risk assessment.  The risk assessment should include any maintenance and servicing specifications.
    • Consideration should be given by the supervisor as to whether driver/operator training needs to be provided for vehicles which are modified or non-standard, including those that do not require a standard driver’s licence.  Records of training sessions are to be maintained as per Training Plan Procedure.
    • If experimental vehicles are to be driven on public roads, the vehicles will require registration.
  • What safety considerations should be made when purchasing and selecting vehicles?

    When considering purchase of a vehicle, consider the intended use, number of passengers and the safety features that are available.  A Vehicle Pre-Commissioning Checklist (Appendix A, or refer to website under tools, forms and templates) is available to assist in these processes.  If in doubt, contact the HSW Team.

    All safety discussions, consultation, risk assessments and other considerations in the decision-making process for purchasing a vehicle should be documented and retained for at least the duration of ownership of the vehicle.

    When a university vehicle is not available or suitable for the task, it is preferable to use a hire vehicle rather than using a personal vehicle.

  • What safety considerations should be made for vehicle emergencies?

    The consideration and identification of potential vehicle emergencies (e.g. hazards) and the control measures required to manage the risk should occur at the planning stage of all activities (including off-campus activities) in accordance with the Hazard Management Procedure.  Additional guidance is also provided in the Off-Campus Activity (Including Field Work) Information Sheet.

    If undertaking a risk assessment, you should consider:

    • which controls would be useful in minimising the impact to health and safety in an emergency
    • first aid kit requirements
    • fire equipment / extinguisher requirements
    • effective means of communication.

    If you have an accident, the Motor Vehicle Claim Procedure form (which is required to be kept in the glovebox of all University vehicles) is to be completed wherever possible at the scene of the accident.  Follow the prompts provided on the procedure in relation to reporting requirements.

  • What are some common safety concerns when operating a vehicle?

    The operation of vehicles can present various hazards.  Below are some of the hazards associated with vehicle operation. These hazards are not exhaustive and the principles of hazard management should be applied in accordance with the Hazard Management Procedure.

    Examples of common hazards are:

    • use of a mobile phone
    • exposure to chemical fumes from exhaust
    • collision
    • chemical/firearms transport
    • fire risk when driving on paddocks
    • manual handling during loading/unloading of items into vehicles
    • collision with wildlife
    • entanglement in moving parts
    • exposure to noise/heat
    • slips/trips/falls
    • struck by falling objects/unrestrained cargo
    • vibration (especially agricultural vehicles and driving off road)
    • roll over of open cabin vehicles (see note).

    Note: in accordance with Work Health & Safety Regulations 2012 (SA) [214, 215 & 216], vehicles with open cabins must include installation of roll-over protective structures (ROPS). While it is anticipated that any new vehicles purchased will be supplied with ROPS, vehicles with open cabins already owned by the University must be reviewed and ROPS installed where necessary.

    Refer to the South Australian Government website for driving hazards, safety tips and road rules.

  • What safety considerations should be made in regard to driver/operator fatigue?

    Supervisors and managers should take fatigue management into account when scheduling vehicle operations.  A decision tool is available to assist supervisors/managers determine if a risk assessment is required. Refer to the Plant/Equipment Safety Management Procedure (Appendix B), Hazard Management Procedure and the South Australian Government website for further information.


    Refer to the South Australian Government website regarding tips for vehicle break-down safety.

Further information

Please contact the HSW Team.