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)

  • Why do I need to consider safety when purchasing or hiring plant/equipment?

    • Many injuries and illnesses associated with plant/equipment occur due to a failure to select the right equipment for the job. Therefore before you purchase, you need to check that it is suitable for the intended use, including the infrastructure and environment where it will be used and the workers who will be using it.
    • There is an opportunity for many of the hazards to be addressed before introducing the plant/equipment into your workplace, that is, in the planning and purchasing/hiring stages.  For example, purchasing machinery that is designed and built to produce low noise levels is more effective than providing workers with personal hearing protectors.  This also avoids costly modifications to plant/equipment after it is purchased/hired.
    • There is a Work Health and Safety legislative requirement.  The Approved Code of Practice “Managing risks of plant in the workplace” sets out the specific requirements for controlling the risks from purchasing and hiring plant to disposal.
  • What do I need to consider during the purchase/hiring, installation and commissioning of plant/equipment?

    Before purchasing, hiring or leasing, installing and commissioning plant/equipment, you need to determine:

    • the hazards and risks associated with the installation, operation, inspection, maintenance, repair, transport, storage and dismantling of the plant/equipment;
    • the control measures needed to minimise these hazards and risks;
    • the manufacturer’s recommendations in relation to the frequency and type of inspection and maintenance needed;
    • any special skills required for people who operating the equipment or carry out inspection and maintenance;
    • any special conditions or equipment required to protect the health and safety of people carrying out activities such as installation, operation and maintenance; and
    • any alterations or modifications to be made to the plant/equipment.

    This also applies to the purchase of second-hand plant/equipment.

    A Plant/Equipment acquisition, installation and Commissioning checklist is provided. The questions and prompts will guide you in your thinking.

    It is also recommended that you refer to the:

    • Approved Code of Practice “Managing risks of plant in the workplace”, especially if you are purchasing/hiring hazardous plant/equipment; and
    • HSW Handbook chapter Plant/Equipment Safety Management which also provides additional University requirements.

    If you are purchasing a vehicle, please refer to the HSW FAQs - Vehicle Safety Management.

  • What are the obligations if the School/Branch supplies or leases plant/equipment to another organisation/person?

    If you supply/lease plant/equipment to someone, as the “hirer” or “lessor” you have the same legal obligations as any supplier/lessor of plant/equipment under the WHS Regulations.

    For example the following is to be provided:

    • Information about how to use the plant/equipment safely
    • Design and item registration requirements (if applicable)
    • Inspection, maintenance requirements.

    You will also be required to maintain records of inspections and maintenance carried out.

    Refer to the Safe Work Australia website “Guide for importing and supplying safe plant” and the Code of Practice: Managing risks of plant in the workplace for additional information on your legal requirements.

  • Where do I obtain further information on the purchase, hiring, installation and commissioning of plant/equipment?

    If you require further information, please contact a member of the local HSW Team.


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)

  • In a University context, what are considered to be vehicles?

    A vehicle includes, but is not limited to:

    • Cars
    • Buses
    • Trucks
    • Aircraft
    • 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 (please also refer to the HSW Handbook Chapter Boating Operations)
    • Mobile agricultural equipment.
  • What uses of vehicles are not considered University work use, with regard to safety management?

    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 with regard to safety management?

    Please refer to the HSW Handbook Chapter Plant/Equipment Safety Management Appendix E for all vehicle licencing requirements.

    In accordance with the HSW Handbook Chapter Plant/Equipment Safety Management (, 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.

    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 safety requirements 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. Please refer to the local motor vehicle legislation or road rules.

  • What are the safety-related training requirements for vehicle operations?

  • What are the registration requirements for safe vehicle operations?

    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 are the maintenance requirements with regard to safety?

    All vehicles must be regularly maintained and serviced in accordance with manufacturer’s/designer’s specification (includes any specifications for vehicles designed or modified by the University of Adelaide) to ensure continued safe operation and efficiency (as per HSW Handbook Chapter Plant/Equipment Safety Management).

    Truck and bus maintenance must comply with the Government of SA Roadworthiness Guidelines.

    Refer to the University's Motor Vehicle Procedures for more information.

    All maintenance and servicing records for each vehicle will be retained for the life of the equipment.

  • What are the vehicle safety requirements for aviation activities (including unmanned aircraft/drones)?

    The Civil Aviation Safety Regulations (CASRs) stipulate the requirements for aviation activities.

    Drones (unmanned aircraft) are covered under the HSW Handbook chapter Drone Safety Management and it should be noted that the chapter has specific requirements for any drone use with respect to University activities.

    Any aviation activities should take into account disruption to flight paths and if applicable have the approval of the local air traffic control.

    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 your local 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 WHS Regulations.

    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 HSW Handbook Chapter Training Plan.

    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, and number of passengers and the safety features that are available.  A Vehicle Pre Commissioning Checklist (Appendix A) is available to assist in these processes.

    If in doubt, contact your local HSW contact.

    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 a task, it is preferable to use a hire vehicle rather than 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 HSW Handbook chapter Hazard Management. Additional guidance is also provided in the Off-Campus activity (including field work) frequently asked questions.

    The staff member undertaking the risk assessment (where required) should consider whether the following controls would be useful in mitigating the consequences of some of the hazards in an emergency:

    • first aid;
    • fire extinguishers; and
    • communication

    in the event of an emergency.

    If you have an accident, the Motor Vehicle Claim Procedure form (which is required to be kept in the glovebox off all University vehicles) is to be completed 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 University vehicle?

    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 HSW Handbook Chapter Hazard Management.

    Examples of common hazards

    Use of a mobile phone

    Under the Road Traffic Act, a mobile phone may only be used to make or receive a phone call (defined to exclude email, text or video messages) if the phone is either:

    • secured in a mounting affixed to the vehicle - the mounting must be commercially designed and manufactured for the purpose and attached as the manufacturer intended; or
    • remotely operated - the phone must not be held by or resting on the body (driver’s pocket or pouch excluded) and there must be no touching of the keypad.  This is aimed at blue tooth technology, and earpieces and headsets (which themselves may be touched).

    If a driver wishes to make or receive a call, including dialing a number, and needs to touch the phone (including its keypad) in order to do so, the phone must be mounted.

    If the phone is used via blue tooth or a headset or earphones without touching it, the phone may be located anywhere in the vehicle, including in the driver’s pocket or a pouch they are wearing. The driver may touch the ear piece or headset to operate the phone.

    A driver’s freedom to use a mobile phone to make or receive calls or any other function of any type if the car is parked (but not stationary in a traffic queue or at lights) is not affected.

    Can the driver use a hand held phone on loudspeaker?

    The driver may only use a mobile phone on loudspeaker if it is:

    • secured in a mounting that is commercially designed and manufactured and affixed to the vehicle in the manner intended by the manufacturer; or
    • if the phone is remotely operated, for example voice activated blue tooth or similar technology or through an earpiece or headset, and the phone is not held by or resting on any part of the body and there is no use of the keypad of the phone.
    Vibration (especially agricultural vehicles and driving off road)

    Operation of vehicles may expose the worker to vibration. Hand-Arm Vibration (HAV) and Whole Body Vibration (WBV) at certain levels can result in adverse health effects.  For more information on these hazards, exposure standards and control measures please refer to the Safework Australia website and guidance materials.

    Roll over of open cabin vehicles

    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. For open cabin vehicles purchased prior to 1981, installation was due by 1st of January 2014.

    General Hazards

    Other hazards associated with vehicle operation could include exposure to chemical fumes from exhaust, being struck by a moving vehicle, chemical transport, fire risk when driving on paddocks, manual handling during loading of items into vehicles, contact with a stationary object, collision with wildlife, entanglement in moving parts, exposure to noise, slips/trips/falls, caught between moving parts, and struck by falling objects and unrestrained cargo.

  • 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 tree has been added below to assist Supervisors/Managers in fatigue management. Refer to the HSW Handbook Chapters Plant/Equipment Safety Management (Appendix G), Hazard Management, for further information.

Further information

Please contact the HSW Team.