WHS duties

If your work involves plant, you must identify and manage the related risks to keep people safe. You must always first try to eliminate risks. If you can’t, you must minimise them, so far as is reasonably practicable. 

Your duties as a person conducting a business or undertaking (PCBU) with management or control of plant in your workplace include:  

  • providing and maintaining safe plant 

  • safely using, handling, storing and transporting plant. 

Multiple duties with plant 

You can have more than one duty at a time. For example, if you own and operate plant, , you have duties: 

  • as a person with management or control of plant 

If you modify it yourself, you may also take on duties: 

  • as a plant designer and manufacturer. 

Multiple people can also have the same duty at the same time. 

When regulations don’t apply to plant 

The model WHS Regulations don’t apply to plant that: 

  • relies only on manual power for its operation, and 

  • is designed to be primarily supported by hand. 

People who manage or control plant  

If you manage or control plant, you have specific duties to ensure it’s safe, including to: 

  • manage risks with plant 

  • prevent unauthorised alterations or interference with plant 

  • ensure people only use plant for its designed purpose or ensure a competent person confirms using it in a different way doesn’t increase risk 

  • not ask or allow a worker to use registrable plant if it’s not registered. 

To keep workers safe, you must provide: 

Seller’s agents 

Supplier duties apply to seller’s agents, like auctioneers.  

They do not apply if the agent does not control or make decisions about the supply. 

For example, an agent selling used agricultural plant at farm clearing sales doesn’t possess the plant and has little or no control of the supply. Here, supplier duties only apply to the seller. 

Designers, manufacturers, importers and suppliers  

If you design, manufacture, import or supply plant, you must: 

  • ensure the plant you design, manufacture, import or supply is without risks, so far as is reasonably practicable – or minimise risks if that’s not possible 

  • obtain and pass on information about its proper use and risks. 

You may import or supply plant as a range of components and then assemble before selling it.  

When assembling components is part of the manufacturing process, manufacturing duties apply. 

Which information to provide 

Designers must provide information about the plant to manufacturers. 

Manufacturers, importers and suppliers must get this information and give it to the next person in the plant supply chain. 

Designers must provide information about: 

  • the plant’s intended purpose 

  • calculation, analysis, testing or examination results 

  • conditions to ensure the plant is without risks.  

If relevant, this may also include information on: 

  • manufacturing and assembling the plant 

  • storing, installing, commissioning and using the plant 

  • inspecting, testing, maintaining and repairing the plant 

  • decommissioning, dismantling or disposing the plant 

  • hazards and risks with using the plant 

  • required testing or inspections 

  • work systems and competency for using the plant safely 

  • procedures in an emergency or if there’s a malfunction. 

Supplying second-hand plant 

If you supply second-hand plant, you must: 

  • identify any faults with the plant 

  • give the buyer information about the plant's condition 

  • notify the buyer of these faults. 

If the second-hand plant is for scrap or spare parts, you must inform the buyer. You can do this in writing or by marking the plant.