Machinery Safety & Hazard Guidance

In the world of Plant & Equipment, there are plenty of interesting topics to discuss, especially in relation to the management of safety hazards and risks.


Plant Assessor’s guidance in this area is focused on sharing useful information on specific plant & equipment hazards, the various controls available or required, ensuring your controls are adequate along with long term machine safety management.


The Plant Assessor software considers thousands of hazards associated with different types of plant & equipment, so there is no shortage of topics for us to share with in this section.

Common Machinery Hazards & Controls Technical Guidance

Click on each tab below to read specific type and hazard guidance..

FOPS, 1 OR 2? What the FOPs is it?
What is a FOPS?


FOPS stands for Falling Object Protective Structure. FOPS are Operator Protective Devices designed to protect operators from items that may fall on a piece of earthmoving (or other) machinery when being operated.


Australian Workplace Health & Safety (WHS) legislation mandates the use of the risk assessment process to manage the risks of things falling on operators of powered mobile plant, and specifically identifies the need to consider the use of Operator Protective Devices in doing so.


The model WHS legislation when first issued contained a specific mandatory requirement (Regulation 217) for ROPS and FOPS on all earthmoving equipment and expanded the definition of earthmoving equipment to include a much broader range of gear.


As reported in our technical updates in late 2013 and early 2014, thankfully level heads prevailed and regulation 217 was eventually repealed.


While repealing 217 made sense, the downside consequence of this decision is that it puts a much heavier onus back upon the risk assessment process. It means a risk assessment must be undertaken to consider when it is necessary to fit FOPS, and to what specification. Unfortunately, this requires considerable technical knowledge on the part of the plant inspector.


Thankfully, we good folk at Plant Assessor have done most of the heavy lifting in relation to this technical area to make it much easier for inspectors using Plant Assessor to get it right.


Firstly, we apply the FOPS questions to the right types of equipment, meaning you will not see a FOPS questions applied to a vibrating roller or a paving machine. Then we apply the appropriate questions and provide the right supporting information to allow an inspector to determine the need for a FOPS and the type of FOPS fitted.

Anyway, enough about us, let’s get back to the exciting technical details about FOPS.



There are two different levels of FOPS – Level 1 & Level 2.

The recognised standard to define the performance requirements for FOPS is ISO 3449 Earthmoving machinery – Falling object protective structures. This standard is referenced in AS2294 Earthmoving machinery – Protective structures – general.


ISO 3449 states the following –

  • Level I impact protection –
    Impact strength for protection from small falling objects (e.g. bricks, small concrete blocks, hand tools) encountered in operations such as highway maintenance, landscaping and other construction site services
  • Level II impact protection –
    Impact strength for protection from heavy falling objects (e.g. trees, rocks) for machines involved in site clearing, overhead demolition or forestry


ISO 10262 (Hydraulic excavators – Operator protective guards) includes the same definitions with the exception that excavators under 6000kg are exempt from the requirements of level II.



The practical application is as per these requirements – that is, it is the task the machine is used for that determines which level of FOPS is required. Most machines only require a Level 1 FOPS. The following types of machines require a Level 2 FOPS –


  • –  Demolition machines
  • –  Forestry machines
  • –  Earthmoving machines used to excavate rock vertically
  • –  Tunneling and underground mining machinery



It is a requirement of ISO 3449 that each FOPS is labelled with the performance requirements that the structure meets. Therefore, your machine will have marked on the structure somewhere a reference to ISO3449 and a level that it meets. If there is no level specifically mentioned, then it is assumed that the FOPS is a level 1.


Most machines requiring a FOPS also have a ROPS. The ROPS normally incorporates the FOPS. As the labelling requirements for each standard are similar, and they are often the one structure, the information is usually on the same plate on the structure.



Plant Assessor only applies relevant assessment questions to those machines that FOPS may be relevant for. Below we outline the FOPS questions, and the relevant information included in the Plant Assessor risk assessment if a FOPS is confirmed as present by the inspector.



Is this item of plant fitted with a Falling Objects Protective Structure (FOPS) to ISO 3449 Level I or ISO 10262 Level I?


  • Answer YES if compliance plate states compliance to ISO 3449 or ISO 10262 but not a level.
  • Answer NO if no FOPS is fitted.
  • Answer N/A if Level II FOPS.

To answer this question, you will need to locate the compliance plate which will be attached somewhere on the structure.



This item of plant is fitted with a Level I Falling Objects Protective Structure (FOPS). This structure is designed to protect the operator from small falling objects (e.g. bricks, small concrete blocks and hand tools)


Before operating this item of plant, a task-based risk assessment must be conducted to determine the level of FOPS required.


  • Level I – withstands 1,365 joules (e.g. 20kgs @ 7m drop, 70kgs @ 2m drop)
  • – operations such as highway maintenance, landscaping, and other construction site services
  • Level II – withstands 11,600 joules (e.g. 200kgs @ 6m drop, 394kgs @ 3m drop)
  • – operations such as site clearing, overhead demolition or forestry


To answer this question, you will need to locate the compliance plate which will be attached somewhere on the structure.



Is this item of plant fitted with a Falling Objects Protective Structure (FOPS) to ISO 3449 Level II or ISO 10262 Level II?

  • Answer N/A if no FOPS or Level I FOPS.


As with the Level 1 FOPS question, you will need to locate the compliance plate to answer this question.



This item of plant is fitted with a level II Falling Objects Protective Structure (FOPS). This structure is designed to protect the operator from heavy falling objects (e.g. trees, rocks).


Care should still be exercised when operating in an area with a risk of falling objects.



Operator Protective Guards and in particular FOPS is a relatively complex area of machinery safety. Hopefully, the information above will assist you to understand and manage this key area.


As always, we are keen to hear your feedback and your suggestions for other topics on which you would like us to provide more information. If you have a suggested topic, please contact us (see form below.)


Disclaimer: This information is intended to provide general information on the subject matter. This is not intended as legal or expert advice for your specific situation. You should seek professional advice before acting or relying on the content of this information. Please contact us for further assistance.

Hydraulic Hose Safety


Hydraulics are used on a wide variety of machinery, from pedestrian operated machines to large earthmoving and other equipment.


Hydraulic system components run at significant pressures and temperatures. Hydraulics pose hazards associated with heat and stored hydraulic energy, as well as crush hazards such as falling loads where hydraulic systems fail.


This Guide is focused on inspecting for hydraulic hose safety using Plant Assessor.


Guidance material available in Australia and around the world has steadily been moving away from prescriptive requirements such as how to fasten, shield and safe distances from operators.


The current Australian Standard for Safety of Machinery has the following guidance – AS4024.1201:2014 clause 6.2.10 Pneumatic and hydraulic hazards Pneumatic and hydraulic equipment of machinery shall be designed so that – No hazardous fluid jet or sudden hazardous movement of the hose (whiplash) results from leakage or component failures.


Safe Work Australia specifically include High Pressure Fluid in the Hazards Checklist in the “Managing Risks of Plant in the Work Place Code of Practice”


There major potential risks posed by hydraulics include:



Injection injuries occur when a jet of hydraulic fluid pierces the skin and enters the blood stream.


This generally occurs at close range and requires the fluid in question to be under pressure.


Injection injuries are a potential hazard on machines where the hydraulic hoses run in close proximity to the operator, such as on a vehicle-loading crane.


It should be noted that injection injuries can often result in amputation of the injured body part, so extreme care must be exercised.


The following link, courtesy of is a toolbox talk template on hydraulic injection injuries. Click here to view article

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A hose burst resulting in the release of hydraulic fluid may cause burns to both operators and bystanders in the immediate vicinity.


Containing a fluid burst is especially important in these situations. When assessing the risk, the proximity of operators, as well as bystanders should always be considered.



Whiplash occurs when an unrestrained hose fails and the hose moves rapidly (whips) back and forth until the hydraulic energy is fully released. The whipping hose not only increases the likelihood of contact with hot hydraulic fluid but the hose itself can also cause striking injuries, including concussions, lacerations and broken bones.


The most common point for failure in a hydraulic hose is at the fittings, where corrosion and stress related damage is most likely to occur.

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The following link, courtesy of the NSW Mines Safety Regulator, depicts failure of a corroded hydraulic fitting, and how much force hydraulic fluid can exert during a hose burst. Click here to view article


Plant Assessor includes the following questions for any item of plant that has hydraulics –


  1. “Does this item of plant have hydraulic hoses?”
  2. “Are all hydraulic hoses and fittings free from damage and protected from damage at all points where the hoses come into contact with the plant structure? (if you answer no to this question document the location of the damage/contact in the assessor comments section)”
  3. “Are all hydraulic hoses and fittings located or shielded to protect the operator from injury due to fluid jet or movement (whiplash) of the hose as a result of leakage or component failure? (Diffusion sleeving can act as a shield but must be attached to the fitting not the hose)”


Assessors need to answer these questions Yes or No, and capture suitable comments and photos in the event that a deficiency needs to be further identified, examined and rectified.


Question 1 is straight forward, the item of plant either does or does not have hydraulic hoses. There is no remedial action required if the answer is No, and questions 2 and 3 can be answered N/A.


When answering Question 2 the assessor needs to consider the following:

  1. The age of the hoses
  2. Condition of the hose fittings
  3. Rub marks in the paint work on the machine from hose contact
  4. Wear to the external rubber coating and exposed steel braiding
  5. Presence of shielding, sheathing or protection such as steel springs
  6. The existence of hydraulic leaks

As usual, when conducting an inspection, assessors should err on the side of caution, and where warranted take and upload photos and make relevant comments which will attach to the question in the risk assessment report.


When answering Question 3 the assessor needs to consider the following:

  1. The location of the operator and bystanders during normal operation
  2. The distance between hose fixings (including hose fittings) to determine how far the hose can whiplash if a catastrophic failure occurs. This will give an indication as to the minimum distance at which the operator or bystanders are at risk of a whiplash injury
  3. The presence of shielding and sheathing
  4. The presence of restraining clamps
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Hydraulic hose safety is an important facet of the plant risk assessment process.


At Plant Assessor, we are focused on helping people take control of their machinery safety, and are only too happy to help you consider how best to manage risks associated with hydraulics and any other aspects of your machinery.


For more information on Plant Assessor, please contact us (see form below.)


Disclaimer: This information is intended to provide general information on the subject matter. This is not intended as legal or expert advice for your specific situation. You should seek professional advice before acting or relying on the content of this information. Please contact us for further assistance.

Plant & Powerlines


Across Australia and the rest of the world, there are way too many stories of fatalities and near fatalities resulting from interaction between plant & powerlines.


At Plant Assessor, we see the issue of ensuring safe systems of work for plant around powerlines as a real challenge.  There is a wealth of information available today regarding working around powerlines. In Australia, the best sources of this information include safety regulators and energy industry participants such as regional energy distributors.



The application of the hierarchy of controls is crucial in dealing with any safety hazard.  Review of regulator and distributor guidance highlights a consistent approach by these authorities to the application of the hierarchy of controls in relation to safety when working around powerlines.


The guidance contains the following key themes:

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Unfortunately, in many circumstances, practicality and commerciality see a heavy reliance upon ADMINISTRATIVE CONTROLS such as those set out above to manage this hazard.


As a consequence of this, safe systems of work are heavily reliant upon following procedures, and the competency and vigilance of people involved. As most of us know from grim experience, maintaining the relevant competency and vigilance can be difficult due to human and other factors.


In essence, this slide down the hierarchy of controls is the reason that it is common for fatal or near fatal incidents to occur when working around powerlines. This is the reason it is critical to follow a diligent and comprehensive process when approaching the task of operating plant around powerlines.




New South Wales



South Australia

Australian Capital Territory

Western Australia


Northern Territory


Disclaimer: This information is intended to provide general information on the subject matter. This is not intended as legal or expert advice for your specific situation. You should seek professional advice before acting or relying on the content of this information. Please contact us for further assistance.

Lifting Capacity – Earthmoving Equipment


The lifting of any freely suspended load, whether it be with a crane or an earthmoving machine, is a high risk activity.There are a range of controls required for any lift. When conducting plant risk assessments using Plant Assessor, plant inspectors are prompted to consider a range of safe lifting controls, including rated capacity labelling.In this article we are specifically interested in the lifting capacity labels required on earthmoving machines.



Australian Standard 1418.1 Cranes, Hoists and Winches details the requirements for cranes. It was revised in 2002, and part of this revision included replacing the term “safe working load” with “rated capacity”.


Any reference to the acronym SWL was also removed in this version of the standard. In the preface of AS1418.1 the following insight is provided into the change –


“The term ‘safe working load’ has been changed to ‘rated capacity’ and other uses of the word ‘safe’ have been avoided due to the legal significance placed on the word.”



Excavators, wheel loaders and backhoe loaders are types of earthmoving machines commonly used to lift freely suspended loads.


The applicable definition for “rated capacity” as it applies to earthmoving machinery able to lift freely suspended loads is in AS1418.8-2008 Cranes, hoists and winches – Special purpose appliances.


“The rated capacity shall be the maximum mass (expressed in kilograms) that may be handled at the maximum lift point radius, or reach, expressed in metres in the most adverse configuration for each lift point without the strength, hydraulic, and stability requirements being exceeded.

The rated capacity shall comprise the mass of the lifted load and the lifting attachments. Where a bucket is fitted, the rated capacity shall be established at the rated lift bucket position that results in the maximum radius.”


Below we set out some FAQs relating to rated capacity and how to make sure your machines are correctly labelled.



It means that a machine’s rated capacity is the maximum weight that it can be used to lift in the weakest possible configuration. As an example, for an excavator, the rated capacity is maximum load that can be lifted over side at full reach on the maximum allowable slope.



When calculating the rated capacity there are two key machine features that must be considered, stability and hydraulic capacity. The rated capacity must not be greater than –


  1. 87% of the hydraulic capacity at maximum reach/radius
  2. The appropriate percentage of the tipping load that has to be applied to tip the machine as per table 5.5 in AS1418.8 section 5
    1. Stationary lifting = 75% of tipping load
    2. Pick and carry = 66% of tipping load unless the machine is articulated then it is 50%



Since the change to the Australian Standard, there is only one figure for rated capacity. Previously machines were supplied with a chart that detailed the maximum load that could be lifted at varying distances. Some machines are still supplied with this chart.


Since 2008, AS1418.8 only requires a lifting chart to specify one weight in kilograms and one distance in metres, namely the maximum reach of the machine.



If the machine is fitted with a lifting point from which freely suspended loads can be lifted the standard requires that the rated capacity shall be permanently displayed in a prominent position near the lifting point.


Labelling should be provided on both sides of the machine.


Given that it is foreseeable that a lifting point could be fitted to most of the earthmoving machines commonly used to lift freely suspended loads, Plant Assessor considers rated capacity labelling to be a minimum requirement for these machine types.


If there is no lifting point fitted and no chance that one could be fitted it could be argued that the label need not be fitted.



The decal should include the words RATED CAPACITY, a mass in kilograms followed by the letters kg. “Rated Capacity 3500 kg”.



AS 1319-1994 Safety Signs for the Occupational Environment contains guidance which Plant Assessor has used to determine the minimum size of the lettering in a rated capacity label for an earthmoving machine. AS1319-1994 requires lettering to be 15mm for every metre of viewing distance.


Plant Assessor has determined that the minimum height of rated capacity lettering should be 75mm. This determination has been made on the basis that the label needs to be viewable from 5 metres, hence 5m x 15mm = 75mm.



Rated capacity information should be obtained from the manufacturer of the machine in question, and is usually contained in the machine specifications contained in the operator’s manual.


The manual should provide advice as to whether the rated capacity has been calculated whilst an attachment is attached. Normally it excludes attachments as the weight of attachments can vary unless the lifting point is fitted to the actual attachment such as a quick hitch.


If a lift is to be undertaken whilst an attachment is still attached, the weight of any attachment needs to be subtracted from the rated capacity figure.


For example, if an excavator has a rated capacity of 1,000kg excluding attachments, and a lift is undertaken whilst a 200kg bucket is attached, the rated capacity will be (1,000kg – 200kg = 800kg).



These acronyms are not used in any of the AS1418 series of standards or in legislation. Plant Assessor does not use or recommend use or either in relation to earthmoving machines used as cranes.



Compliance with the AS1418 set is not mandatory, however Workplace Health and Safety Legislation places a positive duty on persons conducting a business or undertaking (PCBU) to:


  • Provide information and training on the safe use of machines
  • Make themselves aware of guidance and other information available in exercising their duty of care


So whilst compliance with the requirements of this set of Standards is not mandatory, they provide clear and detailed guidance on the management of lifting devices and safe lifting. A PCBU who is unaware of, or chooses to ignore such guidance does so at their own peril.



Strict interpretation of the Standard concludes that it must have a rated capacity label fitted.


At Plant Assessor, our position is that a SWL label, whilst it does not comply with the strict wording or calculations of the standard, does provide information relevant to assist in the conduct of safe lifting.


As a result of this, Plant Assessor’s position is that machines with legible and suitably sized SWL labels do comply with the essential intent of this part of the Standard, and therefore are accepted as compliant.



If you have any questions relating to this topic that have not been covered above, please contact us to obtain further information (see form below.)


Disclaimer: This information is intended to provide general information on the subject matter. This is not intended as legal or expert advice for your specific situation. You should seek professional advice before acting or relying on the content of this information. Please contact us for further assistance.

Split Rims


Split rims are wheel assemblies that are made up of a number of pieces held together by bolts or a lock ring, and are used on a broad range of plant including lift trucks, earthmoving machinery, trucks, buses and trailers. Split rims can be used with both pneumatic and solid tyres.


There are many hazards associated with tyre and wheel assemblies, and split rims pose substantial additional risks. The main additional hazard is the possibility of uncontrolled release of compressed air from the tyre, propelling components at high speed which can strike the operator and/or bystanders


Every year people are killed or seriously injured when inflating a pneumatic tyre or removing a split rim assembly from a vehicle.


During operation, all wheel and rim assemblies are subjected to loads and wear which can lead to fatigue of wheel components. This can lead to the development of cracks or other faults to the rim, if faults are left unattended, the rim/wheel can catastrophically fail.


Owners and users of equipment fitted with split rims should inspect wheel and rim assemblies regularly, and any faults or damage found during an inspection marked and reported to the relevant personnel.



Usually, split rims are bolted together so often there are two sets of bolts, one set is the wheel nuts that secure the wheel assembly to the hub, and the other set secures the split rims together.


Photo of Split Rim showing both sets of bolt holes
(image courtesy of


A Typical Split Rim Assembly
(image courtesy of SafeWork NSW)

Another type of split rim has a bead that sits between the rim and the tyre, this is known as the lock ring and will have a gap in it (see images below).


Locking Ring Diagram
(image courtesy of


Locking Ring


Only trained and competent persons should handle split rims. Before handling split rims, you must ensure a safe work procedure is in place and also follow manufacturers recommendations for removing a wheel, inspecting the tyre, disassembly and assembly of the rim and installation.


When working with pneumatic tyres on split rims, it is imperative that the tyre is deflated before loosening any of the fasteners to remove the split rim. If working on a vehicle with dual wheels ensure to deate both tyres, as the inner wheel may be damaged and being held together by the outer wheel.


Once disassembled, all parts of the wheel assembly should be cleaned and inspected for cracks and deformation, corrosion and wear. Non-destructive testing may be required to detect cracks and faults in some components.


Inspect tyres for any defects before fitting on the rim and when securing the two halves of the rims ensure the torque is as per the manufacturers recommendations – over tightening could lead to weakening or stripping the threads.


When inflating the tyre, it is recommended to place the wheel in a cage before inflating (see image below). If a cage is not available, use straps or other appropriate measures to restrain the wheel. Always use a long air hose so that the operator does not need to be too close to the tyre during inflation. A dump valve fitted with a pressure gauge should also be used; that is capable of rapidly deflating the tyre in the event of an emergency. Do not inflate tyres beyond the maximum cold pressure recommended by the manufacturer.


Split Rim Cage Example
(image courtesy of

Some wheel assemblies can only be inflated to the maximum cold pressure when secured to the vehicle – this information should be available in your manufacturer manuals. If this is the case inflate the tyre to about 30 kPa or 5 psi, then bolt the wheel to the hub of the vehicle and locate the vehicle in an appropriate area before inflating to full pressure, ensure the operator outside of the potential projection area.



There are many sources of further information on split rims, including:


  1. Safe Work Australia – Split rims and compressed air guidance material
  2. Australian Standard 4457.1 – 2007 “Earthmoving machinery – off the road wheels, rim and tyres – Maintenance and repair – Wheel assemblies and rim assemblies.”
  3. WorkSafe NSW video on the dangers of split rims


Plant Assessor assists thousands of plant owners and suppliers manage the risks associated with plant and equipment. For more information on Plant Assessor, please contact us (see form below.)


Disclaimer: This information is intended to provide general information on the subject matter. This is not intended as legal or expert advice for your specific situation. You should seek professional advice before acting or relying on the content of this information. Please contact us for further assistance.

Neutral Start Controls on Plant and Vehicles


The latest in our series of articles relating to common plant hazards and controls focuses on the hazards associated with uncontrolled movement of plant or vehicles, and the importance of neutral start controls.


Where there is a risk of uncontrolled movement at startup, a Plant Assessor inspection requires assessors to determine whether a neutral start control is in place.



Does this item of plant have a working neutral start control fitted?


Plant Assessor asks this question on all mobile plant and complex fixed plant.


A neutral start control is a risk treatment that ensures a machine is in a “neutral” condition during start up.


The potential hazards include collision, crushing, cutting, entanglement and striking.


The risks associated with starting a piece of plant when not in the neutral condition are the potential for these hazards to cause harm or injury. For example, starting vehicles or mobile plant “in gear” will most likely result in plant lurching forward or backward, creating the risk of collision, striking or crushing injuries to bystanders or an operator starting the unit from ground level.



All States & Territories except Victoria & Western Australia
WHS Regulations 2011

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Code of Practice (continued for all States & Territories except Victoria & Western Australia)

  • Managing Risks of Plant in the Workplace Code of Practice – Appendix B Hazard Checklist
  • Crushing – Can anyone be crushed due to uncontrolled or unexpected movement of the plant?



Occupational Health & Safety Regulations 2007

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Western Australia

Occupational Safety & Health Regulations 1996

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Australian Standards

AS4024.1201: 2014 – General Principles for Design – Risk Assessment & Risk Reduction: Clause 6.2.11 Applying Inherently safe design measures to control systems


AS4024.1603-2006 Design of controls, interlocks and guards – Prevention of unexpected start up



There are a number of ways to ensure that plant is in a neutral configuration during start up. A competent mechanic or electrician will be able to install many of these easily.

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As with any risk treatment, the possibility that the treatment may be bypassed (unintentionally or deliberately) should be reduced as far as possible. Any device fitted must also be sturdy. A malfunctioning neutral start device is more likely to be bypassed and rendered ineffective therefore exposing the operator and bystanders to the original hazard.



As usual, we would love to discuss machinery safety, or more specifically these controls with you further. Start the conversation – contact us by filling out the form below


Disclaimer: This information is intended to provide general information on the subject matter. This is not intended as legal or expert advice for your specific situation. You should seek professional advice before acting or relying on the content of this information. Please contact us for further assistance.

Tip Truck Hoisting Systems


Background: AS1418.8 – 2008 Cranes, hoists and special purpose appliances originated in 1989. It was revised in 2002 at which time section 5 – Requirements for Earthmoving Equipment, and section 6 – Side Boom Pipe Layers were added. The document was revised again in 2008.


Section 4 – Tip Truck Hoisting Systems was part of the original document.


It is our experience that the requirements set out in this section of the standard are very rarely all found on a machine. As a result we regularly receive questions regarding the requirement for load holding valves, safety props, emergency stops and hold to run controls on tippers


Plant Assessor Questions on Tip Truck Hoisting Systems


Plant Assessor applies the following questions to all trucks that have a tipping body including tipping trucks & trailers, dump trucks, garbage trucks, street sweepers, tilt trays & vacuum tanks.

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Tips on how to answer these questions



  • Read all of the question, then look at the required area, re-read the question if necessary
  • If you have any doubt contact us


Emergency stop (IMAGE 1):


  • This question cannot be answered Not Applicable
  • Adjacent means next to, when operating the tipping body controls you must be able to reach the emergency stop with the same hand
  • If there is more than one set of controls for the tipping body there must be more than one emergency stop


Hold to run (IMAGE 1):


  • This question cannot be answered Not Applicable
  • The control must only be able to be held in the up or down position by the operator
  • If the operator takes their hand off the control the control must move to the neutral position


Orientation (IMAGE 1):


  • This question cannot be answered Not Applicable
  • The up and down movement of the tipping body should be as closely mimicked by the controls as possible
  • Sideways buttons should be answered NO


Load holding valves (IMAGE 2):


  • This question cannot be answered Not Applicable
  • The valve must be connected directly to the cylinder or by steel pipe. There must be no flexible hoses between the cylinder and the valve


Mechanical safety support & label (IMAGE 3 & 4):


  • This question cannot be answered Not Applicable
  • Prop must be designed to hold weight of tipping body
  • It should be possible to engage and disengage the prop without placing the user in danger
  • The label should be on both sides of the truck
  • Can only be answered YES when both support and label are present
Specific Hazard Guidance

Disclaimer: This information is intended to provide general information on the subject matter. This is not intended as legal or expert advice for your specific situation. You should seek professional advice before acting or relying on the content of this information. Please contact us for further assistance- see form below.

NSW Quick Hitch Position



NSW released a revised position paper covering supply, installation and use of quick hitches.
In early 2014 WorkCover NSW (now SafeWork NSW) released a position paper covering the supply, installation and use of semi-automatic quick hitches on excavators and backhoes.


In June of that year, we published an explanatory article in our newsletter, which also outlined the initial stance of other Australian regulators on the NSW position paper.

Recently, SafeWork released a revised position paper, expanding on and clarifying its position on the range of quick hitches available.


There are two key changes in this latest position paper:

  1. The existing deadline on the supply and installation of semi automatic quick hitches remains 30 April 2014, however semi-automatic hitches installed before 30 April 2014 can only be used until 31 December 2022
  2. Fully automatic hitches that allow the attachment to swing if the primary retention device fails cannot be supplied or installed after 31 December 2015. Fully automatic hitches that allow swinging installed before 31 December 2015 can only be used until 31 December 2022


Manual hitches and fully automatic hitches complying with AS4772 that do not allow the attachment to swing if the primary retention device fails can be supplied, installed and used as per the manufacturers instructions at anytime.


Plant Assessor assessment questions on machines that use quick hitches will be updated to apply these specific requirements on 1 January 2016.


Summary of SafeWork NSW’s revised position on quick hitches Plant

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There are two steps required to answer the Plant Assessor questions regarding quick hitches:

Step 1 – Identify the type of hitch

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Step 2 – Answer Specific Plant Assessor Quick Hitch Questions


Plant Assessor contains a number of specific questions for each type of hitch. Once the type of hitch has been identified, inspectors simply need to provide a yes or no answer to these clearly explained questions. Almost all of these questions can be answered via a visual inspection.

In relation to the last type (Automatic hitch – does not allow detaching or swinging), a visual inspection may not allow an inspector to determine if the requirements of the Plant Assessor question for this type of hitch are fully met (i.e. has a primary and secondary locking device). An inspector may have to refer to the OEM to ensure the hitch satisfies these requirements.


By taking a structured and logical approach to the different requirements on these hitches, we help inspectors understand and manage compliance with what is a complex area of plant & equipment safety.


We are always keen to talk to you about your technical needs and queries. Start the conversation – contact us by filling out the form below.


Disclaimer: This information is intended to provide general information on the subject matter. This is not intended as legal or expert advice for your specific situation. You should seek professional advice before acting or relying on the content of this information. Please contact us for further assistance.

Inspecting Tyre Condition


Tyres are used on a wide variety of vehicles and machinery and their condition is often overlooked. Tyre condition is a crucial safety component for any wheeled equipment.


Tyres are the only contact your vehicle or machinery has with the surface it is operating on and are one of the most important safety features of any vehicle or machine.


Tyres need to respond accurately to steering commands, they need to roll smoothly and cope with the stresses that come from braking, cornering and accelerating. Above all tyres need to keep vehicles safely and securely on the operating surface in different conditions including when dry, wet and slippery or covered in snow and ice.


Tyres should be inspected regularly as part of a proactive maintenance regime. Tyres and wheels must be part of any daily pre-start checklist. Here are some important considerations when inspecting tyre condition.



It is important to keep the right amount of air pressure in your tyres (including your spare). Correct pressure helps to ensure optimum braking performance and minimisation of wear. Correct pressures also optimise comfort, handling and fuel economy.


Under or over inflation reduces their ability to grip properly, which most importantly impacts upon braking capability. This will not only cause uneven tread wear but it has a substantial influence on handling. If the inflation is not adequate for the load being carried the tyre temperature increases due to flexing, and excessive temperature can result in structural damage to the tyre. Tyres must be inflated to the pressure recommended by the manufacturer and checked on a regular basis when the tyres are cold.



Tread wear issues can appear as flat spots or areas of rapid wear on the tyre. Tread wear issues are commonly caused from brake problems, suspension or alignment problems, an unbalanced tyre and wheel assembly or from misuse.


Tyres include tread wear indicators and these are important tools for judging remaining tread depth. These are raised bars in the main longitudinal tread grooves, distributed evenly around the circumference of the tyre, which become level with the rest of the tread pattern once the minimum tread depth is reached.


If uneven tyre wear is identified, and the minimum depth has not been reached, tyre rotation is a practical option to reduce the risk and increase the useful life of a tyre.


If the minimum tread depth has been reached the tyre must be replaced. Any damage such as exposed wire, gashes in the tread or smoothness and the tyre must be replaced. Smoothness is only acceptable on solid tyres only such as fitted on some self-propelled elevated work platforms.

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It is important to inspect the sidewalls of tyres, which includes both external and internal sidewalls. Inspectors must ensure that they make the effort to inspect internal sidewalls.


Sidewall damage can appear as cuts, tears, bubbles or scrapes anywhere along the sidewall of the tyre. This type of damage commonly occurs when a tyre encounters an unexpected hazard, which can include anything from rocks and curbs to pieces of metal.


Sharp objects or very concentrated stress usually cause cuts and tears. Bubbles and scrapes occur due to impact damage or prolonged abrasion. Any sidewall damage should be inspected regularly and a judgement needs to be made regarding the need to replace a tyre. Tyre suppliers are able to assist in making judgements regarding the extent of damage and whether a tyre should be replaced.

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Separations can appear as bulges on the shoulder of a tread face, or as a localised wear above the separated area. A groove worn along the shoulder could be a sign of separation. Separations are mainly caused by excessive heat during prolonged high speed driving, overloaded or under inflated tyre pressures. If tyre separation is visible the tyre must be replaced

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Wheel nuts must be checked regularly to ensure they are tightened to the correct torque. Improperly torqued nuts or bolts can result in wheel assemblies coming off, brake damage, broken and or stripped nuts, bolts and studs. There are many different wheel-nut indicator systems available that identify when a nut is loose or damaged. Torque settings should be as per the manufacturer’s guidelines.

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Plant Assessor risk assessments and pre-start checks include specific questions in relation to the inspection of tyre condition. Assessors need to answer these questions, capturing suitable comments and photos in the event that a deficiency needs to further identified, examined and rectified.


As usual, when conducting an inspection, assessors should err on the side of caution and when unsure answer no to the question which will flag the issue for further investigation. Assessors need to follow their usual lock out/tag out procedures if any significant deficiency is identified during an inspection.


Plant Assessor reports, which are immediately available following completion of an assessment, contain comprehensive risk ratings to assist in making a decision on whether or not to tag out a piece of equipment.


In summary, when inspecting tyre condition, assessors need to consider the following important aspects:


  1. Tyre pressure
  2. Tread wear
  3. Any damage to the tyre
  4. Any damage to the wheel or components
  5. Wheel nuts are securely fastened


Disclaimer: This information is intended to provide general information on the subject matter. This is not intended as legal or expert advice for your specific situation. You should seek professional advice before acting or relying on the content of this information. Please contact us for further assistance – see form below.

Road Rail Vehicles


The Rail Industry Safety   Standards Board (RISSB) has just released the new standard for the assessment of Road Rail Vehicles. AS/RISSB 7502:2016 provides guidance on the design, manufacture, use, inspection, testing and maintenance of Road Rail Vehicles (RRV’s) across Australia.


The compliance requirements for RRV’s were historically managed by the various Rail Infrastructure Managers (RIMs) who were each responsible for their own rail infrastructure assets. This resulted in a proliferation of different compliance requirements. The need for a National Standard was identified after several serious injuries and a number of fatalities involving these vehicles.


The Standard contains extensive detail across 31 sections covering every element of design, manufacture, use, inspection, testing and maintenance.


The information below sets out more detail on the specific requirements of AS7502 that relate to safety aspects of RRVs and can be checked during a visual Plant Assessor inspection process.


The information is set out as follows:


  • TABLE A – Mandatory requirements across all Rail Infrastructure Managers (RIMs)
  • TABLE B – RIM specific requirements
  • Plant Assessor Position on Event Recorders and Speed Limitation Devices
roadrail table1
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There are some differences between AS7502 and existing State authorities in relation to these devices. The application of the AS7502 in relation to these devices is at the discretion of the RIM.
On 18 July 2016 the Asset Standards Association (the relevant Standard setting body in NSW) updated their document T HR RS 00700 ST also known as RSU Series – Minimum Operating Standards for Rolling Stock – Infrastructure Maintenance Vehicle Specific Interface Requirements. This document gives specific advice concerning when event recorders and speed indication devices are required.


Plant Assessor believes that this document is a well respected and adopted source of guidance across Australia, as such Plant Assessor has adopted this approach in an attempt to provide consistency across the country for these two safety devices.


Disclaimer: This information is intended to provide general information on the subject matter. This is not intended as legal or expert advice for your specific situation. You should seek professional advice before acting or relying on the content of this information. Please contact us for further assistance – see form below.

Vehicle Loading Cranes

Safe Use Part 11: Vehicle-loading cranes


On the 21st of October 2016 an updated edition of AS2550.11 was released. This standard can be purchased here.



We have previously provided commentary on requirements of and changes to Australian Standards series AS1418 – the set of Stabndards relating to Design, Manufacture and Testing of Cranes, hoists and winches.


The AS2550 Series focuses on  Safe Use of Cranes, hoists and winches.  The series  defines the practical elements surrounding the safe use of these machines including –


  • machine choice, planning
  • site set up, operation
  • maintenance, repair & inspection
  • any other specific devices required for the safe use of the machine such as limiting and indication devices


This article focuses on the changes to Part 11 of the series AS2550.11, which specifically relates to the Safe Use of Vehicle Loading Cranes.  Part 11 originated as part of AS 2550:1982, was updated to the previous edition AS 2550.11 in 2004, replaced by the latest (2nd) edition AS 2550.11:2016.


The changes –

In this update there are four key changes including –


  1. Specific major inspection requirements detailed
  2. Recommendation to compare existing vehicle loading cranes against the current edition of AS1418.11:2014
  3. Mandates that data recorders be fitted, maintained and operated
  4. Competent person guidance


Let’s now examine each of these four key changes:


1. Specific major inspection requirements detailed

Previously AS2550.11 did not contain specific requirements for the major inspection of Vehicle Loading Cranes.  The previous edition referenced AS2550.1 for this detail, and AS2550.1 did not contain requirements specific to Vehicle Loading Cranes.
This is a great improvement as now AS2550.11 includes the specific components of the vehicle-loading crane as well as advice regarding replacement or if re-use is an option.


2. Recommendation to compare existing vehicle loading cranes against the current edition of AS1418.11:2014

Clause 6.2.1 includes the following –


The major inspection shall include a comparison of the crane design in accordance with the current edition of AS 1418.11. A risk assessment shall be carried out to determine where addition risk controls may be practical to include in an upgrade of the crane design to the current edition of AS 1418.11. Where these upgrades are practical then they shall be undertaken.

 It goes on to say  …..However, it is recommended the following items should be retrofitted to comply with the current edition AS 1418.11 where they are not already provided on the crane:

  1. Emergency stop at each control station
  2. Guard around hydraulic hoses, to protect operator in the event of hose rupture, within 1 m of operator station
  3. Load holding valves on hydraulic cylinders
  4. Safety related modifications previously specified by the manufacturer
  5. Means to control the risk of the operator being crushed by the boom or jib when operating from a dedicated operator’s position
  6. Level indicator at each fixed stabilizer control station
  7. All stabilizer extensions should be capable of being locked in the transport position
  8. A warning device should be installed in the vehicle cab to indicate the stabilizers are not in transport mode.


NOTE:  The Plant Assessor inspection for Vehicle Loading Cranes already contains these requirements. These were included in 2014 when the latest edition of AS1418.11 was released. The decision to include these requirements retrospectively has always been our approach based on the regulator’s advice that the state of the art may be considered during an incident investigation.

3. Mandates that data recorders be fitted, maintained and operated

The title of section 7 has been updated from LIMITING AND INDICATING DEVICE to LIMITING, INDICATING AND DATA RECORDING DEVICES.,  and an additional clause has been added to support the name change.


Clause 7.2 DATA RECORDING DEVICES states the following – Data recording devices shall be fitted, maintained and operated in accordance with the current edition of ISO 10245-1 and the manufacturer’s instructions.

This new requirement has been added to Plant Assessor this month.


4. Competent person guidance

Appendix D to the Standard provides guidance on competent persons for the type of inspection as follows –

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  1. A ‘Maintenance person’ is as specified in ISO 12480-1.
  2. An ‘Experienced technician’ is a person who, due to their vocational background and experience, has sufficient skill and knowledge in the field of cranes and is sufficiently familiar with the relevant regulations to determine deviations from the proper conditions (i.e. specially trained personnel).
  3. A ‘Suitable qualified person’ is a professional engineer or independent crane inspector competent to manage a major inspection. The organization should use a document management system which confirms the independence of these personnel from the crane maintenance personnel.
  4. ‘Crane inspector’ is a person with the necessary knowledge and experience to perform the specific vehicle-loading crane inspection.


Plant Assessor does not contain requirements of a standard that cannot be verified during a visual inspection of a machine or that are not related to the safety of the machine.
As always, if you have any specific questions related to this or other plant & equipment safety matters, please contact us.




Originated as AS1418.11 – 2004 (derived from EN12999)
(Previous edition 2007)


Scope: This Australian Standard specifies the minimum requirements for hydraulically powered loading cranes that are mounted on vehicles or static foundations.


It does not apply to loader cranes used on ships or floating structures or to articulated boom system cranes that are designed an integral part of specialised equipment such as forwarders.


Change of approach: In the two previous editions of this standard the Australian Standard committee overhauled the EN12999 document completely. Adjusting the order of content and including specific requirements as deemed necessary that were not included in the EN standard into the text at the appropriate place. In this edition there was a different approach taken, essentially no change was made to EN12999 version other than the following –


  • Added cover page and title AS1418.11 – 2014 Vehicle loading cranes (EN12999:2011, MOD)
  • Noted that any reference to “this European Standard” should be replaced with “this Australian Standard”
  • Added appendix ZZ which includes additions, deletions or replacements for various clauses for Australia
  • Added annex O & P outlining typical appearance & load charts for side loading cranes and symbols for working & set functions of side loading cranes respectively


Retrospective application: PA is continuing to determine the approach by local authorities with regard to whether or not these requirements will be applied to machines manufactured prior to the release of this new version of the standard.


What’s new: There have been quite a few new inclusions that apply to Plant Assessor. For a change to be considered by Plant Assessor it must be checkable by an assessor and have an impact on the safety of the machine.

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What’s out: From Plant Assessor’s perspective there has been no lessening of requirements. Any requirements in the latest version of EN12999 that were lesser than AS1418.11 – 2007 have been added to the new version of AS1418.11 – 2014


Disclaimer: This information is intended to provide general information on the subject matter. This is not intended as legal or expert advice for your specific situation. You should seek professional advice before acting or relying on the content of this information. Please contact us for further assistance – see form below.

A stitch in time saves… 110 on average.


In recent years there has been a surge in chainsaw ownership in Australia. Electric chainsaws can be purchased for as little as $99 and even more powerful petrol driven models from just $100 more. Because they are cheap and accessible many “handy men” figure it’s cheaper to cut that fallen tree or source their own firewood than hire an expert to do it. And because there is no permit or training required and it looks relatively simple, people think it’s a point-and-shoot process.


Each year almost 1,000 Australians are badly injured while operating a chainsaw. The majority of these incidents happen around the home but there is still an alarmingly high number of work-based incidents as well.


A 1989 study by the Davis-Garvin Insurance Agency, a specialist logging insurance underwriter in the US, provided the amazing statistic that the average chainsaw injury requires 110 stitches, and incurred medical costs of $5,600 on average.


A further comprehensive US study on chainsaw injuries undertaken between 2009 and 2013 reported a total of 115,895 hospital visits stemming from chainsaw use over this period. Most injuries were to males (95%) who were predominantly aged between 30-59 years. The majority of injuries were lacerations (80%) and the most common injuries were to legs and knees (36%) and left hand and wrist (35%).


The most common injuries are:

  • Cutting injuries from kick back, pull in or when sharpening the chain
  • Crush and stick injuries from cut foliage or falling branches
  • Striking injuries, specifically eye injuries, from flying debris and sawdust.


Clearly there is insufficient planning and a lack of suitable controls in place when such accidents occur.
Closer examination of this reveals that there are normally three contributing factors –

  • The Design of the Saw
  • Safe Operating Procedures
  • Personal Protective Equipment



Injury associated with the design of chainsaws has been significantly reduced thanks to the adherence of manufacturers to design standards such as AS2726.1 (2004 Chainsaws – Safety Requirements – Chainsaws for general use).


Design requirements that have improved the safety of chainsaws include such things as an automatic chain brake to prevent kickback, addition of a chain catcher, stricter vibration standards, throttle trigger lock-out and guarding of all rotating parts excluding the chain.


Periodic inspection of your chainsaw against mandatory and recommended safety features is advisable, and something we help our clients with every day.


Below is a drawing identifying the components of a typical chainsaw



Controls around the way a chainsaw is used and by whom is critical to minimizing risk and is determined by guidance AS2727 (1997 Chainsaws – Guide to safe working practices).


Some of the things an operator must consider include:

  • Do they have the necessary training and physical capabilities to do the work?
  • Do they need assistance from other people or any additional special equipment?
  • Are they tired, fatigued or under the influence of alcohol or medication?
  • What are the current and predicted weather conditions? Extreme temperatures, heavy rain, lightning or strong winds can make chainsaw operation risky.
  • Are there any physical ground hazards such as undergrowth, stumps, holes etc that might hinder movement?
  • Are there any unsafe trees nearby? Look up! Are there any hanging dead or broken limbs overhead known as ‘widow makers’ for obvious reasons)
  • Who else is in the area? Be aware of other activity, traffic or machinery movements.
  • What are your workmates doing? Is there sufficient separation distance between the chainsaw operator and other personnel? Do not work alone, and maintain regular contact with other workers.
  • Is there other tree felling activity in the area? Ensure a minimum of at least two tree lengths of any tree felling activity.



PPE that should be considered minimum standard when using a chainsaw includes:

  • Hearing protection
  • Eye protection
  • Foot protection
  • Long sleeves & trousers
  • Protective Chaps
  • Hand protection
  • Where applicable – Sunscreen


Plant Assessor is a plant & equipment safety business that has harnessed the power of the internet and associated technology to deliver intelligent solutions to assist in the management of plant and equipment safety.


Our online safety system gives you instant access to a comprehensive plant and equipment safety management system for over 80,000 models of machinery.


Contact Us to get your Chainsaw Risk Management process started (see form below.)


Disclaimer: This information is intended to provide general information on the subject matter. This is not intended as legal or expert advice for your specific situation. You should seek professional advice before acting or relying on the content of this information. Please contact us for further assistance.

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