Safety Guidance: Plant Assessor
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Simplifying Safety

– Our Conceptual Model

The Plant Safety Management Model identifies three key elements of a plant safety management system.

Plant Assessor has developed a very clear vision on plant safety, which now defines the mission for the organisation.

 

This vision focuses on helping plant users develop simple, holistic safety management systems surrounding their operations. We call this vision the Plant Assessor “Plant Safety Management Model”, illustrated to the right.

 

The Plant Safety Management Model identifies three key elements of a plant safety management system. Plant Assessor has published Safety How to Guides on each of these three elements – these Guides are available by clicking on the headings 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 – see form below.

Safety Guidance

Safe Operator

1. Operator Training

2. Operator Competency

3. General Safety Knowledge

4. Site Specific Knowledge

Safe Environment

1. Site Inspection & Hazard Review

2. High Level Job Task Review

3. WHS Management Plan

4. Manage High Risk Activities

Safe Plant

1. Plant Hazard Assessments

2. Daily Inspection Regime

3. Proactive Maintenance Regime

4. Plant & Equipment SOPs

The Plant Safety Management Model identifies three key elements of a plant safety management system.

It has been designed to help owners, operators and industry safety professionals simplify plant safety systems and make these
systems more effective.

Safe Plant

Ensure plant is safe for use

Focus Area 1: Detailed plant hazard assessment review against –

  • OH&S Legislation
  • Australian & International Standards
  • Leading industry practice

Focus Area 2: Daily inspection & fault rectification process

Focus Area 3: Proactive & robust maintenance regime

Focus Area 4: Standard Safe Operating Procedure (SOP)

Safe Operator

Ensure the operator is competent to operate the plant & perform the task required

Focus Area 1: Operator Training & Competency Assessment

Focus Area 2: General Safety System Knowledge

Focus Area 3: Site & Task Specific Procedures & Knowledge

Safety Guidance

Focus Area 1: Detailed Plant Hazard Assessment

Focus Area 2: Daily Inspection & Fault Rectification Process

Focus Area 3: Daily Inspection & Fault Rectification Process

Focus Area 4: Standard Safe Operating Procedures for Plant Item

Safe Environment

Ensure site & task hazards are identified, assessed & controlled

Focus Area 1: Site Review

Focus Area 2: Project task review

Focus Area 3: Prepare the WHS Management Plan

Focus Area 4: Implementing high impact elements of WHS Management Plan

 

Ensuring safe plant is provided to a work team or project for use is a fundamental element of a plant safety management system.

There are four focus areas to ensure safe plant and these four areas are considered below – 

FOCUS AREA 1: DETAILED PLANT HAZARD ASSESSMENT
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ASSESSMENT OF EXISTING PLANT FLEET – DEVELOPING YOUR PLANT HAZARD ASSESSMENT PLAN

 

The legislative obligation to periodically reassess plant items gives rise to the need to develop a plant hazard assessment plan – not unlike a plant maintenance schedule.

 

In developing a plant hazard assessment plan, two key questions need to be considered:

  1. Which plant items should I assess, and in what order?
  2. How often do I need to reassess plant items?

The answers to these questions may be different for different users, and depends on the actual and perceived risk of the plant items. Determining the risk of plant items is partially subjective and requires consideration of a number of factors. Plant Assessor approaches this task as follows:

Step 1: Risk Ranking of Plant

  1. List all plant fleet (type/make/model/identifier/workgroup )
  2. Sort list by plant type (e.g. excavators, backhoes, cranes, fixed plant )
  3. Consider the risk of each type of plant, including:
    1. Complexity of plant item
    2. Used for and in what environment(s)
    3. Incident history
  4. Rank plant types by risk (1 = high risk, 2 = medium risk, 3 = low risk, 4 = negligible risk)
  5. Consider workgroup experience and incident history and adjust type or individual machine risk rating

Step 2: Determining Initial Assessment Timing and Reassessment Periods

Deciding what needs to be assessed immediately and what can wait will be a function of the makeup of the fleet and the owner’s perception of the risk of plant items.

Based on experience with hundreds of plant hazard assessment plans, Plant Assessor uses the following rules of thumb in making these decisions:

Screen Shot 2017-01-16 at 9.23.30 am
  1. All plant should be assessed before commissioning – these timeframes relate to existing fleet that has not already been
  2. High and medium risk plant should be individually assessed, as machines vary in design, specification and wear and tear. Type assessments are acceptable for low risk plant types. Care should be taken to make sure that all plant items in a type meet the same design
FOCUS AREA 2: DAILY INSPECTION AND FAULT RECTIFICATION PROCESS
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FOCUS AREA 3: PROACTIVE AND ROBUST MAINTENANCE REGIME
Screen Shot 2017-01-16 at 9.24.05 am
FOCUS AREA 4: STANDARD SAFE OPERATING PROCEDURE FOR PLANT ITEM
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The information contained in this article is designed to demystify the process of ensuring the objective of SAFE PLANT. The achievement of this goal is something which requires focus, diligence and resources.

 

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.

This following focuses on the Safe Operator element of the Plant Safety Management Model when used on a construction project.
To make the coverage of issues as specific as possible, the article is based around a Civil Contracting business, however the framework
can be applied to any business operating plant and equipment.

Safe Operator

Ensure the operator is competent to operate the plant
and perform the task required

Focus Area 1: Operator Training & Competency Assessment

Focus Area 2: General Safety System Knowledge

Focus Area 3: Site & Task Specific Procedures & Knowledge

Safe Plant

Ensure plant is safe for use

Focus Area 1: Detailed plant hazard assessment review against:

  • OH&S legislation
  • Australian and International Standards
  • Leading industry practice

Focus Area 2: Daily inspection and fault rectification process

Focus Area 3: Proactive and robust maintenance regime

Focus Area 4: Standard Safe Operating Procedure (SOP)

Safety Guidance

Focus Area 1: Operator Training & Competency Assessment

Focus Area 2: General Safety System Knowledge

Focus Area 3: Site & Task Specific Knowledge

Safe Environment

Ensure site and task hazards are identified, assessed and controlled

Focus Area 1: Site review

Focus Area 2: Project task review

Focus Area 3: Prepare the WHS Management Plan

Focus Area 4: Implementing high impact elements of WHS Management Plan

 

It is fair to say that almost every safety incident involving plant and equipment is caused or contributed to by a lack of knowledge or a failure to implement that knowledge. Due to the nature of the construction industry, there is inevitably a heavy reliance upon “administrative controls”, which include individual competencies, site rules, safe work procedures and so on. The reason administrative controls are at the lower end of the hierarchy of controls is principally because of the need for people to learn and maintain competencies, and understand, remember, and follow procedures.

 

As we all know, this is OK if there are a limited number of competencies required and procedures to follow, however gets increasingly difficult to manage as it becomes more complex. We will never avoid the reliance on competencies and procedures in the construction industry, however by having robust and regimented processes aimed at educating, testing and confirming competencies and knowledge we can reduce the inherent risk associated with reliance on these administrative controls.

 

Ensuring a “safe operator” can be divided up into 3 key focus areas of activity, graphically represented as follows:

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FOCUS AREA 1: OPERATOR TRAINING AND COMPETENCY ASSESSMENT

Arguably the most important and onerous of the focus areas, this requires active management on an ongoing basis.

 

The principle behind this focus area is the need for operators to be trained and certified as competent to a transparent standard. This helps to reduce the risks associated with varying operator skill by aiming to ensure a minimum standard of competency.

 

National Vocational Education & Training (VET) System The National VET system provides a framework to allow nationally recognised certification of training and competency assessment tailored to the needs of a broad range of industry segments including Civil Construction.

Diagram 2 illustrates the structure of the VET system as it relates to competencies of plant operators in Civil Construction.

 

The Resources and Industry Training Package RII09 includes some 767 Dedicated Units of Competency and 180 Imported Units of Competency (Total 947). Details of RII09 and its components can be found here . High Risk Work Licences are included in relevant training packages.

 

Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) are authorised to train and certify competence against certain units of competency and qualifications under the various training packages.

In light of the VET structure, we can now consider operator training and competency assessment set out in the following table.

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FOCUS AREA 2: GENERAL AND SAFETY KNOWLEDGE

This focus area is principally aimed at ensuring operators have been through relevant inductions, and have a good working understanding of the safe systems of work employed by their organisation to manage safety risks, no matter where they are working. The table below sets out the two key areas of work in this focus area:

Safety Guidance
FOCUS AREA 3: SITE SPECIFIC PROCEDURES AND KNOWLEDGE

This Focus Area relates closely to the subject of the last Plant Safety Management Model article entitled “SAFE ENVIRONMENT”.

 

In the SAFE ENVIRONMENT paper, we outlined the process for ensuring site and task risks are managed on a construction project

 

Ensuring a SAFE OPERATOR is concerned with making sure personnel are aware of site specific procedures and requirements for every project that they work on. The table below sets out the two key areas of work in this focus area:

Safety Guidance

HOW DO I MANAGE THE PROCESS OF ENSURING A SAFE OPERATOR

 

Whilst each focus area is relatively simple in itself, managing all of them together, particularly for a large workgroup can become a big job.

 

Like any big job, it needs to be planned, scheduled and followed up. Project management skills are therefore important.

 

The planning should start with the development of a competency matrix for employees and regular contractors. This matrix should include a list of roles and/ or staff on one axis, and a list of competencies/training/ knowledge required on the other axis. An example of a competency matrix is set out here.

 

Once the matrix is complete, training requirements then need to be determined for each competency, along with decisions regarding periodic retraining and verification of competency.
Capturing the resulting work in a calendar helps to remind when any form of training or competency assessment is due.

 

As operations become larger, more resources need to be devoted to managing the process of ensuring all personnel maintain their knowledge and competency in the three key focus areas. Many larger organisations utilise learning and information management systems to assist in managing these obligations.

 

SUMMARY – SAFE OPERATOR

 

The objective of this article is to try and demystify the process of ensuring a safe operator and safe operation of a piece of plant.

Whilst it would have been easier to focus just on training an operator and making sure they can use a machine, we have taken a holistic view of what it takes to ensure a safe employee, safe plant operator and safe site worker.

 

By combining the systematic process outlined in this SAFE OPERATOR article, with the processes described in our SAFE PLANT and SAFE ENVIRONMENT articles, development of a complete and thorough system of work becomes simpler and easier to understand.

 

That is not to say it is easy or takes no time, however these are aimed at helping you direct your resources to the appropriate areas in order to diligently manage safety risks.

 

From here it is our intention to develop further tools to assist you to follow the processes outlined in the Plant Safety Management Model. We welcome your feedback and ideas to assist with this process.

 

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.

The Plant Safety Management Model identifies three key elements of a plant safety management system.

This article focuses on the Safe Environment element of the Plant Safety Management.

Safe Environment

Ensure site & task hazards are identified, assessed & controlled

Focus Area 1: Site Review

Focus Area 2: Project task review

Focus Area 3: Prepare the WHS Management Plan

Focus Area 3: Implementing high impact elements of WHS Management Plan

Safe Plant

Ensure plant is safe for use

Focus Area 1: Detailed plant hazard assessment review

Focus Area 2: Daily inspection and fault rectification process

Focus Area 3: Proactive and robust maintenance regime

Focus Area 4: Standard Safe Operating Procedure (SOP)

Safety Guidance

Focus Area 1: Site Review & Site Hazard Control

Focus Area 2: High Risk Task Review

Focus Area 3: Implement High Risk Task Controls

Safe Operator

Ensure the operator is competent to operate the plant and
perform the task required

Focus Area 1: Operator Training & Competency Assessment

Focus Area 2: General Safety System Knowledge

Focus Area 3: Site & Task Specific Procedures & Knowledge

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.

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