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    Machinery Risk Assessments


    Machinery Risk Assessments
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                        Risk Assessment Plan Overview

                        Plant Assessor has published a range of papers designed to help users of plant & equipment understand
                        how to manage safety obligations. This article further considers some specifics of safe plant, and delves into the need for a machinery risk assessment plan.


                        How to formulate a risk assessment plan

                        None of us have unlimited resources to devote to machinery risk assessments; therefore we apply the principles of risk management to developing a risk assessment plan.

                        We do this by considering two key questions:

                        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 depend on the 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 etc.)

                          2. Sort list by plant type (e.g. excavators, backhoes, cranes, manufacturing plant etc.)

                          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 accordingly

                        • Step 2: Determining initial machinery risk assessment timing and reassessment periods

                        Deciding what machinery 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:

                        Risk rating Initial assessment Assessment period Machine specific of type assessment
                        Very high risk Immediate/year 1 12 months Individual
                        High risk Year 2 18 months Individual
                        Medium risk Year 3 24 months Individual
                        Medium-low risk Year 4 36 months Type or individual
                        Low risk Upon purchase 60 months Type or individual


                        1. All plant should be assessed before commissioning – these timeframes relate to existing fleet that has not already been assessed. Insist on a thorough risk assessment when procuring any new machines.

                        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 criteria.

                        Plant Assessor staff are able to assist you in the development of your machinery risk assessment plan. Contact us for further information.


                        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. 

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