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                        3 min read

                        What are machinery codes of practice and why should I follow them?

                        What are machinery codes of practice and why should I follow them?

                        We all know the safe operation of machinery is paramount in ensuring the wellbeing of workers and the general public.

                        Regulatory bodies across Australia have established machinery codes of practice to aid in this. These codes serve as guidelines, outlining the safety information businesses require to safely operate machinery across various industries. In this article, we delve into exactly what machinery codes of practice are, what they cover and why you should follow them.


                        What are machinery codes of practice?

                        Machinery codes of practice are a set of guidelines designed to promote safety and prevent incidents in workplaces where machinery is operated. These codes of practice are created by regulatory authorities such as Safe Work Australia and other state-based organisations with the objective of providing a standardised framework to help ensure the safe use, maintenance and management of machinery across a variety of industries.


                        What do codes of practice cover?

                        Machinery codes of practice cover many aspects ranging from the installation and operation of machinery, recommended maintenance to emergency procedures. These guidelines mostly focus on reducing risks and hazards and are often tailored to the many specific areas relating to machinery including:


                        Codes of practice are issued to highlight the risks and hazards that may be present in industries or sectors, particularly those that may be of high risk. Some of these areas include construction or demolition.

                        Risk assessments

                        The guidelines in a code of practice emphasise the importance of conducting thorough risk assessments before operating machinery and reassessing regularly throughout its lifespan. This involves identifying potential hazards on the machine, determining the likelihood of an incident occurring and implementing controls to mitigate the risk.

                        Safe operation

                        Codes of practice outline the procedures that should be followed in order to safely operate machinery and ensure operators are aware of the potential hazards. This may include the correct use of controls, emergency stop mechanisms and personal protective equipment (PPE) that should be worn. 

                        Maintenance and inspection

                        Machinery codes of practice outline maintenance schedules and inspection procedures that should be carried out on your equipment. This can aid in ensuring a machine’s reliability and safety and reduce the potential for incidents or breakdowns.

                        Training and competency

                        Adequate training for operators is a key focus of machinery codes of practice. These guidelines specify the skills and competencies required by those operating specific types of machinery.

                        Emergency response

                        Codes of practice outline emergency response procedures such as first aid protocols, evacuation plans and communication strategies. This will aid in ensuring a prompt and effective response should there be a machinery related incident on your site.


                        Where can I find the codes of practice?

                        The authorities that release machinery codes of practice usually provide access to these documents on their websites. We’ve listed and linked the relevant ones below.

                        Safe Work Australia

                        Safe Work NSW

                        WorkSafe QLD

                        Work Safe VIC

                        SafeWork SA

                        Work Health and Safety Commission WA

                        WorkSafe ACT

                        Work Safe TAS


                        Why should I follow machinery codes of practice?

                        Adhering to machinery codes of practice is a fundamental component of fostering a safe and productive work environment. Protecting people is their primary purpose however, there are a number of other good reasons to follow codes of practice for machinery including:

                        Legal compliance

                        Codes of practice provide great guidelines on how you can comply with key components of the legislation and regulations. Should you be found in breach of these, you may be hit with harsh penalties such as fines and imprisonment.

                        Operational efficiency

                        Implementing recommended practices enhances the efficiency and reliability of your machinery. Regular maintenance, proper operation and adherence to safety protocols as outlined in the codes of practice can contribute to the longevity and optimal performance of equipment.

                        Business reputation and trust

                        Businesses that prioritise safety and adhere to machinery codes of practice help to build a positive reputation within their industry and community. Customers and partners are more likely to trust and engage with organisations that adhere to codes of practice, and consequently prioritise the wellbeing of their workforce.

                        Cost savings

                        Prevention is often less costly than incidents involving machinery. Following codes of practice can help businesses reduce the risk of financial burdens associated with incidents such as medical expenses, legal fees and compensation claims.


                        Want to know more about machinery codes of practice?

                        The Plant Assessor has a team dedicated to helping you understand the machinery codes of practice and how to comply with them. If you’d like further information, simply contact us on 1300 728 852 or email



                        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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