Machinery and plant procedures


These procedures apply to all members of the University community (including staff members, contractors and other workers, students and visitors), at all University workplaces and/or wherever University-owned or controlled machinery or plant is operated.


These procedures support the Machinery and Plant Health and Safety Standard to clarify roles and detail the way in which the standard must be implemented in key areas. Look now: Health and Safety Standard.


Roles and actions:

  • Deans of faculties and directors of service divisions
  • Supervisors 
  • Operators
  • Users
  • Visitors
  • Health, Safety and Wellbeing Service

Training and competence
Assessing potential risk
Controlling identified risks
Hazard management
Safe equipment
Maintenance and defects


Roles and actions

1.   The specific roles that relate to machinery and plant are:

Deans of faculties and directors of service divisions

Deans of faculties and directors of service divisions must be able to identify the workplaces they are responsible for, so they can plan and provide adequate resources for safe operations.


Supervisors are people who are deemed competent to instruct others on how to use machinery and plant that they are authorised to use, and can supervise users (such as staff or students) who have not yet achieved the levels of competency required to be an operator. Where needed, a supervisor may be designated to be in charge of a workplace by their manager, director, or dean.


Operators are people who have demonstrated competence to a level where they can work with minimum or no supervision on the specific machinery and plant they have been trained to use. Operators are normally experienced staff, such as technicians and some postgraduate students. Operators may be authorised on an 'as required' basis to act as a responsible person/monitor to oversee users who are using low to medium powered tools as per the Workshop Competency Matrix. (LINK)


A user is a person who has had only basic awareness training in the use of specific machines or plant, and is not yet competent enough to be designated an operator. They may only use machinery and plant when a supervisor or designated responsible person/monitor is present. Users are normally students or inexperienced staff.  


A visitor is any person lawfully entering a workplace, who is not authorised to use or operate the machinery or plant within. Visitors must not be put at risk by workplace activities. If the visitors are contractors who intend to perform work of their own, supervisors must ensure the work activities will not adversely affect the workplace.

Health, Safety and Wellbeing Service

The University’s HSW Service: 

  • Provides information and specialist advice on machinery and plant management and operation as requested or required.
  • Monitors workplace environments and the health of workers when requested or required.
  • Coordinates and conducts investigations of incidents involving serious harm or notifiable events.

Training and competence

2. People using machinery and plant must be trained to a level that reflects their role and the level of risk associated with the machinery and plant being used. 

3. Any training received is to be recorded on a person’s record of learning or similar database. 

4. Operators of vehicles, forklifts, mobile cranes etc. must hold the
correct licence or competencies for the machinery and plant that they are operating.

Assessing potential risk

5. If machinery or plant within a workplace is potentially hazardous, a risk assessment must be carried out by the supervisor in accordance with the University’s risk management standards to determine the level of risk it presents.

Controlling identified risks

1. All machinery and plant risks are to be controlled in accordance with the risk control hierarchy, which, in order of most preferred to least preferred method of control, is as follows:

2. Elimination. Remove the exposure of the worker to machinery and plant risks by eliminating the need to use it. This is the most preferred of all the controls and should be used wherever possible.

3. Elimination through substitution. Replace a high risk machine or item of plant with a safer equivalent. 

4. Isolation through engineering. Minimise the risk of harm by isolating a person from a hazard.

5. Minimisation through administrative controls.

6. Minimisation through personal protective equipment (PPE).

Hazard management

7. Workplace access must be controlled in an appropriate manner as determined by the level of risk.

8. Supervisors must ensure that operations within the workplace do not affect others or the environment.

Safe equipment

9. Machinery and plant should not be purchased or otherwise obtained if a safer equivalent alternative is available.

10. Where an item is purchased secondhand, an assessment must be carried out to ensure it meets legislative requirements before it is purchased.

11. Where machinery or plant is manufactured by the University:

  • Items must comply with relevant legislative safety requirements (such as electrical regulations).
  • Items connecting to utilities such as electricity supplies must use standard connectors.
  • Where required, items must be approved by a qualified person (such as an electrical service technician, machine guarding validator, engineer, etc.).
  • Items must be clearly labelled with the name of manufacturer, date completed, purpose of the device, and where it is to be used.

12. As a minimum, machinery and plant must comply with applicable Australian/NZ Standards (or other relevant industry safety specifications that meet or exceed those requirements). 

Maintenance and defects

13. Machinery and plant must be installed, checked, inspected, cleaned, maintained and adjusted by a competent person in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. Where required, these activities must be recorded. 

14. When guards or other protective devices are removed or otherwise defeated during maintenance, power sources must be removed, isolated or locked out so that a machine is not able to be started using the power buttons or other controls.

15. Defective machinery and plant is to be taken out of service as soon as defects are identified. 


16. Machinery and items of plant that are to be sold or gifted to a third party must meet the following requirements:

  • Supervisors must ensure the equipment is in a safe working condition and make a written declaration confirming this for University records. (Declarations may be in the form of an email.)
  • Where defects cannot be resolved, a written declaration that details the defects must be made.

17. If the machine is being decommissioned because it is unsafe, the item must be cleaned, contaminants must be removed, and it must be destroyed or scrapped in accordance with the University Waste and Sustainability Policy. 

18. Where such items are offered for scrap to a third party, a declaration is to state that the machinery or item of plant is only to be used for scrap.


The following definitions apply to this document:

Control is an item or action designed to remove a hazard or reduce the risk from it.

Hazard refers to anything that has the potential to cause harm (injury or ill-health) or damage to property or equipment in connection with a work activity.

Incident is any unplanned event or occurrence resulting in, or having a potential for injury, ill-health, damage or other loss.

Machinery is a collective term for machines and their parts. A machine is considered to be any powered apparatus that has interrelated parts and is used to perform work.

Plant includes:

  • Any machinery, vehicle, vessel, aircraft, equipment (including personal protective equipment), appliance, container, implement or tool; and
  • Any component of any of those things, and
  • Anything fitted or connected to any of those things.

Risk refers to the likelihood a hazard will cause harm (injury, ill-health or damage) multiplied by the degree of harm that is likely to result (consequence). 

Residual risk is the risk that remains after controls have been applied
to a hazard.

Risk assessment is the process of evaluating the risk(s) arising from a hazard(s), taking into account the adequacy of any existing controls, and deciding whether or not the risk(s) is acceptable.

Role is an indication of a person’s competency when interacting with
machinery and plant. Typical roles within a workplace are: supervisor, operator, and user.

Safe Methods of Use are University developed protocols that detail
safe work methods for laboratories and high risk substances, such as: chemicals, compounds, cryogenic fluids, mercury etc.

Safe Work Instruction(s) are written instructions to inform users of potentially harmful equipment about mandatory PPE, associated potential risks, prohibited actions, and actions that must be taken before use, during use and after use of the equipment.

University means the University of Auckland and includes all subsidiaries.

Visitor refers to any person lawfully entering a workplace, who is not authorised to use or operate the machinery or plant within.

Workplace is any physical location in which work-related activities under the control of the organisation are performed.

Workshop is any workplace specifically set up to manufacture, repair or service items with the use of machinery or plant.

Key relevant documents

Document Control
Version: 1.0
Last Updated: Dec 2019
Next Review: Dec 2022
Approver: Associate Director, Health Safety & Wellbeing