Risk Assessment guidelines (tips)

Everything you need to know about conducting Plant Assessor risk assessments.

At Plant Assessor, we take legislative obligations, Australian and International Standards, Codes of Practice, and the risk-assessment process, and combine them with our extensive industry experience to create tailor-made, machine-specific risk assessments.

There are over 110,000 models of machinery in our database. When you fire up a risk assessment survey in Plant Assessor, the questions will be specific to the machine you’ve selected, who you are, where you’re using the machine, and the purpose of the assessment. 

Once you’ve completed the risk assessment survey, a risk management report will be generated, detailing machine risks and hazards, and required actions.

But who can actually conduct a Plant Assessor risk assessment? And what are the golden rules to consider when answering the questions?

Who can conduct a Plant Assessor risk assessment?

Risk assessments can look complicated – and you might think it requires someone with a lot of legislative and technical know-how to complete. 

But you don’t need any special licence to conduct a risk assessment; you don’t need to know all the ins-and-outs of the risk assessment process, or have memorised technical standards. You just need to be able to understand the questions, and have a good knowledge of the machine in question.

In fact, the minimum requirements for anyone answering a Plant Assessor risk assessment are:

  • The ability to read and write
  • A high degree of competency in dealing with, and understanding the machinery, such as being able to identify specific parts of the machine and their use, and how the machine is going to be operated.

Assuming that’s you, there are a few golden rules to consider when answering the questions. These make sure nothing is missed, and the assessment is a true reflection of the machine in question.

5 Golden Rules to answering Plant Assessor risk assessment questions

Assuming that’s you, there are a few golden rules to consider when answering the questions. These make sure nothing is missed, and the assessment is a true reflection of the machine in question.

1. Read the entire question

If pressed for time, it can be easy to assume the intent of a question and quickly answer before moving on to the next. But many Plant Assessor risk-assessment questions have multiple parts, so it’s critical to read the entire question, and ensure it’s understood before answering.

For example, a question relating to a specific control may ask for a specific answer such as ‘N/A’ rather than ‘No’ if it’s not applicable. Or may refer to all controls related to the movement of the machine.

Best practice is to read the question twice and take a moment to consider all aspects of it before answering.

2. Be honest

The Plant Assessor risk assessment process relies on the honesty of the assessor. If there is a fault or hazard, it must be recorded. This is part of your WHS obligations, and there can be huge financial penalties if an incident occurs.

Not to mention a risk assessment’s purpose is to keep operators safe. Using a machine that has potential safety issues can be fatal.

Answer honestly, and provide clarity by documenting details of non-compliance in questions and comments section of your Plant Assessor risk assessment.

3. Never assume

‘It was fine yesterday’ doesn’t cut it in the risk assessment process. Every risk control must be sighted or tested, and made sure to fully comply with the question before answering.

Don’t assume: Start the machine and test it. If you can’t, then answer the question ‘No’, and comment appropriately in the questions/comments section of your Plant Assessor risk assessment.

4. Err on the side of caution

If you have a reason to be unsure whether there’s a risk or hazard, or are unable to test the control properly, then answer the assessment question ‘No’. It’s the safe thing to do.

Further investigation can always be done to accurately establish whether a machine is safe; but climbing into the cab with a ‘she’ll be right’ attitude can lead to disastrous consequences.

5. Only ever answer ‘Not Applicable’ if it’s genuinely ‘Not Applicable’

You’ll often have the option to answer a Plant Assessor question as ‘N/A’ – but most questions will be applicable.

As with being honest, it’s important to answer questions ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ if possible, as this will provide a true assessment of the machine in question.

Don’t have the time?

We understand that following the above rules and conducting a thorough risk assessment of all your machines can be time consuming. That’s why we have a team of machine specialists that can take care of your machine risk assessments for you.

Our Professional Services team are standing by to:

  • Travel to you, with trained machinery experts
  • Conduct any required risk assessments
  • Photograph and catalogue machinery in Plant Assessor
  • Supply and fit safety decals  
  • Assist you in understanding and managing any outstanding actions
  • Ensure plant and equipment meets your legal obligations

For a quote, get in touch on 1300 728 852 or email info@assessor.com.au