Competent persons for inspection and maintenance of plant

This information bulletin provides information about selecting a competent person to maintain, inspect and test plant.

Plant includes any machinery, equipment, appliance, container, implement and tool, and includes any component or anything fitted or connected to any of those things. Plant includes items as diverse as lifts, cranes, computers, machinery, conveyors, forklifts, vehicles, power tools and amusement devices.

Duty to maintain, inspect and if necessary test plant

Plant must be maintained, inspected and, if necessary, tested by a competent person. This must be done:

  • in accordance with the manufacturer’s recommendations, if any, or
  • if none – in accordance with the recommendations of a competent person, or
  • in relation to inspection, if neither are reasonably practicable – annually.

Competent person

Competent person means a person who has acquired through training, qualification or experience the knowledge and skills to carry out the task.

A competent person has a more specific meaning in the following circumstances:

Design Registration

In order to register a plant design, the design must be verified by a design verifier who must provide a statement that the design has been produced in accordance with published technical standards or engineering principles specified by the designer.

The types of people who would be competent to verify the design of plant may include someone who:

  • has educational or vocational qualifications in an engineering discipline relevant to the design to be verified
  • has knowledge of the technical standards relevant to the design to be verified
  • has the skills necessary to independently verify that the design was produced in accordance with the published technical standards and engineering principles used in the design, and
  • is certified by a body that is accredited or approved by the Joint Accreditation System – Australia and New Zealand or an equivalent overseas body to undertake conformity assessments of the design against the relevant technical standards.

Item Registrations

In order to have an item of plant registered, the item must be inspected and a statement provided by a competent person stating that the plant is safe to operate.

A person is competent to inspect an item of plant if the person has educational or vocational qualifications in an engineering discipline relevant to the plant, or knowledge of the technical standards relevant to the plant to be inspected.

Major Inspection - Cranes

A major inspection must be completed for registered mobile and tower cranes. Similarly, bridge and gantry cranes should have a regular ‘major’ inspection completed and the results recorded so that they continue to be safe to operate.

Annual Inspection – Amusement Devices

A detailed inspection of an amusement device must be carried out at least once every 12 months by a competent person.

If the amusement device contains an electrical installation then the person inspecting the electrical installation needs to be qualified, or assisted by a person who is qualified, to inspect electrical installations.

For inspection of mobile cranes, tower cranes and amusement devices the person must:

  • have the skills, qualifications, competence and experience to inspect the plant, and be registered under a law that provides for the registration of professional engineers (in jurisdictions where such a law exists), or
  • be determined by the Work Health and Safety Regulator to be a competent person.