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Plant & Vehicles
Plant & Vehicles


(Revised 20 November 2017)

Mobile plant is in use for most if not all entertainment productions. Common plant are forklifts, telehandlers, scissor lifts and boomlifts. Vehicles within the workplace are more common in outdoor festivals and community events and include alongside of trucks, vans and cars, golf buggies, quad bikes and the like.

Plant is included in WHS legislation because of the potential injury which it can cause, such as crush injuries, hearing loss, burns, shock, fractures, sprains, strains, amputation, entanglement, and fatalities.

Each Australian State’s and Territory’s plant legislation has been derived from nationally agreed standards. This chapter is primarily-based on requirements of the WHS Regulation, however it is applicable to all States and Territories.

13.1 Referenced documents:

WHS Regulation 2011

WHS Act 2011

Code of Practice – Managing risks of plant in the workplace

Traffic Management Guide: Construction Work – July 2013

AS/NZS 1891.1:2007 – Industrial fall-arrest systems and devices – Harnesses and ancillary equipment

AS2359.1:2015 – Powered industrial trucks – General requirements

AS2550.10:2006 – Cranes, hoists and winches – Safe use – Mobile elevating work platforms

NOTE: Under WHS legislation, elevated work platforms are classified as ‘hoists’.


13.2 Definitions

13.2.1 Section 4 – plant includes:

  1. any machinery, equipment, appliance, container, implement and tool, and
  2. any component of any of those things, and
  3. anything fitted or connected to any of those things.

13.2.2 Clause 5 – powered mobile plant

means plant that is provided with some form of self-propulsion that is ordinarily under the direct control of an operator.

13.3 Duties

Who has health and safety duties in relation to plant at the workplace?

Clause 214 – Powered mobile plant—general control of risk
The person with management or control of powered mobile plant at a workplace must in accordance with Part 3.1, manage risks to health and safety associated with the following:
a) the plant overturning,
b) things falling on the operator of the plant,
c) the operator being ejected from the plant,
d) the plant colliding with any person or thing,
e) mechanical failure of pressurised elements of plant that may release fluids that pose a risk to health and safety.

A person conducting a business or undertaking has the primary duty under the WHS Act to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that workers and other persons are not exposed to health and safety risks arising from the business or undertaking. This duty includes ensuring, so far as is reasonably practicable:

  • the provision and maintenance of safe plant, and
  • the safe use, handling, storage and transport of plant.

Officers, for example company directors, have a duty to exercise due diligence to ensure that the business or undertaking complies with the WHS Act and Regulations. This includes taking reasonable steps to ensure that the business or undertaking has and uses appropriate resources and processes to eliminate or minimise risks that arise from plant used in the workplace.

Workers have a duty to take reasonable care for their own health and safety and must not adversely affect the health and safety of other persons. Workers must comply with any reasonable instruction and cooperate with any reasonable policy or procedure relating to health and safety at the workplace.

13.4 Traffic Management

Managing traffic at a workplace is an important part of ensuring the workplace is without risks to health and safety. Vehicles including powered mobile plant moving in and around a workplace, reversing, loading and unloading are often linked with death and injuries to workers and members of the public.

Traffic includes cars, trucks and powered mobile plant like forklifts, and pedestrians like workers and visitors.

The most effective way to protect pedestrians is to eliminate traffic hazards. This can be done by designing the layout of the workplace to eliminate interactions between pedestrians and vehicles. Examples include prohibiting vehicles from being used in pedestrian spaces or providing separate traffic routes so pedestrians cannot enter areas where vehicles are used.

Where this is not possible the risks must be minimised so far as is reasonably practicable. This can be done by careful planning and controlling vehicle operations and pedestrian movements at the workplace.

13.4.1 Information, training, instruction and supervision

A person conducting a business or undertaking of a workplace must ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, workers have the necessary training, qualifications or licenses to operate the vehicles, plant and attachments they use, for example:

  • checking for licensing, qualifications and fitness for work when engaging drivers or operators or when hiring contractors
  • managing the activities of visiting drivers, and
  • training drivers and operators.

Incidents can also occur when untrained or inexperienced workers drive construction vehicles. Access to vehicles should be managed and workers alerted to potential risks.

13.4.2 Keeping pedestrians and vehicles apart

Consider implementing the following control measures to keep pedestrians and vehicles apart at the construction workplace and when vehicles enter or exit the workplace:

  • Providing separate traffic routes for pedestrians and vehicles, where possible.
  • Providing separate clearly marked pedestrian walkways that take a direct route.
  • Securing areas where vehicles and powered mobile plant operate by installing pedestrian barriers, traffic control barricades, chains, tape or bollards. Where needed ensure a competent person with the necessary training or qualifications directs powered mobile plant when it operates near workers or other plant.
  • Avoiding blocking walkways so pedestrians do not have to step onto the vehicle route.

13.4.3 Signs, warning devices and visibility

Signs should be used to alert workers and pedestrians to potential hazards from vehicles entering, operating within and exiting the workplace and to identify other requirements like pedestrian exclusion zones.

If there is a possibility of powered mobile plant colliding with pedestrians or other powered mobile plant, the person with management or control of the plant must ensure the plant has a device to warn people at risk from the movement of the plant.

A person conducting a business or undertaking must also ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, lighting is provided to allow workers to carry out their work without risk to health and safety. Bad weather, shadows from plant and blind spots can reduce visibility.

The following control measures should be considered to manage risks:

  • installing mirrors, reversing cameras, sensors and alarms to help drivers see or be aware of movement around the vehicle
  • installing visual warning devices like flashing lights and high-visibility markings for powered mobile plant
  • implementing safe systems of work to stop loads being carried forward where they impair clear vision
  • appointing a trained person to control manoeuvres
  • ensuring high-visibility or reflective clothing is worn by workers, plant operators and pedestrians at the workplace

13.4.4 Traffic management plans

A traffic management plan documents and helps explain how risks will be managed at the construction workplace. This may include details of:

  • pedestrian and traffic routes
  • designated delivery and loading and unloading areas
  • traffic control measures for each expected interaction including drawings of the layout of barriers, walkways, signs and general arrangements to warn and guide traffic around, past or through the workplace or temporary hazard
  • instructions or procedures for controlling traffic including in an emergency, and
  • how to implement and monitor the effectiveness of a traffic management plan.

The traffic management plan should be monitored and reviewed regularly including after an incident to ensure it is effective and takes into account changes at the workplace.

13.4.5 Public roads

If your work involves a public road you should contact your local road authority for the relevant traffic management requirements and guidelines.

13.5 High Risk Work

Both operating a boomlift over 11 metres and operating an industrial forklift truck are considered ‘High Risk Work’ under Clause 81 of the WHS Regulation.

81 Licence required to carry out high risk work
A person must not carry out a class of high risk work unless the person
holds a high risk work licence for that class of high risk work, except as
provided in clause 82.
NOTE: The exceptions in Clause 82 refer to people who are being trained and supervised to become licensed.

Before you can apply for a national licence to perform high risk work to operate the types of plant listed below, a Registered Training Organisation (RTO) must assess your training, skills and knowledge using the relevant ‘assessment instrument’ under realistic workplace conditions.

13.5.1 Boom -type elevating work platform (WP)

Covers the operation of telescoping devices, hinged devices, or articulated devices (or any combination of these) used to support a platform on which personnel, equipment and materials may be elevated to perform work and where the boom length is 11 metres or more.

The length of the boom is the greater of the following:

  • the vertical distance from the surface supporting the boom-type elevating work platform to the floor, with the platform extended to its maximum height
  • the horizontal distance from the centre point of the boom’s rotation to the outer edge of the platform, with the platform extended to its maximum distance

NOTE: A WP high risk work licence is required when operating a telehandler fitted with a personnel box with operating controls in the box, and the boom length is 11 metres or more.

13.5.2 Forklift licences (LF & LO)

You need a high risk work licence if you want to operate a forklift.

There are two classes of forklift licences. They are for:

  • a forklift truck equipped with a mast and an elevating load carriage with a pair of fork arms or other attachment (class LF)
  • an order picking forklift truck where the operator’s control elevates with the load carriage/lifting media (class LO)

NOTE: If a telehandler is fitted with forks or a bucket, a high risk work licence may not be required, see Table and explanation below. However, the business (or employer or other PCBU) has a duty of care to ensure workers have appropriate training in operating the telehandler.

13.5.3 Telehandler

A Telescopic Handler commonly known as ‘Telehandler’ is a versatile piece of equipment that has a wide range of applications in industry, and can be fitted with attachments, such as:

  • Forks – for palletised loads
  • Bucket – for shifting dirt/sand/gravel etc
  • Work Platform – for elevating personnel
  • Jib – for use as a crane

There is a lot of confusion as to what type of High Risk Work Licence is required, if any is needed at all. The regulators nationwide have agreed that a telehandler will fall under the High Risk Work Licence category of either non-slewing or slewing crane if they have a lifting capacity greater than 3 tonnes. However, throughout Australia there are some variations to the training and licencing parameters. Refer to State regulators.

The High Risk Work Licence is about the machine (telehandler) and the attachment. In some States additional high risk licences may be required to operate the telehandler with a specific attachment fitted, eg Work Platforms.

If the telehandler fits into the High Risk Work Licencing category in your State and the machine does not slew, then the high risk Licence to Operate a Non Slewing Mobile Crane (CN licence) is sufficient.

If the telehandler is of the slewing variety then a Slewing Mobile Crane Licence (C2, C6 or greater) is required.

The Telescopic Handler Association of Australia has put together a very handy table, see copy below


State or Territory Web Address 3t & Under (forks attached) Over 3t (forks attached) Attachments WP Basket less than 11m Attachments WP Basket 11m or over Jib or Hook maximum capacity 3t & under Jib or Hook maximum capacity over 3t Slewing TH Any Capacity
Type of Load Management Systems Required LSL/LSI LSL/LSI Note 2 Note 2 LSL/LSI and MCL or RCL/RCI Note 3 RCL/RCI

Note 3


DISCLAIMER: This table is a guide only, check with the State Regulator for definitive answers.

Note 1: Although not stated as such a C2 / C6 / C1 / C0 would be the requirement as CN is non-slewing. Check with State Regulator
Note 2: Platform attachment recognition required on TH and Slewing TH’s fitted with work platforms. WP Baskets must not be mounted to fork tynes
Note 3: Jib or hook maximum capacity is determined by the combination of the TH and the attachment and rated as such on the related load chart.

All attachment combinations must be approved for use on the TH and the appropriate load charts provided

TH Telescopic Handler
DOC Duty of Care Training: eg EWPA Yellow Card
CN is the minimum required licence. Note that C2/C6/C1/C0 are also acceptable.
CN Licence: Non-slewing Crane over 3t
C2/C6/C1/C0 Licence: Cranes, Slewing
WP Licence: Elevating Work Platform Boom 11m & over
LF Licence: Forklift
RCL/RCI Rated Capacity Limiter/Indicator
LSL/LSI Longitudinal Stability Limiter/Indicator
MCL Maximum Capacity Limiter

13.5.4 Scissorlift

Scissorlifts are a controversial piece of plant, similar to the telehandler situation outlined above. Whilst the WHS legislation does not require a High Risk Work licence to operate a scissorlift, the PCBU who provides the scissorlift has a duty of care to provide adequate training for the plant. The EWPA (Elevated Work Platform Association of Australia) issued Yellow Card can sometimes be used to discharge that duty. But be aware that the Yellow Card is not a recognised ‘licence’ as such and the PCBU in charge of the workplace still needs to be satisfied that the worker can safely operate the specific piece of plant and has the knowledge to execute the daily inspections as required. Also note that the EWPA Yellow Card is often specified in rental contracts as a condition of use.

The EWPA Yellow Card is the Association’s method of meeting industry needs for EWP training. However, other methods can be used. Such methods include having in-house training schemes or user specific programs. The key elements that any programs need to include are a structured training format delivered by a competent trainer and the training content should meet or exceed manufacturers’ safe operating procedures. The training outcomes are to be documented and kept for reference.



13.6 Other vehicles

Conditions for the use of non-roadworthy vehicles can differ between States and Territories. It is recommended that you check local conditions for the use of such vehicles in the workplace, links provided below. The main thing to remember is to always make sure that workers driving or operating the vehicle have been trained in the safe use of the piece of plant. It is important that this training is well documented.

13.6.1 Golf Buggy

To drive a golf buggy you must hold a driver licence.

Any restrictions on your licence apply when you drive your golf buggy, including blood alcohol restrictions.

Your golf buggy and trailer must be:

  • safe and in sound mechanical condition
  • used in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.

Golf buggy owners should have insurance.

13.6.2 Special work vehicles

Special work vehicles are specialised vehicles primarily constructed and used for off-road transportation in the performance of agricultural, maintenance or service tasks. These vehicles can be conditionally registered for road use with strict operating conditions.

Special Work Vehicles are specialised motor vehicles, primarily constructed and used for off-road transportation that:

  • are a light motor vehicle not constructed as a tractor
  • are primarily constructed for and used for off-road transportation
  • are undertaking agricultural, maintenance or service tasks and
  • do not comply with the Australian Design Rules ( ADR) for general road use.

With conditional registration, the vehicle must be used for occupational purposes only and cannot be registered for recreational use.


They are divided into two distinct types:

Type 1 – special work vehicles are generally referred to as quad bikes. They are built to carry one person and steered by using a handle bar (quad bike).

Type 2 – special work vehicles are steered by using a steering wheel, have side-by-side or bench seats and generally a small goods tray (John Deere Gator type)

13.6.3 Special Purpose Vehicles (SPV)

A vehicle (other than a caravan, a mobile home, a mobile library, a mobile workshop, a mobile laboratory or a mobile billboard) where the primary purpose for which it was built, or permanently modified, was not the carriage of goods or passengers; or a forklift, straddle carrier, mobile cherry picker, or mobile crane.

13.6.3.a Type P

A SPV built, or permanently modified, primarily for off-road use, or use on a road related area, or use on an area of road that is under construction or repair (eg agricultural tractors, self-propelled agricultural harvesters, bulldozers, backhoes, graders and front-end loaders).

13.6.3.b Type T

A SPV (other than a SPV type P) built, or permanently modified, primarily for use on roads, and that has no axle or axle group loaded in excess of the axle load limits specified in the Table to the definition of SPV type O below (eg mobile cranes, fire engines, truck-mounted concrete pumps and boring plants).

13.6.3.c Type O

A SPV (other than a SPV type P) built, or permanently modified, primarily for use on roads, and that has at least one axle or axle group loaded in excess of the axle load limits specified in the following Table (eg mobile cranes, fire engines, truck-mounted concrete pumps and boring plants).

13.7 Road and road transport authorities

State and territory governments have responsibility for roads and road transport within their jurisdiction. Their websites may include information about traffic and road conditions, road construction, road rules, and road safety, as well as vehicle registration and licensing.