1. The Difference between "Plant" and "Equipment"

Please note: the word “usually” appears frequently in this guide, particularly in this section.  Plant and equipment covers a very wide range of items, and so it is not possible for us to say categorically that what we advise applies to every piece of work equipment.


This refers to “machinery, apparatus and fixtures employed in carrying on a trade or an industrial business”.  Usually (well, we did warn you), plant is used to refer to heavier items such as earth moving equipment, large vehicles, fixed equipment (such as compressed air systems and electrical intakes for example), items which are considered fixed assets.

Many items of plant are subject to stringent maintenance and inspection rules which have to be adhered to.  These inspections are often carried out by external specialists.


Usually, “equipment” refers to smaller machinery, powered tools, PPE (personal protective equipment), portable electrical items, hand tools – anything which is used to carry out the work at hand.

As with plant, all items of equipment must also be subject to maintenance and inspection, but usually this can be carried out in-house.  Never forget to record these checks.

Health and Safety Myth

Maintenance and repair information is not confidential

A private consumer asked for detailed information (service and/or parts manual with parts listings) from the appliance manufacturer to assist with his own repairs of own household appliances. The manufacturer claimed that H&S Regulations prevented them providing this information.

Health and safety regulation does not prevent a manufacturer from providing this information.  It is a matter of company policy whether they choose to provide it to domestic consumers.  If the concern is that repairs by private individuals to their own domestic appliances may present risks of electric shock, fire, explosion, or CO poisoning (in the case of gas appliances), information could still be provided alongside a strong recommendation that work is only undertaken by competent persons.  A proper explanation should be provided to customers.