When a person is employed by a company, they are normally issued some sort of equipment or tools that they are supposed to use in a regular course of their work. If they decide to quit the job or they are laid off they will have to return the tools or equipment in proper and working condition. The tools will be inspected, their number and condition, and in case anything is missing or broken that person will have to bear the cost of replacing that tool or instrument.

But what word or phrase could I use to say that someone who is quitting his job is required to account for the condition of a larger, immovable piece of machinery that he worked on.

Clearly I can't say that he was "issued with the machine" or that he "returned the machine", but he's still responsible that the machine is in proper and working condition. For example, there must not be missing parts, or defects due to his negligence or anything like that, for which he could be held responsible, and would need to pay for.

How can I say that he was "put in charge of the machine" when he started working for the company and also that, on quitting the job, and inspection of the machine he is "relieved of the responsibility for it".

  • 3
    You've basically answered your own question in your last sentence. Employees are responsible for the machinery they operate. – deadrat Oct 17 '16 at 4:07
  • 2
    I don't think there's a word for capital machinery that corresponds to issued for tools. At least not in US parlance. It's likely that part of the reason for the missing terminology is that generally it's not legal for US employers to demand the compensation you're talking about. I haven't checked all 51 jurisdictions for the details, though. – deadrat Oct 17 '16 at 5:51
  • 1
    Could you use "assumes responsibility for" and "relinquishes responsibility for"? You can then define what duties and commitments are expected of the employee while they are responsible for the machinery elsewhere in the contract. – JonLarby Oct 17 '16 at 9:09
  • 1
    @RejlanGivens Point taken & understood. And I was thinking of just that, your example of a company car. Any contract lawyer worth his salt would make an employee liable to his employer for any negligent/willful activity on the part of the employee that causes loss, damage or diminished value to the vehicle. "Fair wear & tear" an exception. Most company cars are covered by insurance. A prospective employee should check contract before signing to ensure company car is duly covered by COMPREHENSIVE insurance. I'll do my best later in the day with answer to capital machinery as per OP. – Peter Point Oct 17 '16 at 9:19
  • 1
    @RejlanGivens I should have added that, "Any lawyer...worth his salt would make an employee liable for any negligent/willful activity...that causes loss, damage or diminished value..." [save where the employer's car insurance company acknowledges and assumes responsibility for the insured losses, etc.] – Peter Point Oct 17 '16 at 9:44

It is common to use the term assign to mean that certain company owned equipment has been designated for exclusive use by an employee. For example:

Employees are assigned a laptop/mobile and similar devices for the purpose of performing duties directly related to the business of MCC. Laptops/mobile devices shall not be used by non-employees and are not intended for any non-College business.
Middlesex Community College - Laptop Computer and Mobile Device Use Agreement


You could use 'allocated to'. The machine doesn't move but the employee does so the employee is placed in a relationship with the machine rather than the other way around.

The same phrase can be used for a shop worker who can be allocated to a till, an account manager who can be allocated to a number of accounts and even a postal worker who can be allocated to a delivery round.

In all these cases, including the allocation to a machine, the employee is made responsible for the quality of the work associated with the allocation but the allocated responsibilities do not change when someone else takes over. This is in contrast to a set of tools which can be issued to a number of other employees. For instance employee A may have been issued with a set of screwdrivers, a pair of pliers and a multimeter but after he leaves employee B might get the meter, employee C get the pliers and employee D the set of screwdrivers.


I would use assigned. It's very versatile, since it can be used instead of issued.

The appropriate definition in The Oxford Dictionary is

Designate or set (something) aside for a specific purpose.

It gives this example:

‘‘We will assign a specific recovery room suite to them and they're the only ones with access to it,’ Siefried said.’

Many job applications use the word:

Efficiently and safely operate assigned machinery.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.