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Gary Rowe

| November 18 2019

Last month a reader asked about inspection frequency for building emergency equipment. This month we have been asked to explain how often cranes need to be inspected, and what options we have.

Types of Cranes

To answer how often you need to inspect your crane we need to understand what type of crane is involved.

Workplace safety regulations require operator licenses for various types of cranes as outlined below:

  • Tower cranes
  • Self-erecting cranes
  • Derek cranes
  • Portal boom cranes
  • Bridge and gantry cranes
  • Vehicle loading cranes
  • Non-slewing mobile cranes
  • Slewing mobile crane (for 20, 60, 100 & >100T tonnes)

For the purpose of this article we will assume a bridge or gantry crane, but the principles will remain the same for all types of cranes.

     

Gantry Crane Bridge Crane
Gantry cranes     Bridge crane   

                                                                                    

General Duty

The Vic OHS and interstate WHS general duty of care includes requirement for employers to ensure their plant (including cranes) are safe, but of course we need more details to determine what action is enough to satisfy this duty.

 

 

 

Regulations

Safety regulations impose requirements for employers to inspect plant and keep records eg Vic OHS Reg 105 & 106, but once again these regulations fail to tell us how often we need to inspect plant.

The harmonized WHS Regulation 213 requires plant is to be maintained and inspected by a competent person, and that the maintenance is to be in accordance with the manufacturer’s recommendations (or if none as advised by a competent person), and at least annually.

It is now clear that an annual inspection of plant is the absolute minimum, but more frequent if specified in the manufacturer’s manual for the crane.

Manufacturer Manuals

During safety audits and accident investigations we often find businesses have lost the manufacturer manuals, particularly for older plant.

      

Instruction Manual Instruction Manual 2
Manufacturer’s instruction manuals

Manufacturer’s instruction manuals

Given the safety regulations prescribe inspection and maintenance be in accordance with the manufacturer’s recommendations, we can now see the potential for allegations that the crane was not maintained as prescribed by regulation eg WHS Reg 213.

Australian Standards & Codes of Practice

Where the regulations or manufacturer’s manual is silent on any aspect, Australian Standards and Codes of Practice can provide guidance on safe use and compliance with the general duty of care.

For example, AS 2550.1: 2011 Crane, Hoists and Winches – Safe Use Part 1: General Requirements offers guidance on inspection and maintenance frequencies, if more frequent checks are not specified by regulation or the manufacturer.

The table below is based on Table F1 from AS 2550.1 entitled Recommended Minimum Inspection and Maintenance Frequencies:

Crane Classification              C1       C2       C3       C4       C5       C6       C7         C8

Operating Hrs/Day               <0.5    <1       <2       <4       <8       <16     >16       >20

Routine Maint. (Months)     3         3          3          3          2          2       Monthly  Monthly

3rd Party Inspection                                                  Annual

Note: The above table matches the legislative minimum of annual inspections and suggests monthly to 3 monthly maintenance depending upon frequency of use of the crane.

Pre-Use Checks

In addition to the programmed inspections and maintenance by qualified personnel your crane operators should be trained to conduct pre-use or daily checks, to ensure the crane is safe every day.

If you would like a copy of a Fact Sheet on inspecting and maintaining cranes or if you have a safety question let us know