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How Often Should Cranes Be Inspected?

Cranes are very technical heavy equipment that require thorough heavy equipment maintenance, servicing and inspections.

In addition to Work Health and Safety Regulations, all crane operators, providers and teams exposed to crane operations on site have an obligation to ensure a work site is safe and that people are not exposed to health and safety risks on the job. This includes the inspection and maintenance of cranes.

Pre-operational checks 

Pre-operational checks (Pre-Start) should be carried out every time before a crane is operated by a competent person, and should be recorded in the crane’s log book. This ensure that consistent checks as to the condition of the crane are maintained.

Routine crane inspection and crane maintenance 

Whether cranes are operated continuously or not, routine crane inspections and tests need to be carried out in accordance with the crane’s manufacturer’s instructions. Even when a crane is not be operated regularly, a routine inspection will ensure that any corrosion, damage or deterioration has not occurred while being idle.

Ideally, routine crane inspections should take place either weekly, monthly or quarterly. A written report should be provided by the competent crane servicing provider that details that status and working condition of the crane as well as identify any parts that need replacing or any risks that have been identified before the crane can be operated.

A typical crane inspection should include:

  • Crane functions and the controls for speed, smoothness of operation and limits of motion
  • Lubrication of any moving parts. Stress and friction is created anytime that two moving parts come into contact with each other
  • Emergency and safety switches and interlocks including limiting and indicating devices
  • Verifying accuracy of any load moment indicator (LMI) and rated capacity indicator (RCI) devices with a test lift using a certified test weight
  • A visual inspection and measurements as necessary of structural components and critical parts including locking devices, gears, shafts, breaks, fasteners, sheaves, wire ropes and electrical contactors
  • Wear on wheels and tyres
  • Filters and fluid levels and leaks
  • Signage including warning signs and control markings
  • Extra items nominated in the crane manufacturer’s instructions

If there are any identified risks to health and safety, or if a crane has been damaged, it should not be operated on any construction site and should be taken out of service. If the damaged crane needs to be operating during cleaning or maintenance, risk control measures must be in place to ensure health and safety is not compromised.

Annual Crane Inspection 

A comprehensive crane inspection by a competent crane servicing provider should be conducted once a year. This should involve a comprehensive inspection that will determine the condition of the crane and whether any repairs or parts require replacement.

An annual inspection should include every item in the routine inspection and maintenance programs, as well as items specified by the crane manufacturer for an annual inspection, however it is less comprehensive than a major inspection.

A standard annual inspection should include a detailed check of:

  • Functioning and calibration of limiting and indicating devices
  • Tolerances for wear limits
  • Critical areas for evidence of cracking
  • Structural and wear components
  • Evidence of corrosion, and
  • For tower cranes, relevant items in the pre-erection inspection and tests that can be safely completed while the crane is erected

If the scheduled annual inspection will fall on a date where the tower crane will be erected, the owner should pre-emptively carry out the annual inspection before erecting the crane or during the pre-erection inspection.

Major Crane Inspection 

It is a requirement that registered mobile and tower cranes undergo regular major inspections so that they pose little to no health and safety risks.

Major crane inspections must be performed at the end of the crane’s design life, as stipulated by the manufacturer’s instructions. It is advisable that a competent crane servicing provider undertake these inspections to meet requirements established by relevant standards.

Australian legislation requires major crane inspections to be undertaken at 10- and 25-year intervals throughout a crane’s working life.

These inspections require major parts of the crane to be stripped down for structural and mechanical inspection, repair or replacement of critical parts, Non-Destructive Testing and Engineer certification.

For further information on crane inspections please contact SuperService today. We’d love to hear from you.


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