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How Often Should Cranes Be Inspected?

Cranes are very technical forms of heavy equipment that require thorough 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 proper inspection and maintenance of cranes.

Pre-operational Checks 

Pre-operational checks (Pre-Start checks) should be carried out by a competent person every time a crane is to be operated, and should be recorded in the crane’s log book. This ensures 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 manufacturer’s instructions. Even when a crane is not operated regularly, a routine inspection ensures 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 the status and working condition of the crane, as well as identifying any parts that need replacing or any risks that have been observed that need to be mitigated before the crane is next operated.

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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 falls on a date when the tower crane will need to be erected, the owner should pre-emptively carry out the annual inspection before erecting the crane or during the pre-erection inspection.

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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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