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TECH TIP: HOW OFTEN SHOULD YOUR CRANE BE INSPECTED?

Cranes 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.


ROUTINE CRANE INSPECTION AND MAINTENANCE Regular inspection, maintenance and repair are to be carried out in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions or those of a competent person. For inspections, if this is not practicable, they must be completed at least annually. Cranes should be routinely inspected and tested even if they are not operated regularly. This is because the crane may have deteriorated through corrosion or be damaged while 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

  • Emergency and safety switches and interlocks including limiting and indicating devices

  • Lubrication of moving parts

  • Verifying accuracy of any load moment indicator (LMI) and rated capacity indicator (RCI) devices with a test lift using a certified test weight

  • Filters and fluid levels and leaks

  • A visual inspection and measurements as necessary of structural components and critical parts including brakes, gears, fasteners, pins, shafts, wire ropes, sheaves, locking devices and electrical contactors

  • Signage including warning signs and control markings

  • Wear on wheels and tyres

  • 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 INSPECTIONS

Regular inspections must be carried out in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions or those of a competent person or, if this is not reasonably practicable, annually.


An annual inspection may be less comprehensive than a major inspection. It should include every item specified by the crane manufacturer for annual inspection and every item included in the routine inspection and maintenance programs. A STANDARD ANNUAL INSPECTION SHOULD INCLUDE A DETAILED CHECK OF:

  • Functioning and calibration of limiting and indicating devices

  • Structural and wear components

  • Tolerances for wear limit

  • Evidence of corrosion

  • Critical areas for evidence of cracking

  • 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 INSPECTIONS 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 more information on crane inspections, contact us on 133 293.

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