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Crane inspection must be in accordance with the manufacturers’ recommendation. If that information is not available, then the inspection will be based on the duty of the crane and its various components. An assessment can be made on the actual duty being performed and then compare that to recommended maintenance inspection frequencies given in AS2550.3 Table 7.2.1. You need to ensure that the requirements of your environment are being taken into account, and that the operating conditions of your Crane has not changed in recent times. Alternatively, the crane owner can assess what those frequencies should be according to the known maintenance records of the crane.
These assessments should be conducted by a person who is deemed competent and has at least 5 years’ experience in maintaining /assessing OET cranes (AS 2550.1 provides detail on assessing competency). Should the crane owner inspect or maintain the crane at a frequency interval greater than recommended by the manufacturer or the competent person, then a thorough risk assessment of the rationale and control processes shall be conducted, implemented and audited to ensure compliance.
It is recommended to have a third party review your maintenance programme periodically to ensure that you are meeting the requirements and keeping your Crane in optimum condition.
Any maintenance program is only effective if appropriate records are kept, and AS2550.3, section 7.2.2 states that a written report shall be furnished on completion of the maintenance. The standard goes on to give an example of what a typical inspection and testing certificate may look like.
A continuous working record (e.g., logbook) of the significant events concerning the safety and operation of the crane shall be kept and shall be readily available. Such records shall include checks, adjustments, replacement of parts, repairs and inspections performed and all irregularities or damage concerning the crane’s safe use. For example, Defects found during the pre-operational inspection shall be recorded in the logbook and reported to a responsible person.
For maintenance and inspection of hoist, bridge and gantry cranes, the individual part of the standard AS2550.3, overrides the General Requirements of AS2550.1.
In reality, most cranes are usually working on duties below their classification (for crane classification, refer to CICA Hoist Sector FAQs-Crane Design Specification). Since crane inspection frequency specified by manufacture or in the standards are based on crane classifications, for most cranes, record the crane usage (data logging) can benefit crane owners economically by extend the intervals between each inspection. Data logging records containing state of loading, duration of operation and number of load cycles can be used to determine a more accurate inspection interval and avoid excessive effort spend on crane inspection.
For crane railways and monorails, according to AS1418.18-2001, the frequency of inspections is subject to variances in the extent of usage of the crane(s) and engineering judgement. Generally, in the first 6 years of the runway life there should be no problems. However, if a bad detail is present, then failure may occur very early on. Initial inspection frequency should not be greater than 2 years. In later life, the frequency may reduce to 12 or 6 months. This will be based on the accumulated data and inspection records.
Critical Elements for the crane include:
Cross travel cross beam lower flanges for damage or cracking and connections to end carriages
Manual crane control- joysticks or buttons, pendant or fixed- checked functionality, return to neutral function is operable.
When completing a Major Inspection AS 2550.1 requires that ‘a written report shall be furnished on completion of the inspection. A competent person shall assess the results with regard to risks and hazards associated with the crane’s current operation.’ This shall include a determination of the reasonable practicability of applying the current requirements of the AS 1418 series, in particular the following:
This is reinforced in AS 2550.1 which requires that a Major Inspection includes consideration of the current statutory safety regulations and standards.
The current Australian design standards for overhead cranes were released in 2002 (AS 1418.1) & 1997 (1418.3) so any crane manufactured before these dates were designed to different requirements. Common design requirements of the current standards which are not present in many older cranes include:
In addition to the above include,
Review current duty of crane and compare to original design and expected duty into future. This will determine scope of repairs or upgrades to existing equipment necessary to keep crane operational.
Review requirements of current design standard and determine whether modifications are appropriate to meet current standard.
The Australian Crane Standards (AS 1418 & AS 2550) only explicitly require load testing at commissioning. AS 1418.3. Section 12 Inspection & Commissioning requires the following tests be completed:
Note that AS 2550.3 requires a continuous working record of all significant events concerning the safety and operation of the crane be kept and shall be readily available. The commissioning test results are one of the most important documents that should be maintained by a crane owner/operator.
Clarification of the load testing requirement was provided by a Standards Australia Ruling SA RUL CR.1-2013 Rulings to cranes, hoists and winches which confirms that when testing the brake function under power failure that the test should be performed at the rated capacity and full speed. Using the emergency stop is only satisfactory if it sufficiently simulates the condition of power failure. No prescribed stopping distance is provided, only that the brake ‘shall be capable of bringing the fully loaded crane to rest, without shock, in the shortest possible distance consistent with safe working’.
A safety bulletin on power failure testing has also been issued by the WA Department of Mines & Petroleum.
Major Inspection or Repair
The Australian Crane Standards do not specifically require load testing as part of a Major Inspection. However AS 2550.3 requires that structural integrity, emergency functions and braking systems be checked. It is our opinion that a load test is an important test in validating these functions and mitigating the risk of their failure. The intent of the Major Inspection is effectively to recommission the crane so a comparable test regime should be completed and documented.
The Crane Industry Council of Australia’s Major Inspection Verification Plate Requirements includes at a minimum a 110% overload test to confirm brake holding capacity.
Again the Australian Crane Standards do not require load testing for an annual inspection.
A 100% load test is required as part of CraneSafe’s ‘Green Sticker’ Inspection. Our view is that a load test can be a valuable tool to mitigate risk and should be completed if practicable. However especially with larger capacity cranes an annual load test can introduce significant additional costs, where alternative risk mitigation methods may be more appropriate.
Load testing is a critical tool in ensuring crane safety. The load testing and documentation requirements of AS 1418.3 are comprehensive and our experience has been that the majority of overhead cranes we review do not have documentation to satisfy this requirement. Ensuring that a suitable load test program is completed and made available is one of the critical actions a crane owner can take to ensure their responsibilities under the OHS Act and Regulations are met.
Load tests are carried out
Major inspections are required under the following circumstances
Competency is listed in AS2550.1, Section 1.7 as saying ‘All activities required to be carried out under this Standard shall be carried out by a competent person (s). The million dollar question is ‘what defines a person as being competent?’ A ‘sister’ standard to AS2550 is AS1418, and in AS1418.1-2002, Section 1.4.2 it states that a Competent person is ‘A person who has acquired through training, qualification, experience or a combination of these, the knowledge and skill enabling that person to correctly perform the required task’.
An interpretation of this is that the company or employer must ensure that they have taken all reasonable steps to make sure that personnel who are performing work on overhead cranes have been adequately trained.
AS 1418.18 Section 9.3 recommends the following inspection frequency for runways and monorails:
The frequency of inspections is subject to variances in the extent of usage of the crane(s) and engineering judgement. Generally, in the first 6 years of the runway life there should be no problems. However, if a bad detail is present, then failure may occur very early on. Initial inspection frequency should not be greater than 2 years. In later life, the frequency may reduce to 12 or 6 months. This will be based on the accumulated data and inspection records.
AS 1418.18 9.2 states that the scope of inspection for runways and monorails should identify:
For a monorail the inspection should include inspection of the condition of:
AS 1418.18-5.12.6: Monorails shall be marked in a permanent manner with the following information:
Marking shall be of sufficient size to be legible from the working area below the beam.
When the rated capacity of a hoist is not matched to that of the beam, the hoist and the beam shall be marked with the lesser-rated capacity, as appropriate.
Serial Hoist inspection must be in accordance with the manufacturers’ recommendations. If that information is not available, then the inspection frequency and inspection scope shall be based on the requirements specified in AS2550.1.
AS2550.1 Section 1.4.15 states:
“NOTE: For the purpose of this definition, ‘independent’ means not employed by the same organisation unless that organisation uses a quality process that confirms independence.”