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Important Tips For Crane Inspections

Why Do Mobile Cranes Need To Be Maintained?

Mobile cranes need to be regularly maintained in order to access whether there are any faults, damage or deterioration that could lead to equipment failure during a lift. Preventative maintenance can also prevent expensive repairs by not allowing damage to deteriorate to a state.


Failure to properly maintain a mobile crane can create major risks for crew members and may even cause extensive property damage. Equipment failure can result in increased project costs and project timelines.


How Often Do Mobile Cranes Need To Be Inspected?

Mobile cranes require a number of different types of inspections to be carried out routinely and prior to operation. Each routine and pre-lift inspection will cover different elements of the crane’s functionality and parts.


Who Is Qualified To Inspect My Mobile Crane?

Most mobile cranes will fall under the classification of SP2 (truck-based or purpose-built mobile cranes). Examiners must be accredited under the Authorised Crane Inspection Scheme (ACIS) in order to inspect SP2 cranes. In order to hold an ACIS accreditation, the examiner must already hold a Heavy Vehicle Authorised Inspection Station (HVAIS) accreditation as a proprietor, nominee or examiner. Once accredited, ACIS inspectors can carry out inspections on-site in compliance with the rules and regulations outlined in the scheme.


The Types Of Mobile Crane Inspections

Every crane will undergo a series of inspections over its lifetime, ranging from daily pre-operational checks to a major inspection, which takes place according to the manufacturer’s recommendations.

Pre-operational Checks

Pre-operational checks are performed before the operation of the crane. This daily check is an essential safeguard to ensure the crane is safe to operate. Some of the areas which should be included in pre-operational checks include:

  • Administrative information (e.g. crane registration is up-to-date)

  • Signage and charts (e.g. warning placards in place)

  • Controls and indicators (e.g. fuel gauge and engine gauge)

  • Air, fluids, and their associated systems (e.g. engine oil level and battery oil level)

  • Safety items (e.g. fire extinguisher and counterweight)

  • Structural and operational items (e.g. telescoping boom and boom cylinders)


Monthly or Quarterly Routine Inspection

Routine inspections should be carried out quarterly or monthly, depending on the manufacturer’s recommendations. If the crane has not been used before the inspection period, it’s still important to carry out these routine inspections as the crane can deteriorate (e.g. corrosion and external damage) when not in use. Areas that should be included in the routine inspection include:

  • Crane functions and controls

  • Emergency and safety switches 

  • Lubrication 

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

  • Filters, fluid levels and leaks

  • Visual inspection and measurements of critical parts (e.g. brakes, gears, fasteners, pins, shafts, wire ropes, sheaves, locking devices and electrical contractors)

  • Signage (e.g. warning signs and control markings)

  • Wheels and tyres wear

  • Any other items nominated in the crane manufacturer’s handbook


Annual Inspection

An inspection should be carried out annually or in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. This inspection is less comprehensive and focuses on checking whether there are possible deterioration issues that may have been missed during the monthly and pre-operational inspections. Annual inspections include:

  • 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

Major Inspection

A major inspection should be carried out at the end of the crane’s operational lifespan (designated by the manufacturer) or at least every 10 years from when the crane was first commissioned. This determines whether the crane is still safe to operate by inspecting the structure and mechanical components of the crane. Some of the components that may be included in a major inspection include:

  • Drive train and suspension 

  • Slew ring and bolts

  • Hook rollers

  • Drive systems

  • Control systems

  • Braking systems

  • Electrical systems

  • Hydraulic systems cylinders (e.g. outrigger cylinders)

  • Booms

  • Safety devices (e.g. rated capacity limiters and load indicators)

  • Outriggers

  • Steel wire ropes and sheaves


What To Check During Mobile Crane Maintenance?

The pre-operational, monthly/quarterly, annual and major inspections check different components and functionalities. Pre-operational checks include items that are essential to the daily function of the cranes (e.g. adequate fuel and engine oil, registration and safety features are functional). The monthly and quarterly inspections will check for faults and issues that are likely to arise over a slightly longer period of time (e.g. tyre conditions and components are lubricated). Annual inspections identify signs of long-term deterioration and damage (e.g. cracking, corrosion and structural wear). While major inspections are conducted to ensure the crane structure and mechanical components (e.g. control, drive, breaking, electrical and hydraulic systems) are in a condition, where the crane can still be safely operated.


At St George Cranes, we take the condition and maintenance of our mobile cranes seriously. We ensure our crane fleet is well-maintenance at all times for optimum safety and efficiency. If you’re looking to hire a mobile crane in Sydney contact St George Cranes today.


Date posted: August 8, 2022 | St George Cranes