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Cranes

A crane is any appliance intended for raising or lowering a load and moving it horizontally, including the supporting structure of the crane and its foundations, including:

  • tower cranes
  • self-erecting tower cranes
  • derrick cranes
  • portable boom cranes
  • bridge and gantry cranes
  • vehicle loading cranes
  • non-slewing mobile cranes
  • slewing mobile cranes
  • material hoists
  • personnel hoists.

Note, the following items of plant are not considered cranes under the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (PDF, 833 KB) and are not subject to the requirements below:

  • industrial lift trucks
  • earthmoving machinery
  • amusement devices
  • tractors
  • industrial robots
  • conveyors
  • building maintenance equipment
  • suspended scaffolding
  • lifts.

Cranes and mechanical lifting gear are used to handle excessively heavy loads and, as such, create the potential for serious injury or death. Common risks associated with cranes and lifting equipment include:

  • falling objects (e.g. materials, components) due to plant or equipment failure or operator error
  • operators falling while accessing the crane or performing maintenance
  • plant rollovers or collapse in the event of a structural failure.

Legislation

The following Queensland codes of practice provide guidance on managing the risks associated with specific types of cranes:

The specific legislative requirements that apply generally to all plant and mobile plant are listed here. The table below lists only the legislative requirements that apply specifically to cranes.

Specific legislative requirements for cranes

Plant that lifts and suspends loads

The person with management or control of the plant at a workplace must ensure that the plant used is specifically designed to lift or suspend the load or, if that is not reasonably practicable, that the plant does not cause a greater risk to health and safety than if specifically designed plant were used.

Additional requirements apply for plant not specifically designed to lift or suspend a person

Work Health and Safety Regulation 2011 (PDF, 2.53 MB)  

Plant not specifically designed to lift or suspend a person

The person with management or control of plant at a workplace must ensure that:

  • persons are lifted or suspended in a work box that is securely attached to the plant
  • the persons within the work box remain substantially within the work box
  • if there is a risk of a fall from a height, that a safety harness is work, and
  • a means of safe exit is provided in the event of a failure in its normal operation

WHS Regulation 2011, s219

Safe work method statements

Safe work method statements are required for all high risk construction work, including any construction work that:

  • involves a risk of a person falling 2 metres or more
  • is carried out on or near energised electrical installations or services
  • is carried out in an area in which there is the movement of powered mobile plant.

WHS Regulation 2011, s291 and s299

High risk work licence

The use of the following types of crane and lifting equipment is defined as high risk work and requires users to be appropriately licensed:

  • tower crane
  • self-erection tower crane
  • derrick crane
  • portal boom crane
  • bridge and gantry crane
  • vehicle loading crane
  • non-slewing mobile crane
  • slewing mobile crane (note, there are different licence types based on lifting capacity)
  • materials hoist
  • personnel hoist.

View more information about obtaining a high risk work licence for the use of concrete placement booms

WHS Regulation 2011, s81 and schedule 3 – High risk work licences and classes of high risk work

Notifiable incidents

The collapse or failure of an excavation or of any shoring supporting an excavation is a dangerous incident and must be notified to Workplace Health and Safety Queensland.

View additional information about the notification of dangerous incidents, including the notification form

Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (PDF, 833 KB), s35, s36, s37, s38 and s39

Registration of plant designs

Certain types of crane and lifting equipment require registration of their design with Workplace Health and Safety Queensland:

  • tower cranes
  • self-erecting tower cranes
  • hoists with a platform movement exceeding 2.4 metres and designed to lift people
  • workboxes designed to be suspended from cranes
  • gantry cranes with a safe working load greater than 5 tonnes
  • bridge cranes with a safe working load of greater than 10 tonnes
  • any bridge or gantry crane that is designed to handle molten metal or a hazardous chemical listed in schedule 11 of the WHS Regulation 2011
  • vehicle hoists
  • mobile cranes with a rated capacity greater than 10 tonnes.

Exceptions to the requirement to register the plant design include cranes or hoists that are manually powered and tow trucks.

View information about registering plant designs

WHS Regulation 2011, s243 and schedule 5 – Registration of plant and plant designs

Registration of plant

Certain types of crane and lifting equipment require registration with Workplace Health and Safety Queensland:

  • tower cranes
  • self-erecting tower cranes
  • mobile cranes with a rated capacity of greater than 10 tonnes.

Note, plant registration requirements are in addition to plant design registration requirements.

View information about registering plant

WHS Regulation 2011, s246 and schedule 5 – Registration of plant and plant designs

Last updated
02 May 2017

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