A vehicle loading crane (VLC) is a crane mounted on a vehicle for the purpose of loading and unloading that vehicle.
Several fatalities, serious injuries and extensive property damage have occurred on public roads as a result of stabilisers and/or outriggers on VLCs unintentionally extending during travel.
From 2013 to 2020, Workplace Health and Safety (WHSQ) developed and jointly operated the vehicle loading crane campaign with the Department of Transport and Main Roads (DTMR) and National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR), The campaign commenced to ensure VLC owners and operators complied with relevant work health and safety and road safety requirements and had adequate controls in place to manage the risk of manually operated stabilisers extending during travel.
As part of this ongoing campaign, inspectors from WHSQ and DTMR undertook enforcement action to address unmanaged VLC risks during on-road VLC inspections and assessments of VLC-related work systems. Compliance notices were issued and, in some cases, the use of VLCs was prohibited until suitable risk controls were implemented.
There were 1,054 VLCs intercepted and assessed, representing approximately one in ten of the estimated 10,000 VLCs operating on Queensland roads. WHSQ and DTMR took 489 enforcement actions against VLC operators and persons conducting a business or undertaking (PCBUs) with non-compliant VLCs during the campaign.
This report highlights the key issues identified for VLCs and the type of enforcement action taken and notices issued throughout the campaign.
VLCs without a secondary lock
Operators not competent to operate stabilisers
VLCs with damaged locks
Stabilisers not secured
Locking devices not effective
Alarms not fitted, or fitted but not working
WHSQ follow-ups after first assessment
Results and enforcement actions:
- 489 enforcements actions were taken against VLC operators and PCBUs
- 288 improvement notices were issued for unsafe stabiliser locking devices
- 40 prohibition notices were issued for VLCs with stabilisers unable to be secured due to defective locks
- 161 defect notices were issued by DTMR for non-compliant VLC stabilisers.
How you can ensure your vehicle loading crane is safe
- Have two separate locking devices for each stabiliser (primary and secondary), with at least one of these locking devices operating automatically (e.g. a spring-operated cam lock and an automatic spring latch).
- Have working locking devices – no faults.
- Have a secondary lock fitted if the VLC only has a primary lock.
- Have properly maintained stabilisers.
- Ensure your crane truck is only operated by competent persons.
- If fitted, ensure alarms and visual devices are working.
- It is strongly recommended to have visual and audible alarms in the cabin.
Further information on the safe use of vehicle loading cranes can be found in the:
- Vehicle loading crane stabiliser safety(Video)
- Vehicle loading cranes workshop 2019(Webinar)
- VLC safety alert
- Mobile Crane Code of Practice 2006 (PDF, 1.34 MB)
- Vehicle loading cranes self-assessment tool (PDF, 0.25 MB)
- Australian Standard, AS 2550.11: Cranes, hoists and winches - safe use Part 11: Vehicle-loading cranes.
Read more about high risk work licences or call us on 1300 362 128.