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Tower crane

Compliance campaign 2005 report

Workplace Health and Safety Queensland


March 2006

Executive summary
Between July and August 2005 a compliance campaign focusing on safety in the tower
crane industry in Queensland was undertaken by Workplace Health and Safety
Queensland. In total, 108 audits of tower cranes on construction sites across the state
were undertaken. In addition to the enforcement activity associated with unsafe cranes
and their use, tower crane operators were interviewed and asked about a number of
key safety issues. At the end of the compliance campaign a total of 343 individual noncompliance items were identified in relation to safety. As a result, 94 directions were
issued to obligation holders.
The tower crane compliance campaign has identified the following as key safety issues
requiring attention:

safe access on cranes.

crane condition and safety features.

crane safety documentation.

crane customer input.

operator training and competence.

Responses from the crane industry indicate the tower crane compliance campaign has
been a success. As a result of the actions of inspectors during the compliance
campaign, safety associated with tower cranes has achieved a greater profile.
Significant data has also been collected through the tower crane operator survey
administered during the compliance campaign, which will allow the industry and
government in partnership to plan future safety improvements.

1. Table of contents

Section

Page

Introduction

Background

Strategy

Results

Discussion

13

Conclusions

18

Recommendations

20

Appendix 1 - Tower crane audit checklist


Appendix 2 - Tower crane audit issues
(cranes used at construction sites)
Appendix 3 Tower Crane audit: operator
questionnaire

Introduction
Between July and August 2005 a compliance campaign targeting tower cranes was
undertaken by Workplace Health and Safety Queensland (WHSQ). In the two months
prior to this, a compliance campaign focusing on mobile cranes was also undertaken
by WHSQ. Both crane compliance campaigns were in response to an increasing
number of serious crane incidents in Queensland and form part of a WHSQ strategy to
reduce the number of these incidents.
During the tower crane compliance campaign 108 tower cranes around the state were
audited by WHSQ inspectors and the results of this compliance campaign are included
in this report. In addition to the application of compliance instruments, the compliance
campaign also included interviewing tower crane operators to gain greater insight into
the safety issues related to this industry. A number of conclusions and
recommendations relating to the tower crane industry are included in this report.

Background
Cranes are an integral part of construction work in Queensland. This is particularly
evident in the commercial construction sector, where the construction of multi-storey
structures is achieved through the extensive use of tower cranes. The construction of
larger, more complex structures has only been possible through the development of
larger, more complex cranes.
Since the late 1990s there has been a boom in Queensland construction and a
proliferation of cranes of all types and configurations. All types of cranes used in the
construction industry are being exposed to more frequent and sustained use than ever
before. There has also been a corresponding increase in serious crane incidents.
Table 1 shows the number of crane incidents from the beginning of 1999 through to
August 2005.
Period

1999

2000

2001

2002

2003

2004

2005
(up to
20
August )

*Number of
Qld crane
incidents

10

12

15

12

20

23

Total
100
*Reported to Workplace Health and Safety Queensland
Table 1: Total number of serious crane incidents in Queensland, 1999
20 August 2005

At the time of writing this report, most crane incidents reported to WHSQ have not
resulted in fatalities or serious injury to persons. This fact should not signal
complacency within industry. Due to their physical size and mass, and their propensity
to be used in built up areas, any adverse event has the potential to result in a
catastrophic outcome.
From the events notified to WHSQ, the total number of serious crane incidents for both
mobile and tower cranes can be further broken down into incident types as indicated
by Table 2 below.

Incident type

Number of incidents

Percentage of total

Crane overturn
(mobile cranes only)

44

44%

Contact with overhead


power lines

20

20%

8%

13

13%

Crane collapse or
structural damage

15

15%

Total

100

100%

Falling object

Other types of
operational incidents not
included above

Table 2: Queensland crane incident types, 1999 20 August 2005


(Compliance and Investigation System data base - CIS)
The Construction Industry Action Plan 2004 2007 highlights cranes as one of the
areas in the construction industry requiring intervention by WHSQ. Cranes used in the
construction industry predominantly fall into two categories - mobile cranes and tower
cranes. As there are a number of fundamental differences in the nature of hazards
within the tower crane and mobile crane industries, a separate compliance campaign
was conducted for each sector. This report solely references the tower crane
compliance campaign. The report of the mobile crane compliance campaign can be
accessed at www.dir.qld.gov.au.

Strategy
Audit criteria
Incident data on cranes reported to WHSQ indicates that operational issues are one of
the primary causes of crane incidents in Queensland. In recognition of this information,
the compliance campaign addressed operational issues in addition to the condition and
safety features of the crane itself. Items to be audited were divided into two primary
groups: the crane itself and the crane use. Tower cranes were inspected at
construction sites whilst involved in actual crane operations.
For the actual crane, the key issues for consideration were:

structural integrity boom, tower, A-frame, slew ring bolts, welding etc
foundation integrity traditional crane bases and self erecting crane support
mechanical integrity drive systems, wire ropes, hydraulic systems etc
safety systems load indicators, rated capacity limiters, limit
switches etc
documentation load chart, operators manual, maintenance records and log book.

For crane operations, the key operational issues for consideration were:

crane set up proximity to overhead power lines


crane proximity to persons (crushing and falling object risk)
crane crew certification operator and dogger
crane loading (including load chart interpretation).

An audit checklist was developed for the compliance campaign to reflect both crane
and crane use issues and a copy is included in Appendix 1.
The following Australian Standards were used as a reference for the audit criteria
employed during the compliance campaign:
AS 1418.4 Cranes, hoists and winches - Tower cranes
AS 2550.1 Crane, hoists and winches - Safe use: General requirements
AS 2550.4 Safe use: Tower cranes.
In addition, the WHSQ document, Tower Crane Industry Compliance Guidelines
dated 28 June 2005, was used by inspectors (see Appendix 2). This document
provides guidance on a number of key safety issues associated with tower cranes and
also indicates benchmarks that are to be applied to older crane models manufactured
before the current series of Australian Standards. It should be noted that Queensland
workplace health and safety legislation is not retrospective and not all current
requirements in Australian Standards can be applied to older cranes. However, in a
number of high risk situations the principles are applied to older cranes. An example is
the provision of rated capacity limiters on tower cranes, in comparison to load
indicators that only provide the operator with an indication of how much load is
suspended on the hook. Due to high level of risk associated with the operation of tower

cranes, rated capacity limiters have been a standard feature of tower cranes operating
in Queensland for a number of years.
A goal of 96 state-wide tower crane installations was nominated and the audits were
carried out on building and construction sites. Based on plant registration statistics,
there were approximately 180 tower cranes in use in Queensland at the time of the
compliance campaign. The final sample size of 108 therefore equates to more than 50
percent of all tower cranes in Queensland, and provides an accurate indication of the
safety performance of the tower crane industry.
Crane operator questionnaire
Most safety initiatives carried out by regulatory authorities tend to focus on the
workplace health and safety inspectors observations, relating to both plant and work
systems. While such information is important, feedback from workers in the industry
can also be invaluable. Therefore the tower crane compliance campaign also obtained
feedback from the crane operators about their views on crane incidents they were
aware of. This is considered an important tool because crane operators as a group
have a wealth of knowledge regarding the culture and constraints that have an impact
on safety in this industry. A questionnaire was developed which, in addition to
obtaining data on the views of operators, also obtained crucial information with respect
to the experience of, and training received, by crane operators (see Appendix 3).
Inspectors
A total of 12 WHSQ inspectors were involved across the state. Inspectors were
selected based on their competency and knowledge of the tower crane industry and
their ability. This was supported by an extensive information and learning session
delivered by in-house technical and construction experts. The following subject matter
was canvassed:

crane design standards

maintaining consistency of
approach

crane maintenance

appropriate enforcement tools

crane use

campaign reporting systems.

campaign audit tools

Reporting and technical support


The compliance campaign was scheduled to run for six weeks and commenced on 4
July 2005. At the end of each two-week period, compliance campaign report summary
sheets were forwarded to the Construction Strategy Group (CSG). In addition,
inspector directions such as improvement notice information was entered into the
WHSQ electronic reporting system and the results were collated by the CSG.
During the compliance campaign, continuous technical and procedural support was
provided to field inspectors, both by representatives of the Technology Services Unit
and the Construction Strategy Group. This support was both verbal and written and
also included a number of joint visits on crane audits.
Industry consultation and support
Extensive consultation was undertaken before the compliance campaign commenced.
WHSQ held a number of information sessions with both the tower crane industry and
the building and construction industry.
As a result of this consultation, the tower crane owners involved in the consultation
welcomed and actively supported the proposed compliance campaign. This comment
is reinforced by the fact that very few complaints were received by these participants
during the compliance campaign. Additionally, employer and union representatives
were also consulted on the proposed compliance campaign and they also actively
supported, through their newsletters etc, the promotion of the compliance campaign.
WHSQ intends to build on this working relationship and will consult with these groups
when future opportunities are presented.

Results
Compliance issues
A total of 108 tower cranes were audited across the state. Table 3 shows the total
number of cranes audited and non-compliances for the various regions in Queensland.
Region

North
Queensland
Wide Bay
(incl.
Sunshine
Coast)
Brisbane
North
Brisbane
South (incl.
Gold Coast)
South West

Total

Noted nonDirections issued


compliances*
Improve Prohibition

No.
audits
targeted

No.
audits
carried
out

30

14

14

17

34

10

36

42

154

32

34

35

112

31

13

96

108

343

89

Table 3: Total number of cranes audited and non-compliances identified.

As demonstrated in the above table, a total of 343 non-compliances were recorded


during the compliance campaign.
The highest level of non-compliance was in the area of access issues at 28.5 percent
and is closely followed by safety features at 26.5 %. Table 4 includes a breakdown for
all non-compliance issues reported. The non-compliance issues listed in Table 4 are
issues set out in the Tower Crane Audit Checklist employed during the campaign
(see Appendix 1).

* Noted non-compliance describes the number of non-compliance issues with respect to the audit
criteria used during the compliance visits. Each noted non-compliance did not necessarily result in an
inspector issuing a written direction because the non-compliance may have been remedied during the
visit.

ACCESS

A-frame access

OPERATIONAL
ISSUES
Proximity other plant

SAFETY
FEATURES
Crane cabin

CRANE
DOCUMENTATION
Documentation

9.9%

8.8%

4.2%

11.8%

12.6%

ladders
platform
condition

Tower access

type
corrosion
torque

9.3%

Other structural/
mechanical

Machine deck
access

hydraulic leaks
general
lubrication
- counterweight
bolts
Rope sheaves

2.4%

ladders
platform
condition

Other access
-

3.3%
-

boom
saddle bag

condition
rotation
wear
pads/rollers
rope keeper
bar

provided
suitable

Load handling

- sling type
- sling condition
- wind effect
Power lines

1.8%

5.7%

ladders
platform
condition

6%

STRUCTURAL AND
MECHANICAL
Bolt

Controls & limits

7.5%
-

1%
-

seating
visibility
noise
fire extinguisher
clean (not
slippery)

location
control measures

Operator and dogger


issues

0.3%

correctly labelled
operable
deadman levers
and pedals
radius gauge
boom angle
indicator
hoist limit
luff (upper limit)

Rated capacity limiter

operators
manual(Engl
ish)
- NDT reports
- logbook
provided
- commission
report
- major
inspect-10yr
load charts

3.6%
-

supplied
correct for
crane
comply with
AS 1418
legible and
in English
visible

4.5%

Crane structure

2.1%

straightness
deformation
cracks
corrosion
welds
play

operable
calibrated
cut out
operational

Guarding

2.7%
-

Ropes

sheaves
exists
adequate

1.6%
-

damage
wear
lubrication

Pins (jib, etc)

0.9%
-

located
split pins
wear

ACCESS

STRUCTURAL AND
MECHANICAL

OPERATIONAL
ISSUES

SAFETY
FEATURES

CRANE
DOCUMENTATION

Total : 28.5 %

Total: 21.5 %

Total: 7.3 %

Total: 26.5 %

Total: 16.2 %

Table 4: Breakdown of non-compliance issues


During the campaign inspectors recorded data on the characteristics of the cranes
including basic crane type and crane age. The percentages of different crane types

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audited are included in Table 5. To simplify the data, the age of cranes audited has
been divided up into seven different categories ranging from less than one year old to
more than 25 years old. This information is depicted in Table 6.
Region

No. tower
cranes
audited

Breakdown of tower crane types

Luffing

North
Queensland

Non-luffing
(hammerhead)

Self erecting

17

11

42

18

20

35

18

17

108

47

54

Wide Bay (incl.


Sunshine
Coast)
Brisbane North

Brisbane South
(incl. Gold Coast)
South West

Total

Table 5: Breakdown of tower crane types audited

Crane age

Percentage

Less than 1 year

9%

2 5 years

6%

6-10 years

11 %

11-15 years

12 %

16 20

24 %

21 25

12 %

More than 25 years

26 %

Table 6: Age of tower cranes audited

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Tower crane operator questionnaire


A total of 97 completed tower crane operator questionnaires were returned to the
Construction Strategy Group. This number is less than the total number of total crane
audits performed because in some cases the operation of the crane could not be
interrupted and the operator could not be interviewed.
The findings of the questionnaire are included in the Discussion section of this report.

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Discussion
The information gathered during the tower crane compliance campaign provides
insight into the nature of the industry and key safety obstacles that exist. This section
of the report discusses compliance issues and the results of the survey questionnaire.

Compliance issues
A total of 343 non-compliances were recorded during the compliance campaign.
Feedback received from inspectors during the campaign alluded to the poor condition
of some tower cranes in the industry. This comment often focused on the older tower
cranes in service.
To assist in drawing conclusions from the data, it is necessary to group the noncompliance issues into major groups and this is illustrated in Figure 1.
Tower crane non compliance

Percentage
35
30

28.5

26.5

21.5

25

16.2

20
15
7.3

10
5
0
Access

Structural &
Mechanical

Operational
Issues

Safety Features

Crane
Documentation

Issue

Figure 1: Breakdown of tower crane non-compliances issues

The highest level of non-compliance was in the area of access issues at 28.5 percent.
Access issues related to a number of areas including tower, machine deck, A-frame
and boom access. Many of the cranes audited were manufactured in the 1960s and
early 1970s when safety features on ladders and platforms, such as guardrails and
landings, were simply not provided by the crane designer and manufacturer. The
ability of workers not to fall to their death was largely left up to their skill and not being
in the wrong place at the wrong time. Over the last three decades safety standards
have progressively improved and additional features have been added to the access
systems. However, the additions have often been less than ideal and have not been
consistent from crane to crane. The results of the tower crane campaign illustrate this
later point.

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Most of the newer tower cranes have excellent safety provisions on ladders and
platforms and require very little reliance on fall arrest systems. However, one
exception to this general rule is on tower cranes with narrow, slender towers. Some of
these do not have adequate room for the ladders to be staggered such that ladder
landings will prevent a person falling for more than 4 to 6 metres. Instead these
cranes have continuous vertical ladders and it is feasible that a person could fall for the
entire length of the tower. Considering that the total fall distance could be in excess of
40 metres, there would be very little chance of a person surviving such a fall. Some
tower crane manufacturers and owners have attempted to remedy this issue by
providing trapdoors at landings to limit a persons fall. However, trapdoors are
unacceptable in this application for the following reasons:
1. Trapdoors can increase the risk of a person falling off the ladder because
they regularly require the person to hold the trapdoor open as they are
climbing or descending the ladder.
2. A closed trapdoor can impede the rescue of a person from the tower crane.
This is especially the case if the worker is unconscious on top of a closed
trapdoor.
3. Persons climbing a tower may be tempted to leave the trapdoors open and
hence will not reduce the potential fall distance.
In view of the above, trapdoors should not be provided in tower crane towers, except at
the crane cabin. Where there is no alternative for a continuous vertical ladder to be
provided on a tower crane, vertical rail or steel wire rope fall arrest systems may be
used. These systems lock in the event of a person falling from a ladder and only
permit a minimal free fall distance (i.e. less than 600 mm).
The next key area of non-compliance is related to the provision and operation of safety
features, and this makes up 26.5 percent of the total. Included within safety features
is the provision of indicators, motion limiters and crane controls. While the newer,
state of the art, tower cranes have comprehensive operating and monitoring systems
the safety features in older cranes are more prone to breakdown and malfunction.
While some older tower cranes are maintained in excellent condition and have been
upgraded with newer control systems, this is generally not the case. This serves as
a reminder to the tower crane industry to ensure safety features are both provided on
the cranes and their continued operation is monitored.
Structural and mechanical issues accounted for 21.5 percent of the total number of
non-compliances. A large proportion of the structural and mechanical issues applied to
hydraulic oil leaks and corrosion on the towers and booms of the cranes. In some
cases it appears that the tower cranes have been sent from job to job without being
sent back to the crane yard for adequate inspection and maintenance. It should be
noted that the time that a tower crane can be located on site may be in excess of two
years in some situations, although the average is generally about 10 months. Most
examples of structural and mechanical non-compliances were not enough to justify
stopping the operation of the crane. However, the results of the compliance campaign
demonstrate there is a need for the industry to ensure structural components and
hydraulic systems are regularly checked and maintained.

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Figure 1 shows that crane documentation issues accounted for 16.2 percent of noncompliance. Crane documentation includes commissioning paperwork, non-destructive
testing records for critical crane components and 10 year major inspection reports.
While the percentage is not particularly high, it indicates that there is room for
improvement in this area and not all crane owners are applying the safety inspection
instructions of the crane manufacturer and Australian Standard AS 2550. In particular,
there was a lack of 10 year major inspection reports on some of the older tower
cranes.
Operational issues had a relatively low percentage (7.3 %). When taken at face value,
this is not consistent with the data in Table 2, which indicates that most crane incidents
in Queensland are attributed to operational issues. However, it must be noted that the
data in Table 2 applies to both mobile and tower cranes. In the case of mobile cranes,
most incidents relate to operational issues and specifically to incidents where the
mobile crane has overturned. Tower cranes are nearly always anchored to their
supporting structure and instances of the tower crane overturning are extremely rare.
Incidents with tower cranes are more likely to relate to non-operational issues, such as
mechanical failure or malfunction of a safety system. The low percentage of noncompliances relating to operational issues during the tower crane compliance
campaign is therefore reasonable.
The data obtained on tower crane age is of interest. The data on crane age has been
categorised into three main groups and these are illustrated in Figure 2. Only 15
percent of tower cranes audited are less than 6 years old. A large percentage (62%)
of cranes are more than 15 years old. Of this latter group, Table 6 shows that 26
percent of cranes audited are more than 25 years old. This group is mainly made up
of the Favco type hydraulic luffing cranes manufactured during the 1960s. The
sample size of more than 100 cranes audited shows that this data gives an accurate
picture of the age of tower cranes operating in Queensland. The information illustrates
the need for increasing levels of maintenance on older cranes. While the older tower
cranes have given many years of safe operation, some of these cranes are beginning
to show their age and are nearing the end of their practical design life. While it is
possible to upgrade the older cranes by replacing mechanical and structural
components, this option is becoming increasingly impractical with the introduction of
newer, more sophisticated tower cranes.

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Tower Crane Age

15%

23%
62%

under 5 years

6 to 15 years

over 15 years

Figure 2: Tower crane age

Tower crane operator survey questionnaire


As previously mentioned in this report, the tower crane operator survey questionnaire
has provided invaluable information that would not have been obtained if the campaign
had only been compliance focused. Two important issues that the questionnaire has
highlighted are the concern over tower crane customers and perceived crane crew
competency in the tower crane industry. One of the questions operators were asked
was:
What do you believe is the main reason for the increase of crane incidents over the
last few years?
The answers to the question are graphically shown in Figure 3 of this report.
The largest percentage of responses to the question above relate to tower crane
customers. The following three responses accounted for 47 percent of all responses:

Pressure from customers to complete jobs quickly - 35%

Pressure from customers to complete jobs with the wrong size or type of crane - 10%

Customers providing poor set up areas for the crane - 2%

Total: 47%

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The combined total of customer related issues (47%) indicates that this is an extremely
important issue that needs addressing. It demonstrates operators concerns that they
consider customers not only have a poor understanding of safe crane operation but
that crane customers are also applying considerable pressure to the tower crane
industry to get the job done without considering the correct type of crane for the task.
The second most common response to the above question was lack of experienced
operators in the industry and accounted for nearly one in five responses. This was
followed by the statement operators dont receive adequate training (12%). Both of
these responses relate to operator competency and when combined (31%), it is
evident these issues are one of tower crane operators primary concerns and deserve
further consideration.
The large percentage of responses relating to operator competency also helps to
dispel the misconception that operators do not care about the safety performance of
their industry. The response is an excellent indication of the candidness of the crane
operators and, more importantly, their desire for the level of operator competency to be
raised and consequently, safety within the industry increased.
What do you believe is the main reason for ther increase of crane incidents over the last few years?
40
35
35

30

Percentage

25
19

20

15
12
10

10

6
5
1

0
Lack of
Large amount
of work in the experienced
crane industry operators in
the industry

Operators
dont receive
adequate
training

The wrong Other reason


Cranes are Pressure from Pressure from Customers
customers to customers to providing poor type of crane
becoming
more difficult complete jobs complete jobs set-up areas being used for
the job
with the wrong for the crane
quickly
to operate
type or size of
crane
Range of responses

Figure 3: Responses to operator question main reason for incident increase

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Conclusions
The tower crane compliance campaign was successful for the following reasons:

The campaign has enhanced the safety of the industry by improving the safety
of tower cranes themselves and the safety systems associated with crane use.

The data received, particularly from the tower crane operator survey
questionnaire, has given an excellent indication of where further attention is
required in this industry to help reduce the potential for future crane incidents.

The increased profile of Workplace Health and Safety Queensland inspectors


has served as an incentive for crane owners, crane crews and principal
contractors to make safety improvements in this industry.

A number of specific safety issues have been raised by the campaign. While the tower
crane industry in general is safety conscious, there are a number of areas where
improvement can be made. The key areas below summarise the most important issues
highlighted by the campaign.
Safe access on cranes: safe means of access on tower cranes is required for a
variety of workers including operators, maintenance workers and crane erection crews.
The latest tower cranes generally provide a very high level of safety in relation to falls
from heights issues and a very low reliance on personal fall arrest equipment (i.e.
safety harnesses). However, many of the older tower cranes have relatively poor
access systems and require a high reliance on fall arrest equipment, particularly for
maintenance and crane erection crews. In addition, some of the newer tower cranes
with slender towers have poor access provisions on the tower ladders. There is a
need for continual improvement on access provisions in the tower crane industry.
Crane condition and safety features: Limiting and indicating devices on a
considerable number of older cranes were either not operational or required
calibration. A large percentage of older cranes also had hydraulic leaks, rusted
structural components, and worn mechanical parts. In some relatively rare situations,
it appears that the tower cranes have been sent from job to job without being sent back
to the crane yard for adequate inspection and maintenance. There is an ongoing
requirement for tower crane owners to ensure their cranes are supplied with all
relevant safety features required by Australian Standards and to ensure that cranes
are regularly and adequately maintained.
Crane safety documentation: Crane documentation on some tower cranes was
found to be lacking. This included, commissioning paperwork, non-destructive testing
records and 10 year major inspection reports. While the percentage is not particularly
high, it indicates that there is room for improvement in this area and not all crane
owners are applying the safety inspection instructions of the crane manufacturer and
Australian Standard AS 2550. Particular improvement is required in the area of 10
year major inspection reports. This issue has been addressed in recent amendments
to the Workplace Health and Safety Regulation 1997. The Regulation require the
mandatory submission of a yearly statement from tower crane owners stating the
crane has been inspection and maintained so as to be in safe condition. Further
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amendments to the Regulation, due to take effect in February 2007, will prescribe 10
yearly major inspections for tower cranes and these are to be overseen by a
Professional Engineer. The Tower Crane Code of Practice will provide further
guidance on this issue.
Crane customer input: 48 percent of crane operators consider that crane customers,
including principal contractors, have had a direct influence on the increase in crane
incidents in Queensland. This feedback indicates that the issue requires further
investigation and that crane customers may be unknowingly contributing to crane
incidents. It is considered that the construction industry requires further education
regarding the safe operation of cranes and the need to comply with guidance provided
by the crane owner and operator.
Operator training and competence: Crane operators have highlighted the need for
improving their competency as a group and consider this to be a major factor in the
increase of crane incidents. It is considered that training systems, in addition to those
addressed by the National Certification System, need to be introduced in the crane
industry. This issue has already been identified by both the Tower Crane and the
Mobile Crane Code of Practice Reference Groups and the codes identify the need for
both familiarisation and refresher training of crane operators. It should also be noted
that recent amendments to the Workplace Health and Safety Regulation 1997
prescribe a separate, specific type of tower crane certificate for operators of self
erecting tower cranes.
Workplace Health and Safety Queensland greatly appreciated the support of the tower
crane industry and welcomes future industry cooperation to promote a safer industry.

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Recommendations
A number of recommendations have been provided in the Mobile Crane Compliance
Campaign 2005 Report, previously prepared by WHSQ. These recommendations
generally apply to both the mobile and tower crane industries and have largely been
implemented. In view of this the only recommendation remaining to be implemented is
as follows:

The level of understanding of tower crane customers, with respect to safe crane
operation, be investigated to determine if there is a deficiency in this area. If this
is the case, it is recommended that an effective education initiative be
undertaken.

It should be noted that the Mobile Crane Compliance Campaign 2005 Report includes
an identical recommendation to the above. The strategy to address both
recommendations can apply to both the tower crane and mobile crane industries.
It is intended that WHSQ will enter into discussion with all parties within the industry
with the intention of implementing the recommendation above.

Appendices

1. Tower crane audit checklist


2. Tower Crane Industry Compliance Guidelines
3. Tower Crane blitz Operator questionnaire

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APPENDIX 1

Tower Crane Audit Checklist

CRANE

One checklist per crane set-up


Crane Details:

Date:

Item

Inspector:

Time:

(3) Ropes (or luff rams)

(1) Type
(luffing, hammerhead,
self erector)
Manufacturer & model

Comments

Hoist

a) condition
b) lubrication

Serial No.

Luff/trolley (or luff rams)

No. of towers

c) condition

Boom length

d) lubrication

Location & builder

Counterweight

(2) Manufacture date

e) condition

Plant Reg No.

f) lubrication

Crane owner

(4) Pins
Crane Driver

Cert. No.

a) Correctly located

Dogger

Cert. No.

b) Split pins
c) Cheek plates
(where required)

d) Wear
1

Item

(7) Bolts

Comments

Tower

(5) Crane structure


(Deformation, rust, damage, etc)

a) Tightened

a) Tower
b) Correct type
Slew ring

b) Boom

c) Tightened
c) A-frame
d) All of one type
e) Washers

(6) Rope sheaves & wear


pads
a) Condition

(8) Counterweights

b) Sheaves rotate

a) Fixed will not


sway

c) Wear pads/rollers
(boom/jib protection)

b) Moving connecting
bolts

d) Rope keeper bar/plate


on sheaves

(9) Other structural/mech


e) Bar clearance correct
a) Anti cavitation
b) Fluid leaks
c) Hook latch

(10) Guarding
areas)

(accessible

(13) Limiters
a) Hoist limiter

a) Provided
b) Trolley limiter
b) Fixed
c) Luff limiter &
buffers

(11) Load indicator & Rated


capacity limiter

(14) Crane cabin


a) Seating

a) Load indicator
operational

b) Visibility
b) Load indicator
calibrated

c) Noise

c) Cut-off operates

d) Fire extinguisher

d) Other means of
verifying cut-off

e) Controls labelled

(known weight older self


erectors)

f) Controls deadman
(15) Load charts

(12) Other indicators


a) Provided
a) Radius indicator
b) Displayed
b) Height indicator
(where required)

c) Legible

c) Wind indicator

(16) Tower access

(20) Boom/jib access

a) Ladders

a) Walkway

b) Fall risk controlled

b) Static line

c) Platform guardrail

c) Trolley platform
(larger hammerheads)

d) External fall control


(17) Machine deck access

(21) NDT

a) Edge protection
a) Boom crack testing
b) Clean
b) Chord thickness
c) Trip hazards
c) Slew ring bolts
(18) A-frame access
d) Tower bolts
a) Ladder cage
e) Other NDT
b) Ladder
(22) Other Documentation

c) Trapdoor opens

a) Base drawing

d) Edge protection

b) Logbook provided
complete

(19) Saddle bag access


a) Ladder access

c) Plant registration
b) Guardrail
d) Commissioning
documentation
4

(25) Power lines

CRANE USE

a) Documented system to
prevent contact

(23) Load handling and


slings
a) Load balanced

b) Clearances adequate
(during audit)

b) Slings adequate
capacity

c) Safety observer
(where required)

c) Slings correct type

d) If warning devices
(adequate reliability)

d) Sling condition
(26) Wind (if greater than 15
m/s used on site)

e) Slings tagged
f) Sling hooks

a) Written procedures

g) Materials restrained

b) Co-ordinator listed
(27) Crane climbing

(24) Proximity to other


plant/structures

a) Procedures exist

a) Documented system to
prevent collision

b) Risks addressed

b) Operator okay with


system

(28) Personnel issues

c) Co-ordinator listed

a) Adequate number

d) If warning devices

b) Communication

(adequate reliability)
5

APPENDIX 2

Workplace Health and Safety Queensland


Tower Crane Industry Compliance Guidelines
28/6/2005
Section

Page

Introduction

2
Structural and mechanical issues

Rope wear
Pivot pin wear Luffing cranes
Structural damage, modifications & repairs
Pin restraint Provision & use
Correct towers in use Favcos & Favelles
Correct towers in use Liebherrs
Tower bolts - Torque
Tower bolts - Identification
Slew ring bolts - Torque
Indicators and motion limiters
Load indicators: Non-self erecting tower cranes
Load indicators: Self erecting tower cranes
Rated capacity limiters: All tower cranes
Radius indicator
Hook height indicators
Wind speed indicators (anemometer)
Upper hoist limit
Luffing buffers & limit switches Rope luffing tower
cranes
Trolley limits all tower cranes with horizontal jibs
Access issues
Tower ladders: Non-self erecting tower cranes
Tower ladders: Self erecting tower cranes
Internal guardrail on tower landings
External fall protection (primarily older Liebherr towers)
Guardrail on machine deck & A-frame platform
A-frame ladder cage
Saddle bag access Favcos
Crane jib access: Non-self erecting tower cranes
Non-destructive testing
Boom crack testing: All non-self erecting booms
Boom crack testing Favco & Favelle booms
Band brakes Favcos
Chord thickness testing all tower cranes lattice booms
Slew ring bolts - NDT
Tower bolts
1

3
3
4
5
6
7
7
8
8
9
9
9
10
10
10
11
11
12
12
13
13
14
14
15
15
16
17
17
18
18
18
19

Other documentation
Design and plant registration
Crane base certification
Verification of tower bolt torque Liebherrs
Commissioning documentation All tower cranes
Operational Issues
Cabin glass
Operational wind speed
Avoiding collision
Proximity to overhead power lines

19
19
20
20
21
21
21
22

Note: this document does not discuss all safety issues on tower cranes
Introduction
This document provides guidance to industry on the standards implemented by
Workplace Health & Safety inspectors when performing tower crane audits. This
document does not discuss all issues relating to tower cranes and their safe
operation, but highlights the principal issues that can be audited during tower crane
audits. It focuses on more obvious safety issues that can be audited during an
inspector visit to a site. This document is intended to be a guide and an inspector
may issue other directions based on considerations at the time of the inspection. This
document applies to all tower cranes that are used on construction sites in
Queensland including self erecting tower cranes.
The information in this guide is based largely on information detailed in Australian
Standards, principally in AS 1418.4, AS 2550.1 and AS 2550.41. The Plant Code of
Practice 2005 lists AS 1418 and AS 2550 and states that these standards should be
applied. Both standards are periodically revised and the requirements of the
standards are gradually increasing. The newer requirements of the standards are
not always applied retrospectively. However, where the newer requirements are
considered to be important safety issues, WHSQ has required compliance. One
example is the provision of rated capacity limiters systems on early model Favco
tower cranes. This requirement did not exist when these cranes were introduced but
was retrospectively applied in Queensland a number of years ago.
Where a
requirement of the current standard is considered to be an important safety item, this
document will generally advise the provision of that item on both older and newer
cranes.

Note: AS 1418.4-2004 and AS 2550.1-2002 have been used in the preparation of this
document.

Structural and Mechanical Issues


Rope wear
1. Issue: Guidance on the inspection of steel wire ropes is provided in section
12 of AS 2759 and A Guide to Rigging. This standard lists a number of
discard criteria for when the rope wear becomes excessive or the rope is
damaged.
2. Action: Wire ropes that fail the discard criteria set out in AS 2759 should be
replaced. Obvious examples of reasons for discard include a complete broken
strand, excessive number of broken wires in one rope lay (see table 12.3.1 of
AS 2759), bird-caging, a severe bend, and a kink. As an indicator, the
maximum number of broken wires permitted is 10% of the total number of
wires over a length 8 times the diameter of the rope. A small degree of
waviness in the rope is permitted and this can sometimes be confused with
kinking. In cases of waviness, the rope should be discarded if:
d1 4d 3
where d is the nominal diameter of the rope and d1 is the diameter
corresponding to the envelope of the deformed rope (see clause 12.12.10, AS
2759 for more detail).

Waviness diagram showing d and d1


In the case of a hoist rope or luff rope, the crane should not be operated where a
complete strand of the rope has failed.
Pivot pin wear luffing cranes
1. Issue: The boom pivot pins (heel pins) on luffing tower cranes are extremely
important because they support most of the weight of the boom. These pins are
relatively large but experience wear as the boom is luffed up and down. There is
a need to lubricate the pins. Any major wear will usually be evident when the
boom is luffed down at moderate speed, with a load, and then stopped. If the
boom is luffed up and down, in the vertical plane, the amount of slop in the
connection can generally be seen (caution should be exercised when slewing the
boom back and forth because of the booms limited strength in the lateral plane).
It can be difficult to measure the actual clearance between the pin and sleeve
while the pin is inserted in place. However, an indication of the degree of wear
can be determined by observing the crane in operation.
Note: on hydraulic
luffing Favcos the hydraulic ram pins should be observed to see if there is any
obvious wear in the ram pins.
3

2. Action: Any excessive wear in the pivot pins should be investigated by a


competent person and a written report stating the amount of wear is permissible
should be provided if the competent person is not prepared to do this the crane
should not be operated. The competent person is to measure the actual wear in
the pin where it is practicable to do this. Note: this issue is rarely a problem
because the pins take a considerable amount of time to wear. If the crane is
properly maintained the crane owner will make sure the wear is within tolerance
prior to erecting the crane. It can be major exercise to replace the pivot pins while
a tower crane is erected.
Structural Damage, Modifications & Repairs
1. Issue: A tower crane is sometimes damaged during transportation and erection,
or during use. Parts of the crane are also prone to corrosion or wear. As an
example, lacings on the boom are sometimes damaged by the hoist rope
because the timber wear pads are worn through or damaged during transport.
The consequences of the damage will vary in potential risk depending on the
degree and location of the damage. For instance, surface rust is not serious
while rust that has caused pitting in a major structural component can have
serious consequences. Damage to boom lacings is generally much less critical
than to chord damage, because lacings are secondary structural members. Any
damage that appears to be from overloading is very serious (eg bent boom or
buckled A-frame) this type of damage is fairly rare because tower cranes are
generally fitted with rated capacity limiters. All tower cranes should be maintained
in good condition but the remedial action for some types of damage is more
critical than for other types.
2. Action:
Damage: Deformed lacings where the number of bent lacings is small (i.e. 2 or
3) the crane does not have to be stopped unless the bent lacings have pulled the
chords out of alignment. However, if the lacings cannot be repaired until the
crane is next dismantled (i.e. access problems with the boom), a competent
person should provide a report on the lacings relating to on-going operation of the
crane.
Lacings cut - where a lacing has been totally cut through, the capacity of the
crane should be reduced based on a competent persons report. If two or more
consecutive lacings have been cut through, the crane should not be operated until
the lacings have been replaced.
Chords bent where a chord is deformed the crane should not be operated.
However, if a suitably qualified and experienced professional engineer makes a
statement that the crane is safe to operate, at a de-rated capacity nominated by
the engineer, the crane may continue to operate under these conditions.
Corrosion where the corrosion only appears to be on the surface, corrosion is to
be removed and the surface repainted with suitable painting process. Substantial
corrosion will require the input of a competent person. Where internal corrosion
in chords is substantial, the chord section is to be replaced. Note: sometimes the
readings on ultrasonics thickness testers may not be accurate due to incorrect
4

operation of the probe, difficulty of accessing the test location or providing a


suitable transfer medium (i.e. couplant or jelly).
Modifications and repairs: Where the crane has been modified or repaired, some
type of certification or evidence of a repair procedure should be available. The
crane owner should also be able to verify competence of persons who have
carried out repairs to a crane. This particular information does not have to be
carried on the crane but should be available at the crane yard. Wherever the
crane design has been altered, certification from a competent person (such as a
suitably qualified and experienced professional engineer) should be available,
unless the crane has been altered in accordance with instructions from the crane
manufacturer. Where the crane has been repaired, and the design not altered,
certification from an engineer may not be required provided the owner can
provide a repair procedure authorised by the crane manufacturer or competent
person. The crane owner would need to demonstrate that the tradesperson
carrying out the work is competent. A report on the repair of the boom should
identify the steel type and any special welding procedures required. For example,
the repair of T-1 type steel, from which some boom chords are constructed,
requires the use of specific welding electrodes and heat treatment techniques.
Pin restraint provision and use
1. Issue: Effective restraint of pins. Two types of restraint can be provided on pins
a device to prevent pin rotation and a device to prevent the pin becoming
dislodged. Devices to prevent pin rotation, such as cheek plates, are provided
where one of the pinned parts rotates. Pin rotation is prevented in this situation to
reduce wear on the non-moving parts and to negate the need to lubricate both of
the pinned parts. Where both of the pinned parts are static, there is no need to
prevent pin rotation. However, all pins must be prevented from becoming
dislodged by means of split pins, R-clips or another effective means.
2. Action:
All pins require a locking device to prevent unintentional pin
dislodgement. However, cheek plates or similar are to be provided to prevent pin
rotation wherever one of the pinned components is required to rotate (i.e. the heel
pins connecting a luffing boom to the machine deck and pins provided on
hydraulic rams). Split pins are to be opened and cheek plates are to be fitted with
all bolts tightened.

Correct towers in use Favco & Favelles


1. Issue: Each model of Favco and Favelle tower crane has specific tower sections
that are designed to withstand the loadings applied to that type of crane and
these are specified in the design registration. Some Favco towers have similar
external dimensions and it is possible to bolt different models of tower together.
As an example, Favco STD 350 tower sections are usually constructed from steel
with a yield strength of 250 MPa and look similar to STD 750 towers, which are
constructed from Grade 350 steel. Although the STD 350 towers can be bolted to
a STD 750 tower crane they should not be, unless they have been strengthened
in accordance with an amended design that has been registered with WHSQ.
Some tower sections have been strengthened by the addition of steel plate or
angle that runs along the chords. Three examples of strengthening to towers that
have been design registered are as follows:
a) The addition of two lengths of 150 mm wide, 10 mm thick plate welded
to each chord of a Favco 350 tower modified tower may be used on a
Favco 750 type tower crane (design registration number: CH 12361).
b) The addition of a 150 mm x 150 mm, 12 mm thick steel angle to each
chord of a Favco 750 tower modified tower may be used on a Favco
1000 type tower crane (CH 14176).
c) The addition of two lengths of 150 mm wide, 12 mm thick plate welded
to each chord of a Favco 750 tower or the addition of a 150 mm x 150
mm, 12 mm thick steel angle to each chord modified tower may be
used on a Favco 1000 type tower crane (CH 11948).
Where different towers are used they should at least have the same or greater
strengths than the original towers designed for that crane.
2. Action: Tower sections should be clearly and permanently identified with their
model type. Only tower sections of the correct model or a model of greater
strength should be used. With Favcos this will generally mean that tower sections
of the same or a higher model number should be used (ie acceptable to use STD
750 towers with a STD 350 tower crane). The tower sections actually used on
site are to be the same as specified on the engineers crane base drawing on site.
Note: Favelle 230D and 300D tower cranes - STD 750 towers or stronger may be
used.

Correct towers in use Liebherrs


1. Issue: Each model of Liebherr tower crane has specific tower sections that are
designed to withstand the loadings applied to that type of crane. The four main
types of towers below are used. These should not be interchanged unless an
engineer certifies this is acceptable and it is highlighted on the crane base
drawing on site.

71 EC towers.
120 HC towers (90 ECs are used on these towers).
185 HC towers (in USA - 200 HC).
256 HC towers (in USA - 290 HC. 280 EC-H used on 256 HC
towers).

The towers for the 185 HC and 256 HC have similar external dimensions, but the
chord thickness on the 256 HC tower sections is much greater. Where different
towers are used they should at least have the same or greater strengths than the
original towers designed for that crane, if a professional engineer provides written
certification.
2. Action: Tower sections should be clearly and permanently identified with their
model type (Liebherr uses symbols). Only tower sections of the correct model or
a model of greater strength should be used. Where Favco towers are used this
should be clearly identified on the engineers crane base drawing for the particular
installation. Note: Liebherr 120 HC and 185 HC tower cranes may be erected
on Favco STD 350 or stronger tower sections.
Tower bolts - torque
1. Issue: Tower bolts serve a very important function and should be tightened to the
manufacturers specification. Tapping the bolts with a small hammer will give an
indication of whether the bolts are loose this is an indicator only, it will not verify
that bolts have been tightened to the specified torque. When tapped, loose bolts
will give a lower or duller pitch than tighter bolts. However, the tone will also be
effected by the amount of steel or around the bolt the more material, the duller
the tone.
Favco and Favelle: Favco towers generally have six bolts on each corner of the
tower. On these cranes it is fairly common to find at least one tower bolt loose on
an installation.
Tower bolts serve a very important function and should be
tightened to the manufacturers specification. Tapping the bolts with a small
hammer will give an indication of whether the bolts are loose this is an indicator
only, it will not verify that bolts have been tightened to the specified torque. When
tapped, loose bolts will give a lower or duller pitch than tighter bolts.
Liebherr: On Liebherr towers it is extremely rare to find a loose bolt but if ever
found it is much more critical because there are only two bolts on each corner.
Impact wrenches (rattle guns) are used to tighten bolts on both Favcos and
Liebherrs. However, bolts on Liebherr towers should be tightened with a torque
multiplier because the required torque is usually higher than the maximum
achieved with a rattle gun (see testing and documentation section).
7

2. Action:
Favco and Favelle: All tower bolts should be tightened. As a general guide it
becomes critical when more than two bolts on any one corner of a Favco tower
are loose. In these critical situations occur the crane should not be operated until
the bolts have been tightened. In other situations, the crane may continue to be
operated but the loose bolts should be tightened as soon as possible.
Liebherr: If there are any obviously loose bolts on a Liebherr tower, operation of
the crane should cease until bolts are checked and tightened to the
manufacturers torque specification.
Tower bolts - identification
1. Issue: Sometimes different types of bolts are used to connect the tower sections
this is generally only an issue on Favco towers. Favco type bolts can be clearly
identified with the word favco or FAV.L marked on the head. Other bolts can
also be used but there should be some verification or marking available to show
the bolts are at least grade equivalent to the grade specified by the manufacturer.
Liebherr tower bolts are generally grade 10.9 bolts although grade 12.9 bolts are
often used on the tower base (Liebherr 256 HC crane towers require grade 12.9
bolts throughout).
2. Action: Tower bolts of the correct type and grade should be used. The mixing
and matching of bolts on any one corner should be discouraged. Any bolts used
should be long enough to protrude through the nut so that all threads of the nut
are engaged. Tower bolts with extensive damage from hammering on the bolt
head should not be used.
Slew ring bolts - Torque
1. Issue: Slew ring bolts are extremely important because they ensure the machine
deck and boom do not fall off the crane tower. Tapping the bolts will give an
indication of whether the bolts are loose this is an indicator only, it will not verify
that bolts have been tightened to the specified torque. Slew rings can have more
than 50 bolts on the upper and lower parts of the slew ring. This gives a high
number of bolts over which the load is distributed. However, when one bolt fails
or is loose, this places additional load on the bolts adjacent to this bolt and
increases the likelihood of other bolts failing.
2. Action: All slew ring bolts should be torqued to within the manufacturers
specification. An audit will not be able to quantitatively verify this but it should
locate any loose or failed bolts in the slew ring. Note: not all slew ring bolts can
be tapped because they are not easily accessible. Where a bolt has failed in the
slew ring, it can indicate that the slew ring bolts have not been installed correctly
or are damaged in this situation all of the slew ring bolts should be removed and
checked for cracks by NDT or be completely renewed.

Indicators and Motion Limiters


Load indicators: Non-self erecting tower cranes
1. Issue: a load indicator measures and displays the mass of the load being lifted.
This indicator assists the crane driver to stay within the load chart and SWL of the
crane, and assists with checking correct operation of the rated capacity limiter.
2. Action: load indicators are to be fitted to all non-self erecting tower cranes. The
load indicator is to operate at all times that the load is suspended on the hook (the
original Favco hydraulic gauges do not display the load when hoisting down).
Note: The allowable tolerance of the load indicator should be within 97 to 110 %
of the actual load (see section 4.2.2.2 of AS 1418.4).
Load indicators: Self erecting tower cranes
1. Issue: a load indicator measures and displays the mass of the load being lifted.
This indicator assists the crane driver to stay within the load chart and SWL of the
crane, and assists with checking correct operation of the rated capacity limiter.
Newer self erecting tower cranes are generally fitted with digital load indicators on
the remote control. However, older self erectors are not always fitted with such
devices.
2. Action: wherever the self erecting tower crane was originally provided with a load
indicator (i.e. at manufacture), the indicator must not be removed and is to
operate correctly. If the crane is not provided with a load indicator, there must be
a means of verifying the rated capacity limiter of the crane is functioning correctly.
For example, a calibrated weight is to be kept on site, and when lifted will cause
the relevant crane functions to shut down at the correct radius positions on the
boom. Note: The allowable tolerance of the load indicator should be within 97 to
110 % of the actual load (see section 4.2.2.2 of AS 1418.4).
Rated capacity limiters: all tower cranes
1. Issue: A rated capacity limiter prevents overloading of the crane by stopping all
relevant crane functions when an overload is detected (ie stops hoisting up and
increasing the radius of the load). Capacity limiters generally allow a slight
overload on the hoist function to account for dynamic factors (if they are set at
100% it is difficult to operate the crane at its full capacity).
2. Action: Rated capacity limiters are to be fitted and functioning on all tower
cranes. The limiter should prevent hoisting of a load exceeding 110% of the
maximum rated capacity and should prevent the radius being increased when the
load exceeds 100% at the particular radius (clause 3.4.1.2 AS 1418.4). If the load
indicator and capacity limiter are not operating, the crane is not to be used.

Radius indicator
1. Issue: A radius indicator displays the radius of the suspended load generally
measured from the centre of the slew ring.
2. Action:
Tower cranes with cabins: Operational radius indicators should be fitted and be
displayed in metres. The indicator is to be accurate to + 10%, -3%. It should be
noted that if the radius indicator is not providing accurate readings, the rated
capacity limiter may be malfunctioning if this is the case the radius indicator is to
be repaired immediately. Note: on luffing tower cranes the radius indicator will
generally be connected to the capacity limiter on hammerhead type Liebherr
tower cranes the overload system is usually separate from the radius indicator.
Tower cranes with remote control only: Provided the jib can only be operated
horizontally and all of the jib is clearly visible to the operator the indicator may
consist of 1 metre graduations marked on the jib with numbers written at intervals
that are not excessive (eg every 5 metres).
Hook height indicators
1. Issue: Hook height indicators usually display the height of the hook above
ground level and are particularly useful where the operator is lifting blind (cannot
see where the hook is). These devices are important on high rise buildings. The
devices are also known as rope payout gauges.
2. Action: Hook height indicators should be provided on high rise jobs where the
hook is regularly outside of the operators view. These devices should also be
provided where a job exceeds 5 -10 floors, or if loads are lowered below ground
level. However, hook height indicators should always be provided where the
crane operator considers that absence of the indicator may make the crane
operation unsafe.
Wind speed indicators (anemometer)
1. Issue: Wind speed indicators are provided as an aid to tell the operator when to
use caution when moving a load that is susceptible to wind loading. These
devices also indicate to the operator if the wind speed is excessive and the
decision can be made to shut the crane down.
2. Action:
Non-luffing tower cranes (non-self erecting): Operational wind speed indicators
should be provided and mounted where a true wind speed will be obtained.
However, because there is not a large power pack on hammerhead cranes, it is
generally acceptable to position the wind gauge on the guardrail above the
operators cabin. On these cranes it is not necessary to mount the wind gauge on
top of the A-frame.
Luffing tower cranes: On luffing tower cranes the wind gauge should be mounted
on top of the A-frame. If mounted on the machine deck, the power pack can
cause substantial wind shielding and the wind speed reading will be inaccurate.
10

Self-erecting tower cranes: It is preferable for the wind gauge to be mounted on


top of the tower. However, it is acknowledged that on self erectors it is generally
more difficult to prevent damage to the gauge (i.e. during erection and collapsing)
and it may be impractical to maintain the gauge if it malfunctions. If there is an
effective way of measuring wind speed on site (i.e. by providing a wind gauge on
a nearby structure) there may be adequate justification not to fit a wind gauge to
the crane.
Upper hoist limit
1. Issue: When activated, an upper hoist limit stops all crane functions whose
movement can cause the hook block or ponder weight (headache ball) to contact
the boom or head sheave.
On hydraulic luffing Favcos the hoist limit
arrangement will consist of both a hunting tooth limit and a mechanical device on
the boom head often called a banana. Both of these devices should be
operational. Rope luffers are not fitted with mechanical devices on the boom tip
but the limit switch is incorporated on the hoist rope drum. Liebherr tower cranes
are fitted with an initial limit that slows the hoist speed prior to contact with the
final limit.
2. Action: Upper hoist limit devices should be fitted to all tower cranes and should
be of the motion cut type (not indicators). If the crane was originally fitted with two
limits on the hoist up function, both limits should be operational.
Note: a lower hoist limit is rarely a mandatory requirement on tower cranes.
However, if the crane is being used to lower materials below ground level, a lower
hoist limit should be fitted. One example is where the crane is lowering materials
down a shaft.
Luffing buffers & limit switches Rope luffing tower cranes
1. Issue: Luffing limit switches and buffers ensure the boom is not luffed up or down
beyond the design limitations and prevent the boom being damaged or collapsing
over the back of the crane. The luff limit switches are extremely important
because the presence of buffers alone will not prevent the boom being pulled
over backwards. The luff rope winch has more than enough power to pull the
boom past the buffer limit.
2. Action: Luffing limit switches and buffers must be fitted to all rope luffing tower
cranes. These cranes are usually fitted with an initial deceleration (decel) limit
that slows the luff speed of the boom prior to the final limit (see clause 3.4.2.3 AS
1418.4). The luffing limit switch is to be set to the manufacturers specifications
(the limits on final luff limit for Favco tower cranes varies between 74 and 82
degrees depending on the boom length set up on the crane). A rope luffing tower
crane is not to be used when the luff limit switches are not operating.

11

Trolley limits all tower cranes with horizontal jibs


1. Issue: Trolley limits ensure the trolley does not travel beyond the design
limitations and prevents it going through the end stops. The end stops are
provided as an additional safety feature and to prevent the trolley falling off the
end of the boom when the crane is being rigged (applies to Liebherr, Potain and
Kaiser tower cranes).
2. Action: Trolley limits and end stops should be fitted to both ends of the jib. Most
non-luffing tower cranes are fitted with an initial limit that reduces the trolley
speed to low speed prior to approaching the final limit (see clause 3.4.2.3 AS
1418.4). The crane should not be used where the final limit switches are not
operating.

Access Issues
Tower ladders: Non-self erecting tower cranes
1. Issue: The type of ladder access in tower cranes is often determined by the
amount of available space in the tower. AS 1418.4 provides information on
minimum requirements for the ladders. However, it may be impractical to comply
with the design principles in AS 1657, Fixed platforms, walkways, stairways and
ladders. The provision of landings, with changes in direction of the ladder,
should be provided where there is available space. This system will minimise the
injury to workers, in the event of them falling off the ladder. It will also allow
workers to take rest breaks.
AS 1418.4 states that the first ladder in the tower shall not exceed 12.5 m in
height and subsequent ladders shall not exceed 10 m. However, the standard
also permits the use of longer vertical ladders where there is a control that
provides at least an equivalent level of safety. Favco and Favelle type tower
cranes are generally provided with vertical ladders with landings at 4 m intervals
although this can increase to 6 m on some towers. Liebherr tower cranes, other
than the 71 EC towers, are generally provided with sloping ladders with landings
and the ladders change direction every 4 m. Potain City cranes, and smaller
Liebherr cranes are often fitted with a continuous vertical ladder.
2. Action:
Larger towers (Favco, Kaiser, Liebherr larger than 71 EC).
Favco, Favelle and the larger Liebherr type tower cranes are to be provided with
ladders and landings that complying with the principles in AS 1418.4 and the
manufacturers specifications. AS 1418.4 permits the use of 12.5 m high and 10
m high ladders for the first and other towers respectively however, where
practicable the distance between landings should not exceed 6 m.

12

Smaller towers continuous vertical ladders


The use of continuous vertical ladders for the total length of the tower is to be
discouraged. Where it is impractical to provide anything but a continuous vertical
ladder, a fall arrest system that does not require the climber to constantly hook on
and off, is to be provided. This device could incorporate a vertical rope or drop
line with a locking cam device. The lanyard length is to be minimised so as to
reduce the likelihood of injury in the event of the climber falling off the ladder. Any
fall arrest system is to comply with the directions of a person competent in this
type of equipment. Note: the provision of rest platforms beside the vertical ladder
is not adequate on its own because these will not reduce the potential fall
distance of the climber. The use of fold down type platforms is discouraged
because they can hinder rescue procedures (if the operator collapses on top of
the platform), and create procedural difficulties.
Tower ladders: Self erecting tower cranes without cabins
1. Issue: The towers on most self erecting tower cranes do have to be climbed by
workers while set up on construction sites. Any maintenance that must be
performed on site can often be carried out by collapsing the crane. However,
some self erecting tower cranes are provided with ladders on the towers for
maintenance access.
2. Action: If a ladder is provided for maintenance activities only, the ladder can be
vertical and the twin lanyard access system may be used by persons climbing
the ladder. No person should be permitted to climb the ladder without fall
protection. The use of work platforms, such as elevating work platforms, should
be considered for performing maintenance activities. Note: any self erecting
tower crane fitted with a cabin is to comply with the access principles for non-self
erecting tower cranes above.
Internal guardrail on tower landings
1. Issue: Internal guardrails on landings reduce the risk of persons falling internally
down the tower. On Favcos, it consists of either a guardrail on the internal side of
the manhole or a rail that also extends around the back of the manhole. On
Liebherrs it consists of a short section of guardrail that is located on the internal
side of the landing there needs to be adequate room for a person to climb off
the ladder and onto the platform.
2. Action: Both Favco and Liebherr tower cranes should be provided with internal
guardrail on tower landings. The same principal applies to other types of tower
crane. Note: on Favcos, it is impractical to provide an internal guardrail on the top
tower landing because this can obstruct the machine deck ladder as the crane
slews.

13

External fall protection (primarily older Liebherr towers)


1. Issue:
a) Ladder next to side of tower: On some tower cranes the internal ladder may
be provided next to the outside of the tower. In some cases the lacings may
not provide adequate protection to climbers from falling out of the tower. In
this situation modifications to the tower access need to be carried out. Note:
in normal circumstances it is considered very unlikely that a person could fall
from the tower on an unmodified tower. However, in high winds and the
person is small there is still a risk of this occurring.
b) Favco and Favelle towers: On these towers there is a triangular opening on
the four sides of each tower at platform height. Two of the openings have
ladders in front of the openings and do not require additional edge protection.
However, with the two other openings there is a risk of falling out of the tower.
Note: some of these towers also have guardrail provided next to the
triangular openings below the tower bolts. However, this guardrail can make
tightening of the tower bolts, with a rattle gun, difficult as the rigger has to
climb over the rail. The substantial kickboard also minimises the risk of falling
through this gap. There does not appear to be adequate justification to make
this guardrail mandatory (riggers installing tower bolts need to use fall arrest
harnesses, unless the opening is covered).
2. Action:
a) Ladder next to side of tower: Parallel rails (one or two), or other alternative
means such as a ladder cage, should be provided adjacent to access ladders
where there is a risk of falling out of the tower. A horizontal bar, or other
effective means to prevent persons falling off the tower, is to be provided at
the top of each tower ladder, if there is an external fall risk.
b) Favco and Favelle towers: The two triangular openings, other than those
protected by access ladders, require a single horizontal bar to be fitted to
control the risk of falling out of the tower.
Guardrail on machine deck and A-frame platform
1. Issue: Guardrail on the machine deck and A-frame platform of tower cranes
prevents the operator and maintenance personnel falling to the ground.
2. Action: Accessible machine decks on tower cranes are to be provided with
perimeter edge protection that extends around the machine deck. The edge
protection should consist of a top rail between 900 and 1100 mm high, a mid-rail
and a kickboard at least 100 mm high. The guardrail should comply with AS 1657
(the standard edge protection provided on these cranes is generally acceptable).

14

A-frame ladder cage


1. Issue: The ladder cage on the A-frame ensures that if a person falls off a ladder
they will be confined within the cage and will fall onto the machine deck (not off
the tower crane). Where there are an inadequate number of vertical rails on the
ladder cage, or the ladder cage is too high above the lower platform, this may not
occur.
2. Action:
a) The lowest part of the ladder cage should be between 2 and 2.2 metres above
the lower deck (see section 5.6.7, AS 1657).
b) The horizontal spacing between vertical bars on the ladder cage should not
exceed 150 mm. It is acceptable to use a mesh infill in place of rails.
Saddle bag access Favcos with moving counterweights
1. Issue: Saddle bag platforms are provided on Favcos with moving counterweights
and provide access for riggers erecting cranes and for persons carrying out
maintenance. Some of these cranes have very poor access to the platforms and
require a person to climb over the machine deck guardrail and down a ladder onto
the saddle bag platform. On such cranes the person can fall to the ground if they
slip off the ladder and are not using a fall arrest harness. In addition some
platforms are not fitted with an internal rail. It is sometimes argued that persons
are only required to be on the platform while the counterweights are located next
to the platforms and there is no risk of falling off the internal side. However,
maintenance workers are required to stand on the platforms to check that the
counterweights are moving correctly for their entire travel so that argument is not
valid.
The provision of fall arrest harnesses is one control measure used on saddle
bags with poor access provisions. However, it is a lower order control and it is
considered practical for crane owners to modify saddle bags such that the use of
fall arrest harnesses is unnecessary.
2. Action:
a) Access to saddle bag platforms should ensure a person cannot fall off the
tower crane when getting onto the ladder or while climbing down the ladder.
This can sometimes be done either by providing a trapdoor in the machine
deck or a ladder cage on the saddle bag ladder depending on the saddle
bag design.
b) The saddle bag platform should be provided with a top rail, mid-rail and
kickboard. On the inside of the saddlebags the provision of a removable top
rail and mid rail is an option (permanent rails may interfere with installation of
the counterweights).

15

Crane jib access: Non-self erecting tower cranes


1. Issue: Non-self erecting tower cranes require riggers and crane operators to
access the jibs during erection, inspection and maintenance. Both luffing and
non-luffing are usually fitted with a narrow platform (riggers run) and a number of
wire rope static lines running the length of the jib (the jib consists of a number of
sections and each section is fitted with a static line). Workers walking along the
jib need to use two lanyards, or a twin-tail lanyard, to ensure they are connected
to the jib at all times. A length of guardrail, on one side of the riggers run may
also be provided on some crane jibs. Hammerhead tower cranes are often fitted
with a small platform with guardrail, attached to the hook trolley.
2. Action:
a) All non-self erecting tower cranes should be fitted with a riggers run and static
lines that extend for the complete length of the jib. The crane owner may be
able to provide engineering certification (AS/NZS 1891.2 provides guidance)
for the static line system that justifies lower design loadings than stated below
(ie possibly by using static line energy absorbers). However, as a general
guide the following specifications are satisfactory galvanised or stainless
steel wire rope minimum diameter 10 mm, with machine swaged terminations
or a minimum of three bull-dog grips correctly fitted at each end. The static
line termination should also be fitted with thimbles. The line should generally
not extend more than about 8 metres between intermediate supports. End
anchorages and steel wire rope should have a failure load of at least 40 kN.
Shackles and turnbuckles (rigging screws with open hooks not permitted)
should have a failure load of at least 40 kN this corresponds to a working
load limit of 1 tonne if the components are manufactured to an Australian
Standard for lifting gear (these specify a factor of safety of 4 to 1).
b) Trolley platforms on hammerhead cranes these should be provided on all
tower cranes other than the Liebherr 71 EC and 90 EC models (it is
impractical to fit platforms to these due to size).

16

Non-destructive Testing
The information listed below does not replace the need for tower crane erectors to
comply with the commissioning requirements of AS 2550.4 and to provide
documentation that verifies the crane is safe to operate. This documentation should
include a comleted inspection checklist finalised after the crane has been erected but
prior to commissioning and load test results for the particular installation.
AS 2550.4-2004 provides guidance on non-destructive testing (NDT) that is to take
place prior to erection of the crane. Specific areas for non-destructive testing include
the following:

Welding of the slew ring attachment to the slew ring mount.

Slew ring bolts.

Tower bolts.

Other vital components such as jib, jib connectors and butt heal bosses.

Aluminium sheaves (NB: aluminium sheaves on tower cranes are not


common).

Unlike the previous version of AS 2550.4, specific guidance on the percentage of


welds or bolts to be tested is not provided.
The following information is intended to provide further guidance to AS 2550.4. The
information is listed as a minimum that should be undertaken and there may need to
be further items non-destructively tested where there has been a history of cracking
or corrosion.
Boom crack testing: All non-self erecting booms
1. Issue: Boom sections on non-self erecting tower cranes are connected by pins
that pass through male and female clevises on the ends of each boom section.
The clevices are attached to the boom chords with welds and cracking can occur.
2. Action: NDT crack testing of all male and female clevises should occur prior to
each crane erection. The usual NDT method used is magnetic particle testing.
Boom crack testing - Favco & Favelle Booms
1. Issue: In addition to cracks on connection clevises, Favco and Favelle booms
have had a history of cracking in other places. These areas are:
a. Counterweight sheave bracket welds.
b. Welds in the cruciform area (the cruciform is the area where the two legs of
the boom intersect).
c. Butt heal bosses (i.e. the lugs through which the main boom pivot pins
pass).
17

2. Action: NDT crack testing of the following parts of Favco and Favelle booms is to
be performed prior to erection:
a. Counterweight sheave bracket welds.
b. Welds in the cruciform area.
c. Butt heal bosses.
Band brakes Favcos
1. Issue: The older designed Favco tower cranes are provided with band brakes.
On some of these cranes the steel band is welded to an end fitting, that in turn
has a pin passing through it. These welds have been known to crack.
2. Action: All Favcos fitted with band brakes are to have the weld between the
band and end fitting tested by NDT each time the crane is erected(note: on some
brake bands there may be no weld).
Chord thickness testing all tower cranes with lattice booms
1. Issue: Chords on boom can be attacked both by internal and external corrosion
and this can greatly reduce the strength of the boom. In addition abrasive
blasting of the boom can reduce chord wall thickness.
Ultrasonic thickness
testing is one method of verifying there is adequate strength in the chords of the
boom.
2. Action: All main chord sections on booms of all tower cranes should be
thickness tested at intervals not exceeding 8 years (based on section 8.3(c) of AS
2550.4-1994).
Slew ring bolts - NDT
1. Issue: The integrity of slew ring bolts is critical because this ensures that the
machine deck and boom remain attached to the tower. Slew ring bolts can
become damaged, and their effective life is reduced if the bolts are either under or
over torqued.
In addition the prescribed amount of applied torque will vary
depending on the type of lubricant that has been used.
2. Action:
a. All tower cranes: all slew ring bolts are to be non-destructively tested at least
every five years. The preferred system is to remove the bolts completely and
examine the bolts by magnetic particle NDT. This applies to both self erectors
and non-self erecting tower cranes. Note: if selected bolts are removed, all of
the bolts should be removed from the slew ring, unless the crane
manufacturer states otherwise.
b. Where the slew ring is separated: on some tower cranes the slew ring must
be split when the each time the crane is moved (e.g. Favco 1500). Where
slew ring bolts are disturbed, 10% of slew ring bolts are to receive NDT crack
testing. The bolts to be crack tested shall be selected from the slew ring at
18

random locations, and the locations of the bolts marked. If any cracked bolts
are found, all bolts are to be tested.
Tower bolts
1. Issue: Tower bolts are a critical part of the crane and permit the effective transfer
of load from the crane boom to the crane base. Slew ring bolts can become
damaged from job to job, and their effective life shall be reduced if the bolts are
either under or over torqued. While all tower bolts are high tensile bolts some
bolts are of extremely high steel grade and may be more susceptible to cracking.
2. Action: a minimum of 10% of tower bolts to be checked for cracks by NDT. The
tested bolts should be identified by marking on the bolt head by a method that
does not damage the bolt.

Other Documentation
Design and Plant Registration
1. Issue: The Workplace Health and Safety Regulation 1997 requires all tower
cranes to be design registered and the cranes should preferably comply with
Australian Standard AS 1418.4, Cranes: Tower cranes. The original crane
design requires registration on a one off basis. However, the crane base design
must be registered for each installation other than for static bases where there is
no moment connection between the tower and base (i.e. the crane relies on
weights placed on the tower base for stability). All tower cranes are also required
to have plant registration and this is to be renewed on a yearly basis.
2. Action: The tower crane should not be operated until design and plant
registration from WHSQ are obtained. However, the absence on these items
alone does not demonstrate risk.
Crane base certification
1. Issue: The size and design of tower crane bases will vary depending on factors
such as tower height, wind speed and terrain type, ground type and bearing
capacity, boom length and crane lifting capacity. Bases may consist of static
bases that rely on dead weight only, re-enforced concrete that is buried in the
ground and may be anchored to piers, or structural steel that is anchored to a
structure. All tower crane bases should be designed by a suitably qualified
engineer and are to be design registered with WHSQ.
2. Action: For every tower crane installation the crane base configuration is to be
certified by a professional engineer and a signed drawing showing the tower
crane configuration and the crane base specification is to be available. The
design registration number should be noted. Concrete strength test results,
verifying the base has achieved its design strength, should also be available. The
base should be inspected by a competent person, prior to concrete placement, to
verify steel content is as specified. Note: Static crane bases do not require
19

design registration, but engineering input is required for the design of the
foundations underneath the crane.
Verification of tower bolt torque Liebherrs
1. Issue: Bolts on Liebherr towers should be torqued up with a torque wrench or
multiplier because the required torque is usually higher than the maximum
achieved with a rattle gun (impact wrench). Liebherr specifies that torqing bolts
up with an impact wrench can lead to a dangerous situation. The torque specified
by the manufacturer is very high and this can usually only be achieved with a
torque multiplier or other calibrated device (i.e. M 45 10.9 grade bolt torque is
4693 Nm).
2. Action: The toque of Liebherr tower bolts should be checked with a torque
wrench or torque multiplier to the manufacturers torque specification. Note: the
nut can be initially done up with a rattle gun.
Commissioning documentation All tower cranes
1. Issue:
Commissioning documentation helps to verify that the crane has been
correctly assembled and tested in accordance with the manufacturers
specifications.
The commissioning process requires input from riggers,
technicians, engineers and electricians (for electric cranes with lethal voltage).
Guidance on the process is provided in AS 2550.4.
2. Action: Prior to use, commissioning documentation is to be completed for each
tower crane installation. The sign off pro-forma in Appendix A of AS 2550.4
should be completed. The person signing off the certificate is to be competent
while the person does not have to be a professional engineer, he or she needs to
have experience in commissioning tower cranes. Where commissioning of the
tower crane requires electrical work with lethal voltages (i.e. for Liebherr tower
cranes), the electrical installation is to be signed off by a qualified electrician.
A commissioning checklist should be completed for the tower crane and be
appropriate for the type of tower crane. AS 2550.4 1994 includes a checklist
that may be used as guidance.

20

Operational Issues
Cabin glass
1. Issue: The operator should be provided with clear vision from the cabin. Any
glass that is cracked or shattered may interfere with the operators vision and
should be replaced. Damaged glass may also pose a risk to persons located
below the crane if it falls out.
2. Action: Any cracked or otherwise damaged glass in operators cabin should be
removed and replaced.
Operational wind speed
1. Issue: On crane base drawings a maximum permissible wind speed of 15
metres/sec (54 km/hour) is generally specified for crane operation by the design
engineer. The operator may choose not to operate the crane at wind speeds less
than those specified on the crane base drawing if the operation is hazardous (ie
when lifting formwork shutters in strong winds). Note: a number of tower crane
installations are now basing the maximum operational wind speed on 20 m/s (72
km/hour) as specified in AS 1418-2004. While the designer may design the tower
crane base and ties to the high operational wind speed, this should not be used
as a means of forcing crane operators to operate the crane in wind speeds that
they consider to be unsafe.
2. Action: The crane should never be operated in wind speeds exceeding those
specified on the crane base drawing. Irrespective of this, the decision when to
stop lifting operation rests with the crane operator and no party should apply
pressure on the operator to alter his or her opinion. The operator may also
decide to vary the loads to be lifted in consideration of the wind speed (i.e. pick up
smaller loads instead of wall shutter systems). Note:
The general industry
standard in Queensland for tower cranes is not to operate tower cranes in winds
of more than 15 m/s.
Avoiding collision
1. Issue: One of the primary hazards associated with the use of tower crane is the
risk of collision with other tower cranes, plant and structures. This risk is greater
where the regular working zone of the crane is next to another structure. Other
moving plant can also pose a greater risk than a fixed structure because its
position may be constantly changing. Collision of tower cranes can result in
crane collapse, falling objects, or direct contact of the crane with other workers. It
may be difficult to eliminate the risk of collision due to the number of cranes
operating on site and the need for the cranes to operate in another cranes
operating radius.
A particularly high risk of collision can exist where the crane crew is not in direct
communication with operators of other plant and/or where there the operators
have different tasks to perform. Two examples are where there is a concrete
placement boom in close proximity to the tower crane or where another tower
crane is being operated on an adjacent construction site.
21

2. Action: Where collision with other plant is possible (i.e. other plant can be within
the cranes operating radius), a documented procedure is to be completed that
discusses control measures to minimise or eliminate the risk of collision. The
procedure is to nominate a person responsible for co-ordinating implementation of
the procedure and all workers involved are to clearly understand their role. The
procedure is to address the following issues:

The communication method between the crane crew and the operator on the
other item of plant.

If the control is to rely on signals from a spotter to prevent collision by the


operator stopping the crane, clear information on the exclusion distances at
which the operator is to be told to stop the crane. These distances are to take
into account the reaction time of the operator, braking distance of the crane
function and load movement upon application of the brake.

Siting of the cranes or concrete placement booms so that it is not possible for
counterweights to collide.

Work scheduling to minimise the time both items of plant are required to work
in the same area or at the same height.

If the job is a high rise job, a climbing procedure to ensure the tower crane
remains as far above the jump form as practicable (the maximum freestanding height of the tower crane will be a relevant factor).

If the control measure relies on limit switches or warning devices to help


prevent collision, adequate reliability of the circuitry (i.e. category 4 reliability in
accordance with AS 4024.1 or EN 954-1).

Regular meetings to monitor and review the effectiveness of the control


measures (i.e. to determine if near misses or collisions are occurring). If the
controls are ineffective, they are to be replaced.

Proximity to overhead power lines


1. Issue: The operation of a tower crane in close proximity to power lines can be
extremely hazardous to persons in close proximity to the crane. It can be very
difficult for the operator to see power lines and this becomes a greater problem as
the tower height increases. In addition the operator is usually focused on the
crane operation and load movement, and can easily forget about power lines. It
should be noted that the slew brake on a tower crane will not stop motion
instantaneously because of the large amount of inertia developed by the slewing
boom. Stopping the slew function rapidly can transfer excessive load to both the
tower and boom of the crane. It can therefore be difficult to fit effective slew
brakes to tower cranes that are automatically applied when the crane approaches
a set distance from the power lines. Even if an effective brake can be fitted, the
crane hook may continue to move towards the power lines, especially if the slew
brake is applied when the slew speed is high. In the case of manually applying
the slew brake, by the time the operator realises the hoist rope is approaching
power lines it can be too late to prevent contact.
22

The Electrical Safety Regulation 2002 regulates work in close proximity to


overhead power lines. Guidance on such work is also provided in the Working
Near Exposed Live Parts Code of Practice. One of the guidelines is that workers
and mobile plant should maintain an exclusion zone of 3 metres around live
power lines on poles (in certain limited situations there may be exceptions to this
see the Code for details). Greater exclusion zones apply to live lines on
transmission towers (6 and 8 metres depending on the voltage).
2. Action: The best alternative is for power lines to be re-located or de-energised
prior to and during the time the tower crane is in operation. There are no set
instructions that can be applied to every situation where a tower crane is capable
of contacting overhead power lines. Suitable control measures will depend on
factors such as visibility of the lines, crane working zones, crane height, and the
actual distance the lines are from the crane. However, there are some factors to
note:
a) No part of the crane, rope or load should ever come within 3 metres of a
power line on poles (larger exclusion zones for lines on towers).
b) If the builder claims the lines have been de-energised, written verification
from the relevant power authority should be available on site.
c) Where the crane is capable of slewing into power lines, the power lines
should be fitted with tiger tails note: tiger tails do not provide effective
insulation.
The following should be noted about maintaining clearances from power lines:

The minimum clearance is the distance from the closest part of the crane
or suspended load to the power line.

Allowances for sag and sway of the overhead lines should be made and
added to the minimum clearances. Sway is usually caused by wind and
sag occurs with temperature change of the line.

The principal contractor and crane company should be able to demonstrate what
systems are in place to effectively prevent the crane contacting power lines.
Reference should be made to the Working Near Exposed Live Parts Code of
Practice. The inspector may consider the systems to be reasonable or may think
otherwise depending on observations and feedback received on site (ie from the
crane crew).
In some situations it may be necessary to fit the crane with approach limit
switches on the slew function that warn the operator visually and audibly that
power lines are being approached. If the control measure relies on limit switches
or warning devices to help prevent power line contact, the reliability of the circuitry
is to be a minimum of category 4 reliability in accordance with AS 4024.1 or EN
954-1.

23

APPENDIX 3
Tower Crane blitz Operator questionnaire
Crane type and model: ____________________________

Date:

Basic crane type: __________________________


(luffing, hammerhead, self erector)

Note: this information is to be treated in confidence no name or certificate


number to be recorded on this questionnaire.
Issue

Answer

1. How long have you been


operating this type of crane?

a) Less than 1 week

(Note: has to be the same type, e.g.


luffing, hammerhead, or self erector)

b) 1 week 4 weeks
c) 5 weeks - 12 weeks
d) 13 weeks - 1 year
e) 13 months - 2 years
f)

2. How long have you been a crane


operator?

More than 2 years

a) Less than 1 year


b) 1 5 years
c) 6 -10 years
d) 11 15 years
e) 16 20 years
f)

21 25 years

g) More than 25 years

3. Have you been provided with


documented familiarisation
training on the type of crane
you are currently operating?
4. Have you been given a copy
of the familiarisation training
record?
5. Have you been provided with
any type of refresher training?
(i.e. general tower crane
operator training every few
years not crane specific)

Yes

No

Yes

No

Yes

No

Issue

Answer

6. What are the power line


exclusion distances?
(Answer: 3 m lines on poles, 6
and 8 m on towers depends
on voltage not this is not
exactly consistent with the
code but is near enough)

3. Poles 3m correct YES NO


4. Towers 6 m correct - YES NO
5. Towers 8 m correct - YES NO

7. What percentage of persons


giving you dogging
instructions do you feel are
competent ?
8. What do you believe is the
main reason for the increase
of crane incidents over the
last few years?

a)
b)
c)
d)

0 to 25%
26 to 50%
51 to 75%
76 to 100 %

(Circle answer below that best fits comment)


a) Large amount of work in the crane industry
b) Lack of experienced operators in the
industry
c) Operators dont receive adequate training
d) Cranes are becoming more difficult to
operate
e) Pressure from customers to complete jobs
quickly
f)

Pressure from customers to complete jobs


with the wrong type or size of crane

g) Customers providing poor set-up areas for


the crane
h) The wrong type of crane being used for the
job
i)

9. Do you consider the


maximum wind speed a crane
can be operated in should be
increased from 15 m/s (54
kmph) to 20 m/s (72 kmph) for
some types of lifting?

Yes

Other reason

No

a) The wrong type of cranes are being used


(i.e. size, boom type)

10. What do you believe is the


main reason why tower
cranes can collide with other
cranes or plant?

b) The tower crane is not high enough above


the job
c) Inexperienced operators
d) Poor site layout and position of crane
e) Pressure to complete jobs quickly
f)

The principle contractor is not adequately


co-ordinating the process

g) The different plant or crane crews are not


communicating properly (i.e. pump boom
and crane crews)
h) Other reason