Using cranes is complex and dangerous. Every year there are injuries and deaths from work involving cranes. 

A crane is a plant item used to: 

  • raise or lower a load 
  • move a load horizontally. 

Cranes can be: 

  • fixed (tower, bridge, gantry, portal boom and vessel-mounted) 
  • mobile (slewing, non-slewing and vehicle loading). 

Some powered mobile plant, like telescopic handlers, can be used as cranes. 

As a person conducting a business or undertaking, you have a duty to keep workers and your workplace safe from the risks of cranes. Everyone must work together to ensure cranes are both safe to use and used safely.  

Choosing a crane 

Choosing the right crane is not just important for getting the job done. It also affects worker safety.  

Some cranes must be registered, and you need a high risk work licence to operate most. 

Before you choose a crane, discuss your needs with suppliers. They can help you find the best crane for your workplace and the work. 

These are some things to consider when choosing a crane: 

  • how old it is. 
  • how long you will keep it. 
  • how often you will use it. 
  • the conditions in which you will use the crane. 
  • the maximum loads the crane will bear. 
  • whether you need a crane only or you also need a trained and licensed crew. 

Some of the things to look for on the crane include: 

  • safe access points – ladders, footholds, steps and grabs rails 
  • seat design – comfort and back support 
  • visibility – mirror, window and windscreen design 
  • environmental controls – temperature control units to avoid worker heat stress. 

With any crane, you have work health and safety (WHS) duties and must identify and manage risks

Safe Work Australia invites views on crane licensing

A discussion paper on crane licensing is now open for public consultation. Submissions are open until Thursday 16 June and can be made online.