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                        Vehicle Loading Cranes


                        On the 21st of October 2016, an updated edition of AS2550.11 was released. 


                        We have previously provided commentary on requirements of and changes to Australian Standards series AS1418 – the set of Standards relating to Design, Manufacture and Testing of Cranes, hoists and winches.

                        The AS2550 Series focuses on safe use of cranes, hoists and winches. The series defines the practical elements surrounding the safe use of these machines including –

                        • machine choice, planning
                        • site set up, operation
                        • maintenance, repair & inspection
                        • any other specific devices required for the safe use of the machine such as limiting and indication devices

                        This article focuses on the changes to Part 11 of the series AS2550.11, which specifically relates to the Safe Use of Vehicle Loading Cranes. Part 11 originated as part of AS 2550:1982, was updated to the previous edition AS 2550.11 in 2004, replaced by the latest (2nd) edition AS 2550.11:2016.


                        The changes

                        In this update there are four key changes including –

                        1. Specific major inspection requirements detailed

                        2. Recommendation to compare existing vehicle loading cranes against the current edition of AS1418.11:2014

                        3. Mandates that data recorders be fitted, maintained and operated

                        4. Competent person guidance


                        Let’s now examine each of these four key changes

                        1. Specific major inspection requirements detailed

                        Previously AS2550.11 did not contain specific requirements for the major inspection of vehicle loading cranes. The previous edition referenced AS2550.1 for this detail, and AS2550.1 did not contain requirements specific to vehicle loading cranes. This is a great improvement as now AS2550.11 includes the specific components of the vehicle loading crane as well as advice regarding replacement or if re-use is an option.


                        2. Recommendation to compare existing vehicle loading cranes against the current edition of AS1418.11:2014

                        Clause 6.2.1 includes the following –

                        The major inspection shall include a comparison of the crane design in accordance with the current edition of AS 1418.11. A risk assessment shall be carried out to determine where additional risk controls may be practical to include in an upgrade of the crane design to the current edition of AS 1418.11. Where these upgrades are practical then they shall be undertaken.

                         It goes on to say...  However, it is recommended the following items should be retrofitted to comply with the current edition AS 1418.11 where they are not already provided on the crane:

                        1. Emergency stop at each control station
                        2. Guard around hydraulic hoses, to protect operator in the event of hose rupture, within 1m of operator station
                        3. Load holding valves on hydraulic cylinders
                        4. Safety related modifications previously specified by the manufacturer
                        5. Means to control the risk of the operator being crushed by the boom or jib when operating from a dedicated operator’s position
                        6. Level indicator at each fixed stabilizer control station
                        7. All stabilizer extensions should be capable of being locked in the transport position
                        8. A warning device should be installed in the vehicle cab to indicate the stabilizers are not in transport mode.


                        NOTE:  The Plant Assessor inspection for vehicle loading cranes already contains these requirements. These were included in 2014 when the latest edition of AS1418.11 was released. The decision to include these requirements retrospectively has always been our approach based on the regulator’s advice that the state of the art may be considered during an incident investigation.

                        3. Mandates that data recorders be fitted, maintained and operated

                        The title of section 7 has been updated from LIMITING AND INDICATING DEVICE to LIMITING, INDICATING AND DATA RECORDING DEVICES, and an additional clause has been added to support the name change.

                        Clause 7.2 DATA RECORDING DEVICES states the following – Data recording devices shall be fitted, maintained and operated in accordance with the current edition of ISO 10245-1 and the manufacturer’s instructions.

                        This new requirement has been added to Plant Assessor following the updates.


                        4. Competent person guidance

                        Appendix D to the Standard provides guidance on competent persons for the type of inspection as follows –

                        Daily Inspection Routine Inspection Periodic Inspection Major Inspection
                        Operator - - -
                        Maintenance person Maintenance person - -
                        Experienced Technician Experienced Technician Experienced Technician -
                        Crane Inspector Crane Inspector Crane Inspector -
                        Suitable qualified person Suitable qualified person Suitable qualified person Suitable qualified person



                        1. A ‘Maintenance person’ is as specified in ISO 12480-1.

                        2. An ‘Experienced technician’ is a person who, due to their vocational background and experience, has sufficient skill and knowledge in the field of cranes and is sufficiently familiar with the relevant regulations to determine deviations from the proper conditions (i.e. specially trained personnel).

                        3. A ‘Suitable qualified person’ is a professional engineer or independent crane inspector competent to manage a major inspection. The organisation should use a document management system which confirms the independence of these personnel from the crane maintenance personnel.

                        4. ‘Crane inspector’ is a person with the necessary knowledge and experience to perform the specific vehicle-loading crane inspection.


                        Plant Assessor does not contain requirements of a standard that cannot be verified during a visual inspection of a machine or that are not related to the safety of the machine. As always, if you have any specific questions related to this or other plant and equipment safety matters, please contact us. 


                        Third Edition – 2014

                        Originated as AS1418.11 – 2004 (derived from EN12999)
                        (Previous edition 2007)

                        Scope: This Australian Standard specifies the minimum requirements for hydraulically powered loading cranes that are mounted on vehicles or static foundations.

                        It does not apply to loader cranes used on ships or floating structures or to articulated boom system cranes that are designed an integral part of specialised equipment such as forwarders.

                        Change of approach: In the two previous editions of this standard the Australian Standard committee overhauled the EN12999 document completely. Adjusting the order of content and including specific requirements as deemed necessary that were not included in the EN standard into the text at the appropriate place. In this edition, there was a different approach taken, essentially no change was made to the EN12999 version other than the following –

                        • Added cover page and title AS1418.11 – 2014 Vehicle loading cranes (EN12999:2011, MOD)

                        • Noted that any reference to “this European Standard” should be replaced with “this Australian Standard”

                        • Added appendix ZZ which includes additions, deletions or replacements for various clauses for Australia

                        • Added annex O & P outlining typical appearance & load charts for side loading cranes and symbols for working & set functions of side loading cranes respectively

                        Machine part/feature Change included in standard What do I have to do?
                        Stabilisers Manually operated stabiliser extensions shall be locked in the transport position by two separate locking devices for each
                        stabiliser, at least one of these shall be automatically operated, e.g. a spring operated cam lock and an automatic
                        spring latch. These shall be attached to the crane and/or stabilisers and shall be protected against unintentional removal, e.g. by locking pins with spring clips.
                        Ensure a dual action locking device is fitted to retain each stabiliser in the transport position. At least one of the actions must be automatic.
                        Stabilisers, warning device Cranes, with manually operated stabiliser extensions, shall have a warning visible and audible from the transport driving position that indicates when the stabilisers are not locked in the transport position. Ensure that a warning device (sight and noise) is fitted adjacent operator driving position to alert driver that stabiliser are not locked in the transport position.
                        Stabilisers Hydraulically operated stabiliser extensions shall be fitted with an automatic hydraulic or automatic mechanical locking device for the transport position, in addition to a control valve that is closed in its neutral position. Ensure that an automatic hydraulic or mechanical locking device is fitted to retain each stabiliser in the transport position. A control valve must also be fitted that is closed in its neutral position.
                        Stabiliser, warning device Cranes, with hydraulically operated stabiliser extensions, shall have a warning visible and audible from the transport driving position that indicates when the stabilisers are not in the
                        transport position. The audible warning may be silenced by an acknowledgement button or by a signal that the parking brake of the vehicle is engaged.
                        Ensure that a warning device (visual & audible) is fitted adjacent operator driving position to alert driver that stabiliser are not locked in the transport position. The alarm may be silenced if the park brake is engaged.
                        Hooks Hooks shall be such that the unintentional detachment of the load is prevented.

                        Ensure that hook design is such that a load can’t be detached unintentionally in any configuration of the machine.

                        Hooks Each lifting attachment shall be clearly and permanently marked in accordance with AS 4991.

                        Ensure that each lifting attachment is permanently marked with the following as a minimum -

                        1. The manufacturer's ID  
                        2. Model  
                        3. Identification number (serial number)  
                        4. Tare mass of the attachment when it is over 50kg  
                        5.  Rated capacity  
                        6. Group classification if greater than C3 as per 1418.1
                        Remote control, warning device Cranes with a remote control system shall have a device to warn persons in the vicinity that the crane is in operation. The
                        warning device shall be either acoustic or by flashing lights that are visible from all directions. The warning shall be continuously given when the crane is in operation.
                        Ensure a continuous alarm (audible or flashing light) is fitted which is automatically operated when ever machine is in operation.
                        Controls Vehicle mounted cranes with a rated capacity of 1000 kg or greater, or a maximum net lifting moment of 40,000Nm or greater, with ground control stations require the following. These controls stations shall be fitted with dual controls that may be operated from either side of the host vehicle or additionally fitted with either wireless or pendent remote control that will enable the operator not to be exposed to traffic flow. Ensure two sets of controls are fitted. One of these may be a remote or pendant control.


                        Retrospective application: Plant Assessor is continuing to determine the approach by local authorities with regard to whether or not these requirements will be applied to machines manufactured prior to the release of this new version of the standard.

                        What’s new: There have been quite a few new inclusions that apply to Plant Assessor. For a change to be considered by Plant Assessor it must be checkable by an assessor and have an impact on the safety of the machine.

                        What’s out: From Plant Assessor’s perspective there has been no lessening of requirements. Any requirements in the latest version of EN12999 that were lesser than AS1418.11 – 2007 have been added to the new version of AS1418.11 – 2014.


                        Disclaimer: This information is intended to provide general information on the subject matter. This is not intended as legal or expert advice for your specific situation. You should seek professional advice before acting or relying on the content of this information. 

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