Machinery Safety & Hazard Guidance

Vehicle Loading Cranes

Safe Use – Vehicle Loading Cranes – AS2550.11


On the 21st of October 2016 an updated edition of AS2550.11 was released. This standard can be purchased here.




We have previously provided commentary on requirements of and changes to Australian Standards series AS1418 – the set of Stabndards 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 addition 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 1 m 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 this month.


4. Competent person guidance


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

Screen Shot 2016-12-07 at 4.52.32 pm


  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 organization 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 & equipment safety matters, please contact us.




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 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


Retrospective application: PA 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.

Screen Shot 2016-12-07 at 4.52.49 pm

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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