Ultimate Crane Operations Guide

Ultimate Crane Operations Guide

Fleurieu Cranes PTY LTD in an industry leader and exclusive specialist in Crane Lifting and associated services. We’re a multi-disciplinary service based company operating within a broad range of industries since 2005 — and we’re 100% Australian owned!


Fleurieu Cranes have a fleet of over 40 cranes, including mobile, crawler and tower cranes with 80 personnel and associated transport and access equipment. We’re committed to the health and safety of our people and those with whom we interact as shown by our ‘Safety First’ attitude and culture. Our attitude and culture are not just words, as evidenced by our safety record and continuous improvement ethos.


We have substantial experience in a range of sectors including Resources, Energy (Renewables, Electricity, Wind, Oil & Gas) and Construction Projects (from Residential to large scale Infrastructure Projects). We are your logical crane provider of choice no matter the size of your business or project.


Our primary focus is to provide cost effective solutions to our customers involving Crane Hire, Logistics and Materials Handling. Fleurieu Cranes offers cost effective lifting solutions through ensuring our customer’s projects are handled professionally including the planning and execution phases with minimal fuss.


Fleurieu Cranes is an owner-operated company, meaning as a client you’ll enjoy our responsive decision-making and tailored services to form to meet your needs. We believe operating a "young" and modern fleet minimises downtime therefore maximises availability— this ethos ensures our customers receive a reliable quality service with the best technologically advanced equipment available on the market.

We care about our clients and their projects, which is why we’ve taken the time to put together this definitive guide to crane operations. We want you to be equipped with all the information you need to choose the right crane for your workplace and to be confident you’re aware of your safety responsibilities. This guide is designed to be kept on hand and referred back to at any point along the way.


We’re always here to help — to chat about how we can best help you, you can give us a call on +61(08) 8260 5122 or visit our website.


Please note, this guide is just that — a guide. It’s not meant to replace independent, professional advice and we cannot be held liable for any losses you experience as a result of following the advice listed. Please seek professional advice before implementing any of the strategies suggested here.

Table of Content

Cranes: A Definition

A crane is an item of plant used to raise or lower a load and move it horizontally. There are a range of fixed (tower, bridge, gantry, portal boom, vessel-mounted) or mobile (slewing, non-slewing, vehicle loading) cranes. A range of multi-purpose powered mobile plant, including multi-purpose tool carriers and telescopic handlers, may be classed as cranes in some operating configurations.

Crane Maintenance

Maintenance is essential to ensuring project success, obtaining certification, preventing accidents and maximising the lifespan of a crane. Ensuring your cranes have been checked gives you and your team the confidence to be able to do the best job possible safe in the knowledge that you won't be let them down by equipment. Knowing your cranes are well-maintained and compliant gives you and your team the confidence to push them to their capable limit time and time again throughout the life of a crane. No one wants to be working with a dirty, unchecked or potentially dangerous crane so do yourself a favour and make sure you only operate with machinery that you're proud to call your own.

crane maintenance


Preventative maintenance works is an effective risk mitigation strategy in avoiding breakdowns, and worse - accidents! Don’t find out the hard way the cost of rectifying a fault whilst in a remote location in the middle of nowhere.


We demonstrate effective operation through effective planning; we are able to maintain your records to mitigate future certification woes to demonstrate effective maintenance. With our extensive team of technicians, we are able to allocate and dedicate resources to your item without fail.


Fleurieu Cranes operates a purpose-built crane-friendly workshop facility in Wingfield with the added ability to offer on-site breakdown repairs and remote workshop operations with a proven in-house track record. Furthermore, our technicians are factory trained and available 24 hours, 7 days per week.


We also operates mobile service units that are able to travel to your work site attending to breakdowns, servicing or repairs as necessary. Preventing an accident or breakdown is an essential part of Fleurieu Cranes’ ongoing commitment to Crane Maintenance.



Risk Management

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Crane operation comes with a large number of hazards and risks to both the operator and other workers on the worksite. Work health and safety procedures need to be followed at all times in order to minimise risk, and appropriate consultations should take place prior to the commencement of a project. Risks need to be minimised and managed and workers should be briefed on common risks associated with crane usage

Everyone in the workplace has a workplace health and safety duty while cranes are being operated. A range of people have specific responsibilities for cranes including the:

  • crane designer, manufacturer, importer and/or supplier
  • crane owner and others with management or control of the crane or the workplace where a crane will operate
  • competent person who inspects cranes
  • crane operator

It’s important each worker familiarises themselves with their individual responsibilities.

SafeWork Australia provides detailed helpful information and Codes of Practice on workplace health and safety duties relating to cranes — these industry standard Codes should be consulted by any company looking to engage in crane operation.



Prior to the commencement of a project involving crane usage workers and any health and safety representative should be consulted and involved in the decision process regarding risk management in the workplace.


If there is more than one business or undertaking involved at your workplace, you must consult them to find out who is doing what and work together so risks are eliminated or minimised, so far as is reasonably practicable.


This may involve discussing site-specific requirements including the type of crane to use, operator training and traffic management.


For further helpful information on consultation requirements see SafeWork Australia’s Code of Practice: Work health and safety consultation, cooperation and coordination.


Inspection And Pre-Use Safety Checks

Ensuring cranes at your workplace are inspected and maintained is part a responsibility for the workplace under work health and safety regulations.


Inspecting and testing cranes must include:


  • major inspection required for registrable mobile and tower cranes
  • regular inspection and testing required for plant
  • inspection and testing for plant item re-registration

Before a crane is used tests, inspections and specific adjustments must be carried out to make sure the crane can be used safely. This includes:


  • workplace factors including ground load bearing capacity and wet or windy conditions are taken into account
  • confirming the crane will not adversely affect or be affected by other plant and structures in the area
  • installation and commissioning activities are supervised by a competent person
  • assembling the components in the correct sequence using the right tools and equipment
  • limit switches and load indication devices are functioning and correctly calibrated
  • the crane being installed and commissioned to the designer’s or manufacturer’s instructions and specified technical standards
  • the crane being stable
  • safe entry to and exit from the crane—including in an emergency.

A preventative inspection, maintenance and testing program will help ensure a crane is safe to use.

Inspections and maintenance should be done in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions or, if these are not available, a competent person’s specifications or according to relevant technical standards and engineering principles.


For further information on crane inspection and maintenance see SafeWork Australia’s Guide to inspecting and maintaining cranes or contact your state safe work authority.

Source: https://www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au/cranes


Risk Management

SafeWork Australia provides comprehensive information about managing work health and safety risks, and guides on identifying, assessing and controlling hazards. We recommend anyone undertaking projects involving crane operation familiarises themselves with these national guidelines and to contact their state safe work authority.

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The risks of working with cranes are extremely serious and should be treated accordingly. The people who work with or near cranes are most at risk, and worst case scenarios can include structural failure, overturning, or collapse of the crane; contact or collision of the crane or its load with people or other plant and structures; and falling objects.


Depending on the situation and workplace, the risks and related control measures will be well-established and well known among workers. In other cases, you may need to carry out a risk assessment to identify the likelihood of somebody being harmed during the course of crane operation and how serious it could be. A proper risk assessment can help you determine what action you should take to control the risk and how urgently the action needs to be taken. A good crane supplier will be able to work with you and point you in the right direction for resources and assistance to ensure appropriate safety checks take place.


Read on for some further tips regarding risk management!


Risks can be managed effectively by following a systematic process of:


  • Identifying hazards—finding out what could go wrong and what could cause harm
  • Assessing risks if necessary—understanding the nature of the harm each hazard could cause, how serious the harm could be and the likelihood of it happening
  • Controlling risks—implementing the most effective control measures that are reasonably practicable in the circumstances
  • Reviewing control measures to ensure they are working as planned

Example of strategies you can use as part of this process include:


  • Observe the workplace

 Identify areas where cranes operate and how they interact with other vehicles, pedestrians and fixed structures like overhead electric lines.


  • Be proactive about asking

Ask the crane operator, crane crew and others about problems they encounter at the workplace including with operation, inspection, maintenance, repair, transport and storage requirements.


  • Review

Review all your inspection, test and maintenance records, for example log books and incident and injury records including near misses.

Source: https://www.thermofisher.com/blog/mining/5-tips-for-the-maintenance-of-earth-moving-machinery-to-help-prevent-injuries/


Taking Action To Control Risks

Depending on your project and workplace immediate action may need to be taken to remove risks to your workforce. For this section we’ve referenced information from SafeWork Australia, who are available for you to contact if you’re unsure of how to best manage risks in your workplace.


The first step is to consider whether hazards related to the crane can be completely removed from the workplace. For example, you may want to investigate the possibility of designing items of a size, shape and weight so they can be delivered, handled or assembled at the location where they will be used without the need for a crane.

If it is not reasonably practicable or possible to completely eliminate the risk then consider the following options in the order they appear below to minimise risks, so far as is reasonably practicable:


  1. Substitute the hazard for something safer, for example replace a crane operating cabin with a restricted field of vision with one that has a clear field of vision or use a remote control, for example a pendant control.
  2. Isolate the hazard from people, for example use concrete barriers to create an exclusion zone to separate crane operations from workers and powered mobile plant.
  3. Use engineering controls, for example enclosing the operator with a FOPS to minimise the risk of the operator being hit by a falling object.

If after implementing the above control measures a risk still remains, consider the following controls in the order below to minimise the remaining risk, so far as is reasonably practicable:


  • Use administrative controls— e.g. schedule crane operations to avoid or reduce the need for pedestrians and vehicles to interact with the crane in the area of operation
  • Use PPE, for example gloves, hard hats, high visibility vests, ear plugs/muffs and eye protection

Deciding what is reasonably practicable includes the availability and suitability of control measures, with a preference for using substitution, isolation or engineering controls to minimise risks before using administrative controls or PPE. Cost may also be relevant but you can only consider this after all other factors have been taken into account.


A combination of the controls set out above may be used if a single control is not enough to minimise the risks.


Choosing A Crane

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While choosing a crane there are many factors to take into consideration to ensure you end up with the crane best suited to your needs.

The most important factor is your workplace needs and the types of projects the crane will be used for. You can discuss these factors with suppliers to identify cranes best suited to the job.

Other factors you should take into consideration include:


  • the life cycle of the crane
  • how long you are likely to keep the crane
  • how often the crane is likely to be used
  • the conditions under which it will be used
  • the maximum loads the crane is likely to bear
  • 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

Source: https://www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au/cranes



Cranes are a large investment. Fleurieu Cranes are happy to work with you to establish a financial plan to help you get the returns needed to finance your crane. Let Fleurieu Cranes bear the worry— our ability to reach further and spread the utilisation means reduced costs to you.

Hiring A Crane

Anyone considering hiring or leasing a crane has various responsibilities to fulfil as a supplier, manager or worker with oversight of the cran in the workplace.


Some of these responsibilities include:


  • Check the crane is safe to use and properly maintained
  • Ensuring specific operation information is provided, including instructions for safe operations
  • Checking the crane is suitable for its intended use


Cranes can be hired with or without trained and licensed crews. You should consider whether you need just the crane or whether it would be best to hire a trained and licensed crane crew.


If you don’t have sufficient knowledge or expertise about crane specifications, limitations and operational requirements, don’t hesitate to ask. Talk to your crane supplier and they’ll be able to provide you all the information and advice you need.


When you approach your crane supplier, you might find being prepared with the following information to be helpful:


  • The nature of the project to be done
  • The type of workplace
  • The type of lifts to be completed and approximate weights
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Depending on the project and workplace you will need documentation for records and safety purposes. The nature of the documentation you’ll need will depend on the type of work being carried out.


For example, work involving tilt-up or precast concrete, or work carried out in workplace areas where there is any movement of powered mobile plant is high risk construction work under WHS Regulations and requires a SWMS —a document which will identify and specify the hazards relating to the work and risks to health and safety. It will also describe the measures to be implemented to control the risks and describe how the control measures are to be implemented, monitored and reviewed.


For detailed information it’s best to refer to SafeWork Australia’s Documentation page. Here you’ll also find helpful information about appropriate licensing.


Emergency Plan

An emergency plan is a necessity for each workplace where a crane will be operated. The emergency plan must be tested in the workplace and include emergency procedures like effective response and evacuation, notifying emergency services and medical treatment.


Emergency procedure training must be provided to workers.


Contact numbers for emergency services should be easily seen or found. Workers should know the systems in place to contact emergency services and how to use it.


Contact Us

We hope you’ve found this guide useful!

If you have any questions, we’re always here to help — please don’t hesitate to give us a call on +61(08) 8260 5122 or visit our website.


At Fleurieu Cranes Pty Ltd we take pride in our position as an industry leader and exclusive specialist in Crane Lifting and associated services. We’ve included some information about our mission below:


Our Mission

• To always put SAFETY FIRST for our people; our clients; and the community

• To care for our ENVIRONMENT through a best work practice and continuous improvement ethos

• Strive for RELIABILITY by having the best cranes with a focus on a cost effective outcome; and

• To invest in training and developing the ABILITY of our greatest asset - OUR PEOPLE - to exceed customer needs

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Contact Us

Head Office Contact Details
Phone (08) 8260 5122  
Fax (08) 8260 5922

7 - 9 Lafitte Road, Wingfield SA 5013


Seaford Depot Contact Details
Crane and Rigging Supervisor
Phone: Larry - 0407 444 021


32-34 Eric Street, Seaford SA 5169

Port Augusta (Macweld Cranes) Contact Details
Depot Manager                     

Phone: Stephen - 0438 500 681

97 Footner Road, Port Augusta SA 5700

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Clare / Mid-North Depot Contact Details
Crane and Rigging Supervisor

Phone: Liam - 0458 399 366

Clare SA 5169


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