The following information should be used as a guide only.  It is an extract from Safe Work Australia’s Cranes Code of Practice Draft. 

(This DRAFT Code has been approved by Safe Work Australia Members and is ready for approval by the Select Council on Workplace Relations (Ministerial Council). This Code will become a model WHS Code of Practice under the Inter- Governmental Agreement for Regulatory and Operational reform in OHS when it is approved by the Ministerial Council.)



R.219: The person with management or control of plant at a workplace must ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that the plant used is specifically designed to lift or suspend the load.

If it is not reasonably practicable to use plant that is specifically designed to lift or suspend the load, the person must ensure that:

  • the plant does not cause a greater risk to health and safety than if specifically designed plant were used, and
  • if the plant is lifting or suspending persons, the use of the plant complies with regulation 220.

The person must ensure that the lifting and suspending is carried out:

  • with lifting attachments that are suitable for the load being lifted or suspended, and
  • within the safe working limits of the plant.

Planning is the first step in ensuring that lifting of a load is done safely. Planning includes:

  • developing an initial scope of work
  • selecting and getting a crane
  • planning, programming, scheduling and organising the work
  • managing the work.

Planning for crane operations must, so far as is reasonably practicable, involve consultation, co-operation and co-ordination with all people involved in the work. This may include the principal contractor, crane hirer, crane manufacturer, supplier, installer, electricity supply authority, designer such as an engineer, contractors, crane operator and crane crew.

Effective planning will help identify ways to protect people who are:

  • installing, erecting, climbing and dismantling cranes
  • directly involved in the lifting operation, including the crane operator, dogger and rigger
  • carrying out other activities at the workplace
  • in an area near the crane, including a public area.

Some issues to consider when planning for crane operations include:

  • determining scope of work and the appropriate crane for the work to be carried out
  • ensuring the ground conditions and supporting structures are adequate to support the weight of the crane and loads while conducting the planned lifts
  • ensuring the crane operator holds the relevant licence and is competent to operate the crane or cranes
  • weather conditions, e.g. the likelihood of high winds or thunderstorms
  • identifying the best location for the crane to carry out the planned lifts, e.g. where are buildings, other structures and plant at the workplace
  • ensuring there is adequate room for the crane, equipment, people and other mobile plant and vehicles to enter and exit the workplace safely
  • liaising with electricity supply authorities about control measures for working near overhead electric lines
  • ensuring there are enough people supporting safe crane operations.


The type and number of cranes should be chosen to suit the needs of the workplace and the work to be carried out. Hazards can be introduced if crane characteristics do not match the work needs and work environment.

When selecting a crane, the size and characteristics of the crane should be assessed including:

  • workplace conditions, including the ground on which the crane is to be set up, wind conditions, access roads and ramps it will travel on, space to erect it and any obstacles that may limit access or its operation
  • weights and dimensions of loads to be lifted and the locations of the loads relative to the crane
  • range of lift heights and radii from the crane and the weight of the loads to be handled at these points
  • how often and how many lifts will be made
  • length of time the crane is needed at the workplace to carry out the work
  • type of lifting to be done, e.g. precise placement of loads
  • type of carrier needed—this depends on ground conditions and machine capacity in its various operating quadrants
  • if loads are to be walked or carried
  • if loads may be suspended for a long time.

Discuss your needs with the supplier who must provide you with the following information when they supply a crane:

  •  the purpose for which the crane was designed or manufactured
  • the results of any calculations, analysis, testing or examination
  • any conditions necessary for the safe use of the crane.

If you buy a crane which requires design registration, the supplier must provide you with the plant design registration number.


R.198: A supplier of plant must:

  •  take all reasonable steps to obtain the information required to be provided by the manufacturer under section 23(4)(a) and (c) of the Act and these Regulations, and when the plant is supplied, ensure the person to whom the plant is supplied is given the information obtained by the supplier.

R.199: A supplier of second-hand plant must ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that any faults in the plant are identified.
Before plant is supplied, the supplier of second-hand plant must ensure that the person to whom the plant is supplied is given written notice of:

  • the condition of the plant
  • any faults identified, and
  • if appropriate, that the plant should not be used until the faults are rectified.

R.8: A supply of a thing does not include the supply of a thing by a person who does not control the supply and has no authority to make decisions about the supply, for example an auctioneer without possession of the thing or a real estate agent acting in their capacity as a real estate agent.

A person conducting a business or undertaking that imports, supplies or sells second hand plant has obligations to the person buying or receiving the plant, including for a crane.

The inspection and maintenance history of second-hand crane should be requested before buying the crane. Where the crane has been in service before sale and information on its condition and how to use it safely is not available a competent person, for example a qualified engineer, should be engaged by the supplier to assess the crane and develop this information.

A second hand crane, especially one obtained from overseas, may not have undergone the major inspections required by Regulation 235 and may require a major inspection before being placed into service.

Where a second-hand crane that requires plant registration is imported from overseas, the importer or supplier must have the design and item registered before it can be supplied for use.

For further information see section 25 of the WHS Act, regulations 198, 199 and 200 of the WHS Regulations and the Code of Practice: Safe Design, Manufacture, Import and Supply of Plant.


When you hire a crane you and the person you have hired it from both have duties for health and safety. During the time the crane is in your possession or operating at your workplace you will have some control over the way the crane is used. 
Anyone hiring or leasing a crane to others has duties as both a supplier of the crane and as a person with management or control of the crane at the workplace. They must ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that the crane is safe to use and properly maintained and provide specific information with the crane including on how to operate it safely.

Before you hire the crane you should check the crane is suitable your needs. If you do not have the knowledge or expertise about crane specifications, limitations and operational requirements, you should consult the crane supplier and provide all relevant information about the nature of the work, the workplace and the type of lift to enable the supplier to provide a suitable crane.

Most crane hire is a ‘wet hire’ where there person who owns the crane supplies the crane and the crane operator and crew. In these situations the hirer should be provided with the necessary information to allow them to provide a suitable crane, appropriately licensed crew, access the site, set up the crane, conduct the lifts, and leave the site safely.

If you are hiring a crane as a ‘dry’ hire and will be using your own crane operator and crew you should also check the crane has been inspected and maintained by the owner according to the manufacturer’s specifications. This may involve checking the log book or maintenance manual. You should also ensure the supplier gives you the manufacturer’s information about the purpose of the crane, its proper use and if a high risk work licence is required to operate the crane, information about which class or classes of licence the crane operator must hold.

In most cases the supplier is responsible for inspecting and maintaining the crane. If the crane is hired for an extended period of time, you and the supplier may develop arrangements for the crane to be inspected and maintained throughout the lease. This may involve the supplier coming to your workplace to maintain the crane, or you maintaining the crane while it is at your workplace.

The arrangements you make will depend on your ability to inspect and maintain the crane in accordance with the manufacturer’s specifications and WHS regulations. If you choose to maintain the crane yourself during the lease, you should provide all information and records about the maintenance to the supplier at the end of the lease.