Mobile cranes – braking systems

Overview


Red tape issue

Victoria, through an alert issued by WorkSafe, maintains a requirement for businesses to only use cranes with secondary braking systems when lifting somebody in a workbox, and to have a brake acting directly on the hoist drum. Businesses indicate that these requirements prevent them from lifting somebody in a workbox using modern cranes that have two brakes in their hoist winch system. The first brake is known as the operational brake and is hydraulically activated when the crane is in use.  The hydraulic pressure in the system holds the winch drum until the valve is opened to move the winch clockwise or anti-clockwise.  This allows for smooth operation of the winch with minimal wear to components. The second brake is a multidisc brake that is spring activated.  This second brake acts as a parking brake and an emergency brake should the first brake lose hydraulic pressure. The spring activation is fail-safe. 

Due to the Worksafe requirement, Victorian crane businesses indicate that they must use older style truck cranes fitted with friction type brakes, and install an additional aftermarket brake on the drum, in order to lift somebody in a workbox.

Current status

Subject to consultation with industry stakeholders, Worksafe will update the alert  to clarify that designers may comply with their OHS duties in respect of this matter by demonstrating that they have provided an equivalent, or higher level of safety to that outlined in AS 1418.1 – Cranes, hoists and winches, Part 1: General requirements.