Mobile Cranes

Mobile cranes have serious potential on the safety of employees and damage to property if they are not operated properly and safely. Employers, mobile crane operators and employees all have their responsibilities to ensure mobile cranes are used safely.

What is a mobile crane?

A mobile crane is considered a hoisting apparatus as it is part of the definition of hoisting apparatus . The scope of the CAN/CSA-Z150.98 "Safety Code on Mobile Cranes" states that a mobile crane has the following characteristics:

  • Is comprised of or is mounted on a non- or self-propelled crawler or wheel mounted mobile base.
  • Its primary function is to hoist or lower loads by means of tackle suspended from a boom.
  • Its boom is lattice or telescopic and able to be raised and lowered in the vertical plane and rotated from side to side in the horizontal plane.
  • The tackle is suspended from the boom and can be increased or diminished in length.
  • The crane uses an engine or motor to accomplish the above.

A mobile crane includes a conventional crawler crane, a conventional truck crane, an all-terrain crane, a hydraulic truck crane and a boom truck crane.

Requirements for mobile cranes can be found in the General Regulations under Hoisting apparatus, starting at section 207 and also under the Mobile Cranes section starting at section 213. Some sections of the hoisting apparatus apply only to mobile cranes while some sections exclude them. Below the requirements for employers, operators and employees are summarized:

As an employer, you must ensure that:

  • The mobile crane is designed, installed, erected, checked, examined, inspected, operated and maintained in accordance with CSA standard: Z150-98, "Safety Code on Mobile Cranes" .
  • The mobile crane is sufficiently strong and stable for the intended lift and that it is equipped with suitable ropes, chains, slings, hooks and other fittings.
  • A competent employee is designated to be a signaller to direct the safe movement and operation of a mobile crane.
  • A mobile crane has a cab, screen or other protection; is equipped with the appropriate load limit brakes; has two-blocking damage protection or audible warning device; has safety devices and limit switches; and, has a boom angle indicator.
  • Where a mobile crane is operated in an area with less than 600mm swing clearance, barriers are installed to prevent people from entering the area.
  • The load chart from the manufacturer is kept with the crane.
  • The mobile crane is used only for the purposes it was designed, is operated by a competent person, and the load is secured.
  • The mobile crane is equipped with brakes, horn, rear-view mirror, back-up alarm ( if wheel mounted), motion detector ( if crawler mounted), head and tail lights, guards, controls that cannot be operated from outside the cab (unless designed as such), and three point contact to access cab
  • The mobile crane is inspected every 12 months by an engineer , or competent person supervised by an engineer, in accordance with CSA standard Z150-98 "Safety Code on Mobile Cranes" .
  • A copy of the certification is available to the operator when in the cab and is available to an officer on request.
  • An operator's log is prepared and maintained for each mobile crane, and the log is kept in the cab.
  • A crane log is prepared and maintained.
  • No person performs maintenance or repairs on, or goes under, a raised crane unless it is blocked.
  • No person makes changes to a mobile crane that makes a safety device or limit switch ineffective.
  • The use of a mobile crane is not allowed if the crane has been altered unless the alteration has been certified in writing by the manufacturer or an engineer.
  • A rubber tired mobile crane is equipped with stabilizers, where designed, and the operator has been trained.
  • When moving a mobile crane from one location to another under its own power that precautions are taken to prevent the boom from swinging, and where the operator has restricted vision, a signaller is present.
  • That the mobile crane does not come closer than the minimum safe clearances to a utility line. If there isn't enough clearance contact the utility provider.
Phase to Phase Voltage of Energized Electrical
Utility Line or Utility Line Equipment Distance
Up to 750 v 900 mm
750 v - 100,000 v 3.6 m
100,001 v - 250,000 v 5.2 m
250,001 v - 345,000 v 6.1 m

As the operator, you must:

  • Ensure the load does not exceed its safe working load.
  • Follow the direction from the designated signaller when your vision is restricted.
  • Raise a load vertically unless it is necessary to raise a load obliquely.
  • Not carry a load over any person or leave a suspended load unattended where persons may be under the load.
  • Use one or more guide ropes to control the load when a pendulum effect may create a hazard.
  • Not allow anyone to ride on the crane unless it is designed to carry passengers.
  • Not set a crane in motion until air and hydraulic pressures are fully operating.
  • Follow a safe refuelling procedure.
  • Not store containers of gasoline or other flammable substances in the cab.
  • Not carry loose articles in the cab that may become a hazard.
  • Keep the crane in gear when travelling downhill.
  • When leaving the crane unattended:
    • Secure it against movement
    • Set the brake
    • Do not leave a load suspended
    • Engage the swing lock and swing brake
    • Leave the controls in neutral
    • Disengage the master clutch
    • Stop the engine
    • Remove the key
  • Visually inspect the crane daily before work. If there is more than one operator on a crane in a day, each operator must visually inspect the crane before beginning work.
  • Visually inspect all components that affect the safe operation of the crane.
  • Record your inspection results (including deficiencies) in your log. Your log must be kept with the crane.
  • Not use a mobile crane if the crane has been altered unless the alteration has been certified in writing by the manufacturer or an engineer.

General Regulation - Occupational Health and Safety Act
N.B. Reg. 91-191

Part XV MATERIALS HANDLING EQUIPMENT AND PERSONNEL CARRYING EQUIPMENT

Section 207 Hoisting Apparatus

207. (1) An employer shall ensure that a hoisting apparatus is

(a) sufficiently strong and stable for the intended lift, and

(b) equipped with suitable ropes, chains, slings, hooks and other fittings,

so as to ensure the safety of a person who uses the apparatus or works in its vicinity.

(2) An employer shall ensure that hoisting apparatus is designed, installed, erected, checked, examined, inspected, operated and maintained in accordance with the appropriate following CSA standards:

(a) B167-1964, "General Purpose Electric Overhead Travelling Cranes";

(b) B167-96, "Safety Standard for Maintenance and Inspection of Overhead Cranes, Gantry Cranes, Monorails, Hoists, and Trolleys";

(c) C22.2 No. 33-M1984, "Construction and Test of Electric Cranes and Hoists";

(d) Z248-1975, "Code for Tower Cranes";

(e) Z150-98, "Safety Code on Mobile Cranes".

(3) Subsection (2) applies with the necessary modifications to a person who owns a hoisting apparatus.

[N.B. Reg. 98-78, s. 2; 2001-33, s. 61]

Section 209

209. (1) An employer shall ensure that a hoisting apparatus is not subjected to a load in excess of its safe working load.

(2) An operator of a hoisting apparatus shall not subject the hoisting apparatus to a load in excess of its safe working load.

Section 211

211. (1) An employer shall ensure that an operator of a hoisting apparatus follows the procedures prescribed in subsection (2).

(2) An operator of a hoisting apparatus shall

(a) visually inspect the hoisting apparatus before use to verify that it is in safe working order,

(b) where the operator has restricted vision, including restricted vision of electrical utility lines, move a load only on a signal from a signaller designated under section 212,

(c) raise a load vertically unless it is necessary to raise a load obliquely,

(d) when raising a load obliquely, ensure that the hoisting apparatus is suitable for lifting a load at an oblique angle and that any pendulum effect does not constitute a hazard to persons working in the vicinity,

(e) not carry a load over any person,

(f) not leave a suspended load unattended if a person may be in the area under the load, and

(g) ensure that where a pendulum effect may constitute a hazard to persons working in the vicinity, one or more guide ropes are used to control the load.

[N.B. Reg. 2001-33, s. 66]

Section 212

212. An employer shall designate a competent employee to be a signaller to direct, by means of visual or auditory signals, the safe movement and operation of a hoisting apparatus by an operator, and shall ensure that the signaller

(a) is readily identifiable by the operator,

(b) governs the movement of a load by a well understood distinctive code of signals or another effective communication system,

(c) obtains the assistance of another signaller if part of the view of the load is obstructed from both the signaller and the operator, and

(d) verifies that all ropes, chains, slings or other attachments are properly applied to the load and secured to the hooks of the hoisting apparatus and that the area is clear before signalling to move the load.

Section 213 Mobile Cranes

213. (1) An employer shall ensure that a mobile crane

(a) has a cab, screen, canopy guard or other adequate protection for the operator of the crane if the operator may be exposed to the hazard of falling material,

(b) is equipped with load limit brakes capable of effectively braking the load being lifted,

(b.1) has a two-blocking damage prevention mechanism or an audible device that warns the operator of an impending two-block condition,

(c) has safety devices and limit switches installed and used as specified by the manufacturer, and

(d) has a boom angle indicator clearly visible to the operator.

(1.1) Paragraph (1)(a) does not apply to mobile cranes with controls that are externally mounted outside the cab.

(2) Where a mobile crane is being operated in an area where the swing clearance of any obstruction is less than 600 mm, an employer shall ensure that barriers are installed to prevent a person from entering the area.

[N.B. Reg. 2001-33, s. 67]

Section 213.1

213.1 An employer shall ensure that a load chart from the manufacturer of a mobile crane is kept with the crane and is accessible to the operator when operating the crane.

[N.B. Reg. 2001-33, s. 68]

Section 213.11

213.11 An employer shall ensure that a mobile crane

(a) is used only for the purposes for which it is designed and equipped,

(b) is operated by a competent person,

(c) is equipped with adequate chassis brakes,

(d) is equipped with a manually operated horn,

(e) has a rear-view mirror or other means of ensuring that the equipment can be safely manoeuvred back and forth,

(f) when wheel mounted, is equipped with an audible back-up alarm that operates automatically when the equipment is in reverse and that is clearly audible above the background noise,

(g) when crawler mounted, is equipped with an audible motion detector that operates automatically when the crane is in motion and that is clearly audible above the background noise,

(h) is equipped with adequate headlights and tail lights when used after dark or in dimly lit areas,

(i) has gears and moving parts adequately guarded,

(j) has controls that cannot be operated from outside the cab unless the controls are designed to be operated from outside the cab,

(k) has any load on it adequately secured, and

(l) is provided with a three point contact to access the operator's cab.

[N.B. Reg. 2001-33, s. 68]

Section 213.2

213.2 (1) An operator of a mobile crane shall

(a) ensure that a person does not ride on any part of the crane not designed to carry passengers,

(b) not set a crane in motion until all air and hydraulic pressures are fully built up to specified operating pressures,

(c) follow a safe refueling procedure,

(d) not store containers of gasoline, diesel oil or other flammable substances in the cab,

(e) not carry loose articles in the cab that would pose a hazard to the safe operation of the crane, and

(f) keep the crane in gear when going downhill.

(2) An operator of a mobile crane shall, when leaving the crane unattended,

(a) secure it against movement,

(b) set the brake,

(c) not leave a load suspended,

(d) engage the swing lock and swing brake,

(e) leave the controls in neutral,

(f) disengage the master clutch,

(g) stop the engine, and

(h) remove the key.

[N.B. Reg. 2001-33, s. 68]

Section 213.21

213.21 (1) An employer shall ensure that a mobile crane is inspected every twelve months by an engineer or a competent person who is supervised by an engineer.

(2) An engineer referred to in subsection (1) shall certify in writing that the inspection complies with the requirements of subsection (4) and that the crane is in safe working order.

(3) A certification under subsection (2) shall provide details on the conditions under which the mobile crane was inspected.

(4) An engineer referred to in subsection (1) shall ensure that the inspection under subsection (1), including a visual weld inspection, is conducted in accordance with the requirements of clause 4.3.5.1 of CSA standard Z150-98 , "Safety Code on Mobile Cranes".

(5) An employer may accept a certification from an engineer in another jurisdiction with respect to a mobile crane if the crane has been inspected and certified in that jurisdiction in accordance with subsection (2) and the certification would otherwise be valid under this section.

(6) An employer shall ensure that a copy of the certification provided under this section is accessible to the operator when in the cab and is available to an officer on request.

(7) An employer shall ensure that a mobile crane that

(a) does not have a certification that meets the requirements of subsection (2), is inspected and certified under this section no later than twelve months after the commencement of this provision, and

(b) has a certification that meets the requirements of subsection (2), is inspected and certified no later than twelve months after the date of the certification.

[N.B. Reg. 2001-33, s. 68]

Section 213.31

213.31 (1) An operator of a mobile crane shall visually inspect the mobile crane daily before commencing work with the crane.

(2) If more than one operator uses a mobile crane in the course of a day or if the crane is used on more than one shift, each operator shall visually inspect the crane before commencing work with the crane.

(3) A visual inspection under this section shall be of all components that have a direct bearing on the safe operation of the crane and whose status may change from day to day with use and shall include, but is not limited to,

(a) where practicable, all rope reeving, including load lines, jib suspension, boom hoist and mid-point suspension, for compliance with the crane and wire rope manufacturer's specifications,

(b) all control mechanisms, before operation, for maladjustments or malfunctions interfering with proper operation,

(c) all control mechanisms for excessive wear of components and contamination by lubricants or other foreign matter,

(d) all safety devices for malfunction,

(e) all air, hydraulic, lubricating and cooling systems for deterioration or leakage,

(f) electrical apparatus for malfunction, signs of excessive deterioration, dirt, icing or moisture accumulation,

(g) all exposed hydraulic hoses, particularly those that flex during the operation of the crane,

(h) hooks and latches, for deformation, chemical and heat damage, cracks and wear,

(i) the hydraulic system for proper oil level,

(j) swivels for freedom of rotation,

(k) clutches, brakes and attachments for malfunctions,

(l) where practicable, outriggers for their ability to retract and extend and to bear the load,

(m) outrigger boxes for structural damage,

(n) tires for recommended pressure,

(o) where practicable, all running ropes for any appreciable loss of original strength as indicated by general corrosion, broken or cut strands and visible broken wiresand for distortion of the rope, such as kinking, crushing, unstranding, birdcaging, main-strand displacement or core protrusion,

(p) where practicable, rotation-resistant ropes and boom-hoist ropes, to ascertain any damage or deterioration, and

(q) where practicable, all points of rapid deterioration, such as flange points, crossover points and repetitive pickup points on drums.

(4) An operator who conducts a visual inspection under this section shall forthwith record the results of the inspection in an operator's log kept for the crane, and shall also record any deficiencies in the crane log.

(5) An employer shall ensure that an operator's log is prepared and maintained for each mobile crane so as to provide each operator with the results of previous visual inspections of the crane by an operator, and shall ensure that the log is kept in the cab of the mobile crane.

[N.B. Reg. 2001-33, s. 68]

Section 213.4

213.4 (1) An employer shall ensure that a crane log is prepared and maintained for each mobile crane to provide the owner, employer and operator with a complete machine history for the crane.

(2) A crane log referred to in subsection (1)

(a) shall be designed to provide the information in a logical and chronological sequence,

(b) shall show in detail all inspections, tests, maintenance, repairs, revisions and modifications carried out on the crane,

(c) shall show the date on which work was performed on the crane, and by whom, together with the total hours of service recorded on the machine up to that time,

(d) shall have all entries dated and signed by the person carrying out the work on the crane,

(e) shall record in detail all incidents or misadventures, all damage sustained, and subsequent repairs, and

(f) shall include details of boom sections designed and manufactured by someone other than the crane's original equipment manufacturer.

[N.B. Reg. 2001-33, s. 68]

Section 213.41

213.41 (1) Where an employee is performing maintenance or repairs on a mobile crane that is raised from the ground by means of jacks or hoists, other than outriggers or stabilizers, an employer shall ensure that the mobile crane is adequately blocked.

(2) An employer shall ensure that an employee does not work under or go under the raised parts of a mobile crane unless the parts are adequately blocked, or the crane is raised by its outriggers or stabilizers, and no employee shall work under or go under such raised parts unless the parts are adequately blocked, or the crane is raised by means of its outriggers or stabilizers.

[N.B. Reg. 2001-33, s. 68]

Section 213.5

213.5 (1) No person shall alter a mobile crane in such a way as to render ineffective a safety device or limit switch installed on the crane.

(2) Notwithstanding subsection (1), a person may alter a mobile crane to render ineffective a safety device or limit switch installed on the crane if the alteration is certified in writing by the manufacturer of the device or switch, or an engineer, as affording protection equal to or greater than the protection afforded by the safety device or limit switch.

(3) An operator shall not use, and an employer shall not permit to be used, a mobile crane if the crane has been altered so as to render ineffective a safety device or limit switch installed on the crane.

(4) Subsection (3) does not apply where the alteration has been certified in writing by the manufacturer of the safety device or limit switch, or an engineer, as affording protection equal to or greater than the protection provided by the safety device or limit switch.

[N.B. Reg. 2001-33, s. 68]

Section 214

214. (1) An employer shall ensure that a rubber tired mobile crane is equipped with stabilizers and that the operator of the crane has sufficient training and information to be able to determine when stabilizers should be used.

(2) Subsection (1) does not apply if the mobile crane is designed to be used without stabilizers.

(3) When operating a rubber tired mobile crane without using stabilizers, an operator shall work in accordance with the load chart designed for operating without stabilizers.

(4) When operating a rubber tired mobile crane using stabilizers, an operator shall ensure that the stabilizers are extended as required by the manufacturer and placed on pads of sufficient size to prevent movement.

[N.B. Reg. 2001-33, s. 69]

Section 215

215. Where a mobile crane is moving from one location to another under its own power, an employer shall

(a) ensure that precautions are taken to prevent the boom from swinging, and

(b) where the operator has restricted vision, have a signaller designated under section 212 guide the movement of the crane.

[N.B. Reg. 2001-33, s. 70]

Section 233 General

233. (1) An employer shall ensure that an employee who operates a hoisting apparatus, industrial lift truck, powered mobile equipment or aerial device complies with the appropriate provisions of Part XIX.

(2) An employee who operates a hoisting apparatus, industrial lift truck, powered mobile equipment or aerial device shall comply with the appropriate provisions of Part XIX.