Mobile elevating work platforms

MEWP audits and roadworthiness

Audits

WorkSafe will conduct audits on major inspection reports. These audits focus on:

  • the content and quality of the major inspection report
  • the selection and competency of people involved in the major inspection
  • the inspection of items on the MEWP that directly relate to safety outcomes when it's in use (that is, WorkSafe Tasmania will focus on the operation of the MEWP and not the general roadworthiness of the unit when used on public roads)
  • the decision making process, relating to the inspection program, undertaken by the competent person
  • compliance with inspection principles specified by the MEWP manufacturer
  • comparison to principles specified in the recognised industry standards and manufacturers specifications.  

The audits also target issues where poor maintenance of the MEWP would lead to structural collapse, instability or overturning risks.

Roadworthiness

The person with management or control of the plant who own units that are registered to travel on public roads in Tasmania must comply with requirements specified by the Department of State Growth.

For MEWPs that rely on the general roadworthiness of the vehicle for stability (that is, units with only one set of stabilisers/outriggers, spring locks or torsion bar), this should be taken into consideration and inspected.

MEWP inspection schedules

A program of inspections shall be structured and carried out on all MEWPs.

How frequent these are shall be based on recognised industry standards such as AS1418 and AS2550 series of Australian Standards and the manufacturer's requirements.

However, inspections should be at least every 12 months.

5 year inspections

After the first 5 years of service, and each and every year thereafter, inspections should be scheduled to ensure that all the critical components are inspected and tested where required by the manufacturer within 5 years, until the unit is scrapped or decommissioned.

This is known as the enhanced periodic inspection method or regime.

Inspecting the critical components can be deferred until the end of the 5th year, in which case a major inspection must be conducted.

10 year inspections

Major inspections (those that are in a recognised industry standard such as the AS 2550 series) are required:

  • where the enhanced periodic inspection regime (see above) has not been carried out and the unit has been in service for 10 years; or
  • for MEWP that are to be re-commissioned or have been imported, and do not have continuous working or maintenance records; or
  • for MEWP that have been subjected to a 10 year major inspection and have experienced 5 years subsequent service.

Intervals between major inspections

The 10 year major inspection is calculated from date of manufacture unless an in service plate stating a different date is attached to the unit by the manufacturer.

If a person with management or control of the unit wants to extend this period because of low usage, then you should obtain written confirmation from the manufacturer for the service period to be extended.

However, a major inspection will not ensure that the unit will remain in a safe condition until the next major inspection period. The person with management or control of the unit has an ongoing responsibility to ensure that their unit is inspected and maintained in compliance with the manufacturer's requirements, the laws, and the principles outlined in a recognised industry standard.

Results of inspection and maintenance programs must be kept by the person with management or control of the unit. Inspection and maintenance programs must include:

  • hourly inspection and maintenance intervals specified by the manufacturer
  • annual safety inspections criteria specified by the manufacturer other periodical inspection intervals specified by the manufacturer and industry standard.

If any of the processes above highlight a condition of an item on the MEWP that does not conform with the manufacturer's instructions, or recognised engineering practice if these do not exist, the item must be rectified before being returned to service.

Mobile crane inspections

The major inspections identified in the AS2550 series have been specified as 10 years for mechanical items and 25 years for structural items, due to the design life parameters specified in AS1418.1.

Mechanical items are subject to more regular inspections than the structural items, as mechanical items are more prone to wear and fatigue due to the large number of loading cycles they are subject to. However, the following factors need to be considered:

  • as crane manufacturers specify that both structural and mechanical components of the crane be regularly inspected to ensure the continued safe operation of the crane, the crane owner needs to comply with these conditions
  • the intent of the 25 year major inspection period for structural components specified in AS2550.1 is not to disregard the inspection of structural items for a 25 year period
  • some items on a crane do not fall neatly within the definition of 'mechanical' or 'structural' and do not readily fit the model specified in AS2550.1.

Conducting inspections

Inspections should be made by a competent person, who should identify components that require particular attention and give a written report on completion.

Their report shall include an assessment on applying the requirements of the latest version of the industry standard.

The MEWP should not be returned to service before all safety related work requiring attention has been done.

Competency of persons performing work

It is acknowledged that the competent person will rarely have all the necessary skills to sign off on work necessary for its major inspection. The successful completion of a major inspection relies on the ability of competent persons to inspect and work on the MEWP. It is critical for the unit to be re-assembled in compliance with the manufacturer's instructions and tolerances. This will include tightening bolts to within torque specifications, correctly fitting retainers and locking devices, and ensuring components are fitted in their correct orientation and position. Persons carrying out the work need to be skilled and technically competent. Equally important is the need fo r the work and procedures to be systematic and orderly this will be improved through efficient supervision both of the workers and the process. It is reasonable to expect that the competent person in charge of the work will hold the majority of the following qualifications and experience:

  • Proven experience of MEWP inspection and maintenance demonstrated through the completion of a variety of work on units;
  • Qualified in a mechanical trade background (automotive mechanic, diesel fitter, fitter and turner, etc);
  • Knowledge and understanding of the MEWP type and its method of operation;
  • Knowledge of MEWP maintenance and repair procedures documented by the manufacturer (i.e. MEWP manufacturer maintenance manuals);
  • Understanding of MEWP inspection techniques;
  • Knowledge of design and maintenance standards associated with MEWPs.

It is acknowledged that every person carrying out work on a MEWP may not hold a formal mechanical trade qualification. However, that person or the employer of that person needs to be able to demonstrate that they have a level of competence, such as experience in the field of work, consistent with the work they are performing and the quantity and quality of supervision they are receiving.

Where parts of the MEWP are sent to a third party organisation for repair or inspection, the competent person does not need to seek information about the competency of persons carrying out the work if the competent person is satisfied that the third party organisation is an industry-recognised specialist in the particular field. For example, a hydraulic motor is sent to a hydraulics specialist who disassembles the motor, replaces worn components and then checks the reassembled motor for correct operation. Written documentation that clearly states the work done and that the tests undertaken are provided by the third-party organisation for record purposes. The competent person must ensure that the work was carried out to a reasonable standard and the third party organisation has adhered to any instructions given by the competent person.

Role of the competent person

The role of a competent person is to supervise, inspect and certify, through signing off the major inspection of the MEWP, that it has been completed and can be returned to service. As all the work may not be conducted by the competent person then they must:

  • Ensuring any work done on the MEWP is consistent with the manufacturer's instructions;
  • Ensuring that any persons conducting work on the MEWP are competent;
  • Observing the inspection and repair processes to ensure they are consistent with recognised industry standards;
  • Recommending if any components will require replacement prior to the next major inspection; and
  • Specifying the level of Non-Destructive Testing (NDT) by determining the systems to be used;
    determining the number of welds, castings, pins, forgings, and machined areas that need to be tested; ensuring any system used complies with a recognised technical standard; ensuring that the person conducting the NDT are accredited or have been formally trained.

Examinations can be done by various forms of (NDT) to identify any form of critical damage incurred by fatigue or excessive stress. These include but are not limited to visual, magnetic particle, dye penetrant, x-ray eddy current, and ultrasound. A competent person must sign the final certification, identifying and certifying that the MEWP has undergone a major inspection and that it can be returned to service. How involved with the inspection a competent person undertakes largely depends on how confident they are with the competence of the persons who have been engaged to conduct specific testing and inspection procedures. A competent person will need to physically inspect the MEWP at times in addition to relying on inspection reports provided. WorkSafe will require evidence that a competent person has followed a reasonable process in order to certify the major inspection. If the competent person can reasonably presume that the work has been done properly then they can sign off the major inspection. For example, NDT performed by an accredited organisation or a formally trained person and the technical report provided, that states the testing has been done to a recognised standard.

Ensuring competency

Prior to agreeing to undertake a major inspection the competent person should have a detailed discussion with the person with management or control of the plant to ascertain who will be undertaking the dismantling, inspection and repairs of the various components and the ability of the responsible party (e.g. person(s) or organisation) to effectively carry out specified work. In determining whether the party has the ability to perform the work, it is advisable for the competent person is to request the following information:

  • Resumes for other persons involved in carrying out work on the MEWP (NB: if the competent person is satisfied that the other persons involved in carrying out work is an industry-recognised specialist in the particular field, individual resumes would not be required for those particular persons.);
  • Information regarding quality assurance systems implemented (it is acknowledged that many MEWP repairers will not have a formal accredited quality assurance system – however there should at least be some type of documented quality assurance system with sign-offs to demonstrate the work has been performed in a structured process and that there is traceability for the process).

The competent person should maintain copies of the information mentioned above in their records. This may be required upon request, by WorkSafe. At completion of the major inspection it is not the role of the competent person to certify the MEWP will be safe to operate until another major inspection, rather that he is satisfied that the MEWP is able to re-enter service and the amount of wear is within tolerances specified by the manufacturer or recognised engineering practice, if the former do not exist. The competent person is not in a position to know how the MEWP will be used or maintained over the next service period.