The warning follows an incident in the Scottish Port of Aberdeen when the boom of a conventional mobile crane “snapped ”
The use of general purpose mobile cranes is widespread in the port industry, but they are usually deployed for low volume, specific tasks, such as assisting with infrastructure maintenance work, repairs, etc, as well as "occasional" lifts.
They are readily available, often on a "spot" rental basis, and much cheaper than a specialist mobile harbour crane.
However, these cranes are seldom built with constant cycling such as container handling in mind. Earlier this year the HSE investigated a case in Aberdeen where a crane boom “fractured” suddenly and collapsed onto a vessel, fortunately with no injury.
Upon examination the boom was found to have “extensive fatigue racking”. The crane was three years old and had performed in excess of 117,000 lifts.
In its letter the HSE advised: “The design standard for the mobile crane manufactured in 2006 was BSEN13000:2004. This standard referenced a German Standard DIN15018-3 with respect to the in-service design life and gave a design life of 25,000 lift cycles. Thus the incident crane had significantly exceeded the manufacturer’s design life.”
“Where a large number of high cycle lifting operations are to be undertaken, consideration should be given to the type of crane to be selected. Mobile harbour cranes, portal jib cranes or overhead bridge and gantry cranes may be more suitable for high cycle lifting operations than a conventional mobile crane.”