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There are a number of equipment maintenance management techniques that can be employed, including “Breakdown Maintenance” where maintenance is only carried out after faults or failures have occurred, and “Planned Preventive Maintenance” which involves routine inspection replacing parts and consumables or making necessary adjustments at preset intervals, so that risks do not occur as a result of the deterioration or failure of the equipment.


In the case of tower cranes the “Breakdown” approach is inappropriate, as any failure presents an immediate risk. The Best Practice Guidance is therefore the “Planned Preventive Maintenance” management technique.


Maintenance of tower cranes should be managed in the same way as any other business activity as, if not carried out effectively, it can have severe financial and safety implications for a business. An effective management structure is required to ensure that everyone involved in the maintenance activity is aware of their responsibilities, properly briefed on their duties and that systems are in place to enable effective feedback, including the monitoring of maintenance data.


Maintenance of tower cranes should be managed in the same way as any other business activity as, if not carried out effectively, it can have severe financial and safety implications for a business. An effective management structure is required to ensure that everyone involved in the maintenance activity is aware of their responsibilities, properly briefed on their duties and that systems are in place to enable effective feedback, including the monitoring of maintenance data.


Once a tower crane has been erected on a site, the user of the crane has a duty to ensure that it is adequately maintained. The actual undertaking of the maintenance is often delegated to the crane owner by the user; the user however, retains the responsibility for ensuring that the maintenance is carried out.


Clear lines of responsibility for maintenance operations should be established from Board level downwards, ensuring that those appointed and responsible have sufficient knowledge and experience to carry out their duties in a way which will ensure that risks are properly controlled.


Each tower crane should have a documented preventive maintenance schedule which is targeted at the parts of the equipment where failure or deterioration could lead to health and safety risks and which specifies the frequency of inspection and 3 test of relevant parts, taking account of the manufacturer’s instructions, the age of the crane and its in-use history.


Tower crane owners may not have access to expert professional engineering advice in-house. If this is the case arrangements should be made for securing such advice externally where this is necessary for the purposes of health and safety and clear guidelines should be established for when this advice should be sought.


For a preventive maintenance system to be fully effective it is essential that comprehensive records of daily checks, intermediate inspections, breakdown reports, maintenance work sheets (including details of parts replacement) and reports of thorough examination are kept. These should be filed in an individual machine history file which should be kept for the life of the crane.


An extremely important aspect of a planned preventive maintenance system is the continuous and systematic review of all maintenance records, inspection reports and reports of thorough examination to ensure that the maintenance is effective, defects are found and worn components are replaced well in advance of any possible failure. Should this review indicate that maintenance is not fully effective, the frequency may have to be increased and maintenance practices amended.


Maintenance should only be carried out by those who are competent and have adequate training and information to carry out the work required. A number of general maintenance training courses and qualifications are available for personnel carrying out and supervising maintenance operations.


All maintenance personnel should have received machine specific training, traceable to the tower crane manufacturer, before carrying out maintenance tasks on any tower crane.


Maintenance operations on tower cranes require adequate facilities and equipment to enable them to be carried out effectively, efficiently and safely. The size and sophistication of the facilities will depend on the degree of maintenance tasks to be carried out.


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