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Crane Safety: Your Responsibilities as a User

Are you planning on hiring or leasing a crane for your workplace?

As a crane user, you have a vital role to play in ensuring safety and accident prevention. In this post, we'll review your responsibilities as a user and how to work with crane owners to address foreseeable hazards and keep your team safe.

Crane at Hamilton Gardens
230 Tonne at Hamilton Gardens

PCBU or Home Owner/Volunteer Association: Who's Responsible?

First things first: it's important to know whether you're classified as a PCBU (person conducting a business or undertaking) or a homeowner/volunteer association. If you're a PCBU, you are responsible for ensuring everyone who works in your workplace has safety management systems in place and complies with them.

If you're a homeowner/volunteer association, responsibility for the work moves to the crane owner/supplier. In either case, it's important to work with the crane owner/supplier to plan the work and ensure safety at all times.

Hiring or Leasing a Crane: What to Consider

Whether you're hiring or leasing a crane, some key things must be considered to ensure safety.

When hiring a crane, provide the owner/supplier with sufficient basic information about the job, workplace conditions, restrictions, and hazards.

Work with them to provide a clear understanding of the job to be done, and if necessary, request an inspection by a competent and experienced supervisor if you have any doubt about conditions at the workplace.

Some key things to think about are:

  1. Determine your specific requirements: Analyze the scope of your project, required lifting capacity, and working conditions to select the appropriate crane type, such as mobile cranes, tower cranes, or telescopic cranes.

  2. Research local crane rental companies: Look for reputable, experienced, and licensed companies with a track record of success in your area.

  3. Compare quotes and services: Request detailed quotes from multiple providers and compare prices, services, and included equipment to ensure you get the best value for your investment.

  4. Verify operator certifications: Ensure that the crane operator has the necessary qualifications, certifications, and experience to safely and efficiently handle the equipment.

  5. Confirm insurance coverage: Check the company's insurance policies for general liability, workers' compensation, and property damage to protect yourself and your project from potential accidents or damages.

  6. Assess safety measures and protocols: Ask about the rental company's safety policies, inspection procedures, and maintenance records to ensure the crane is in top working condition.

  7. Check availability and lead time: Confirm the crane's availability and necessary lead time for delivery, setup, and dismantling to align with your project timeline.

  8. Understand contractual terms: Review the rental contract thoroughly, paying close attention to terms related to payment, cancellation, overtime fees, and equipment responsibilities.

  9. Plan for site accessibility: Ensure that the site is prepared and accessible for the crane's delivery, setup, and operation, taking into account ground conditions, space constraints, and necessary permits.

Also, consider the hazards you have on your site.

Think about:

  1. Overhead power lines: Be aware of the proximity of power lines to the work area, as contact with these can cause electrocution, fires, or equipment damage.

  2. Poor ground conditions: Uneven or unstable ground can lead to crane instability, potentially causing tip-overs or structural failure.

  3. Insufficient clearance: Ensure that you will have adequate clearance around the crane's swing radius to avoid collisions with buildings, vehicles, or other objects.

  4. Inadequate load planning: Know your load weights, dimensions, and lifting points to avoid overloading the crane or causing uncontrolled load movements.

  5. Improper rigging: Think about how the load will be rigged. Are there known lift points, or will the crane company have to identify these or provide other rigging equipment to secure loads and prevent them from falling or shifting during operations?

  6. Adverse weather conditions: Monitor weather forecasts and consider selecting a better day if the forecast is for high winds, heavy rain, lightning, or other hazardous conditions to ensure safety.

  7. Obstructed visibility: Address any visibility issues, such as blind spots, that may hinder the operator's ability to control the crane and its load safely. Do you need to move anything before the crane arrives? Can you make the setup location safer?

Identifying and addressing these common hazards can significantly reduce the risk of accidents or injuries during crane operations, ensuring a safer work environment for all involved.


If you're leasing a crane, you should identify areas of responsibility with the crane owner/supplier, as the Pressure Equipment, Cranes and Passenger Ropeway Regulations (PECPR) identifies the responsibilities for the role of the Controller. Your lease agreement may make you the Controller and move these responsibilities to you. So it is critical to check and understand your complete role in the lease.

If you're not the Controller, you may be required to provide access to the crane for servicing and annual inspections at set times. It's necessary to allow the owner and Controller to maintain the crane and ensure its safety at all times.

Planning and Communication: Keys to Accident Prevention

Most accidents can be avoided by careful job planning and communication. Work with your team to identify and address foreseeable hazards and ensure that each job is completed safely every time. The more information you can provide the crane owner/supplier about your job and where the crane will work, the better they can avoid foreseeable hazards at your site.

As part of this process, consider requiring a Lift Plan or alternate hazard management system to be in place for the Lifting activity on your site. The Crane Association of New Zealand has some great tools available for this purpose in their online shop.

Finally, remember that the crane operator has the final say with any lift. If the operator feels the lift is unsafe, they can stop it without question. By working together with the crane owner/supplier and following safety procedures, you can help prevent accidents and keep your team safe.

At McLeod, we're committed to providing safe and reliable crane services. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help with your lifting needs.

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