The lifting devices are designed and manufactured to withstand a maximum number of load cycles or hours of operation, beyond which structural fatigue phenomena may arise in the components, or injuries to the material (such as cracks, etc.), not always visible, which at each load cycle are amplified, causing the weakening of structural sections with consequent possible failures.

The additional examination, also referred to as structural examination or 20-year inspection, consists in the thorough examination of the above-mentioned appliances by an experienced engineer in order to identify wear and tear and anomalies that may occur during use and to determine the remaining working life during which the machine can still be operated safely.

For some appliances that are more than 20 years old, it is necessary to submit a report of an additional examination before carrying out the periodic inspections in accordance with Art. 71 of Legislative Decree 81/08, namely,

  • mobile cranes: lorry mounted crane, breakdown crane, self-propelled cart with telescopic crane arm and hook;
  • cranes transferable: tower cranes;
  • Mobile lifting platforms on carts (air platforms).


However, according to art. 71, section 8, decree-law 81/08 the employer is also required to examine all other types of lifting equipment (overhead cranes, jib cranes, etc.) in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions and, if none are available, according to best practice or guidelines. Consequently, the following issues should be taken into account,

  • the frequency indicated in the instructions for use supplied by the manufacturer;
  • the frequency indicated in the relevant technical reference standards;
  • the state of preservation and usage.

In the instructions for use the manufacturer often indicates that the inspection should be carried out every 10 years (ten years). Without such inspection, the manufacturer will decline all responsibility for failures, accidents, etc. and the employer’s position will be made more difficult.

With regard to technical standards, according to point 4.7 of UNI ISO 9927-1 and point 6.2 of ISO 12482-1 the following in-depth examinations are to be carried out,

  • if there is an increase in the frequency of identified defects;
  • if, subsequent to regular maintenance, there is an important deterioration of the machine;

and, in any case,

  • not later than after ten years for tower cranes and mobile cranes;
  • not later than after 20 years for all the other cranes.

As far as the use of the machine is concerned, an intended application is defined in the contract with the manufacturer, which determines a number of projected life cycles. If this limit is approaching, the examination should in any case be carried out even before the age of 10 or 20 years is.

Nevertheless, in case of an inspection by an authority such as ASL/ARPA/Authorised Private Subject Inspection, the examiner may require such an inspection no matter how old the machines are, if their condition is not satisfactory. 

How is the inspection carried out?

  • Verification of the existing documentation: ENPI/ISPESL/INAIL records, operating and maintenance instructions, installation schemes, etc.;
  • evaluation of the control register (or, if not available, assistance in completing it) where all ordinary and extraordinary maintenance activities, exceptional events, etc. are recorded. (Art. 71 paragraphs 4 and 9 of decree-law no. 81/2008);
  • visual inspection of the structure in order to highlight damage due to fatigue, wear, corrosion, etc;
  • performing possible non-destructive tests (magnetoscopic testing and/or liquid penetration test) by a Level II technician in accordance with UNI EN 473, in order to examine the actual condition of the metal structure and to detect possible defects in the welds and structural elements, including below the surface, and defects in bolted connections, etc.;
  • historical-statistical evaluation of the lifting cycles in relation to the output provided during the life of the machine (data to be collected with the user);
  • preparation of a technical report on the state of the machine with calculation of the residual life in accordance with UNI 9927-1:1997 and applicable technical standards with indication of any non-conformities and corrective actions to be taken.

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