Overhead Crane Inspection – The Ultimate Guide

Overhead cranes are used to move bulky and heavy objects that basic material handling methods can’t handle. They feature a railed support structure called the bridge, and a wheeled trolley that’s fitted across the bridge. There are several types of overhead cranes including; cantilever gantry, storage bridge, storage wall bridge, and semi-gantry.

OSHA stipulates requirements for overhead crane safety discussed in Section 29 CFR, about Standards which is explicitly outlined in article 1910.179 for overhead and gantry cranes. This document specifies design, inspection, maintenance, and operations requirements for overhead crane inspection.

A complete inspection of the overhead crane, as detailed in this article, will provide an extra layer of protection over a typical review, which only covers the elements that are subject to wear and tear. This guide also looks at what should be inspected daily on your overhead crane even the standby machines before returning them to use.

Daily Overhead Crane Inspection

Although only a qualified person should perform the OSHA required repair and maintenance on an overhead crane system, the crane operators are required to carry out daily inspections, before and after using the crane. Daily inspection checklists should be utilized and signed to ensure a thorough and efficient assessment.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration refer to this inspection as a safety measure. OSHA states, “The safety check (daily inspection) must assess the condition of the cranes and hoists at the start of every shift.” In addition, visual assessments are mandatory but are limited to sections that can be examined from a catwalk, the floor, and other safe observation points.

During a daily overhead crane inspection, the operator should ensure that:

  • They know where the overhead crane disconnect button is located
  • There is no warning sign around or on the push button pendant.
  • Employees aren’t conducting their tasks nearby.
  • Load can move freely or with no impediments.
  • No obstructions around or in the path where the load will be transported and that the location of the crane is large enough to place and move materials safety.
  • Hooks are designed for the overhead crane while in use and can effectively lift loads.
  • Load capacity is equal or less than the recommended capacity of the crane.

Periodic Overhead Crane Inspection

A complete overhead crane inspection also called “periodic inspection,” should be conducted at regular intervals as suggested in the user manual or OSHA guidelines. The frequency of the inspection depends upon the crane’s environment, the frequency of service, or the particular activity the crane is lifting.

While carrying out the inspection, the following should be checked:

  • Loose rivets or bolts.
  • Corroded, cracked, deformed members.
  • Worn or cracked drums and sheaves.
  • Distorted, broken, worn parts such as shafts, rollers, bearings, pins, locking, clamping devices, and gears.
  • Excessive wear on linings, ratchets, brake system, and pawls.
  • Electric, diesel, gasoline, or other power sources for improper performance.

Cranes not in use

  • According to OSHA, an overhead crane that hasn’t been in use for one month or more, but less than six months, should be inspected before use.
  • OSHA recommends that a crane that hasn’t been used for over six months should undergo a thorough inspection.
  • Standby cranes should also be checked at least once per year.

Benefits of Overhead Crane Inspection

An inspection brings the following advantages:

  • Lower the probability for liability.
  • Increase safety.
  • Enhances productivity by reducing unplanned downtime and costs
  • Increase crane’s life.

Lastly, proper inspection and maintenance of overhead cranes ensure that the companies is in full compliance with OSHA guidelines.


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