Crane Inspection Questions

1)  Why should my company inspect our overhead cranes and hoists?

The safety of your people is undoubtedly the most important reason that you should perform inspections frequently enough to catch potential hazards before they have a chance to result in an accident. Thorough inspections performed by trained and experienced inspectors will identify conditions that could cause injuries such as the worn load chain or broken wires in hoist load cable.

Proper inspections will identify conditions that are likely to result in a breakdown – leading to unplanned downtime and expensive emergency repairs.  The cost of inspection with proper equipment assessments will more than pay for themselves with improved productivity and reduced emergency breakdown expense.  Properly running equipment will also improve productivity and employee morale.

Thorough and frequent inspections by trained and qualified inspectors along with a good program to quickly fix all found deficiencies will reduce equipment condition based accidents to a minimum.   This will go far in reducing any potential legal liability risk of not having proper inspections.

OSHA 1910 code and ANSI B30 standards both require that cranes and hoists be inspected per their requirements.  It is the duty of the company’s appointed individual to ensure that proper inspections and repairs are performed to ensure that no safety deficiencies exist.

2)  How often do overhead cranes and hoists need to be inspected?

A hands-on periodic inspection must be performed in conjunction with an initial load test at the time the equipment is installed and before it is placed into service.  Most hoists are load tested at the factory; however, this testing does not substitute the need to perform load testing on the completed installation.  This inspection must be documented and kept on file.

Hands-on periodic inspections must be performed, by a qualified individual at intervals of monthly to annually, based upon the condition of the equipment, the environment and usage.  Many hoist manufacturers commonly require periodic inspections on their crane and hoist equipment every quarter for normal usage on a single shift.  If you are typically experiencing more than one safety deficiency on a hoist or crane between your hands-on periodic inspections, it would be advisable to increase the frequency of the periodic inspections.  This inspection must be documented and kept on file.

Frequent inspection including visual and operational checks of many items on a hoist and crane must be performed weekly to monthly,  by a designated individual.  This inspection needs to be documented and kept on file.

Monthly inspections of the load chain, load cable and hook must be performed monthly and the inspection records kept on file.

Daily / Shift inspections must be performed by an operator, knowledgeable in the equipment on a daily basis or at the beginning of each shift.

3)  What are the qualifications required to perform periodic overhead crane and hoist inspections?

OSHA requires that the individual is “qualified.”  “Qualified” means one who, by possession of a recognized degree, certificate, or professional standing, or who by extensive knowledge, training, and experience, has successfully demonstrated his ability to solve or resolve problems relating to the subject matter, the work, or the project.

CMAA spec 70 requires that a crane technician and crane inspector have a minimum of 2,000 hours of relevant work experience and training related to maintaining, inspecting, servicing, repairing and modifying cranes.

CRANE 1 believes that a qualified inspector must have adequate experience and training to be able to identify safety hazards, code related issues, operational issues as well as identify the component or part conditions requiring repair or further investigation.

4)  Do overhead cranes and hoists require load testing?

The answer to this is an absolute yes!

ANSI B30 standards covering hoists, jibs, monorails, and most single girder cranes require load testing on initial installation and also when a repair to a load bearing component has been made.  Moving the equipment would initiate another requirement for a load test.  The load test for the ANSI requirements should not exceed 125%.  A 100% load test may be adequate; however, CRANE 1 usually recommends a 125% load test.  This load test must be retained with the equipment records.

OSHA 1910.179 codes covering Double Girder Cranes and Gantrys require load testing on initial installation and also when a repair to a load bearing component has been made.  Moving the equipment would initiate another requirement for a load test.  The load test for OSHA requirement is 125% of the rated capacity.  This load test must be retained with the equipment records.

The owner is responsible for ensuring that load testing of the overhead crane system is completed. The system includes the hoist, crane, runways, columns, footings and other parts associated with the crane’s operation. Testing the entire “system” requires that everything be intact. Therefore, testing should be completed after the overhead crane is fully installed

5)  Do crane runways and monorails require inspection?

Crane and hoist runways and monorails do require thorough inspections as well an at least an annual basis.  Most crane and hoist inspections do not allow the time for a proper detailed inspection of the runway structure.  These inspections should be done separately from the crane equipment and an adequate amount of time dedicated to examining the entire structure.

Crane runway, rail, and rail fastening systems must be checked for condition and any loose or missing hardware replaced.  New fasteners must be of the proper type and torqued as necessary.  Runway girders must be examined for proper connection, damage and stress cracks and visual alignment.  Underhung hoist runways must be examined for lower flange wear.  The condition of runway tiebacks, girder seats or stools.  The condition of columns and column bases (if applicable).  The condition of runway bracing.  Condition and alignment of runway end stops.

When cranes are exhibiting skewing or high rates of weal wear an alignment survey is recommended to check the alignment, elevation, and span of the rails to the span of the crane.  These must be maintained within CMAA tolerances.