Materials in Motion

Crane Compliance

OSHA's mission is to assure safe workplaces by setting and enforcing standards, and  providing training, outreach, education and assistance. Employers must comply with all applicable OSHA standards. Employers must also comply with the General Duty Clause of the OSH Act, which requires employers to keep their workplace free of serious recognized hazards

Material handling is a crucial component for nearly every application in manufacturing and construction. Because material handling requires workers and operators to move large, heavy loads, National Safety Standards and OSHA Regulations have been developed to ensure careful training and extensive workplace precautions.

It is the responsibility of the end user / crane owner to ensure operations are compliant, which includes the proper installation, inspection, testing, maintenance, and operation of overhead cranes and associated lifting equipment. These factors must be in accordance with applicable ANSI/ASME B30 Safety Standards, OSHA Regulations, and ANSI-NFPA 70, National Electric Code and local regulations and laws. Furthermore, if the crane is installed as part of a total lift system, it is also the responsibility of the owner/user to comply with the applicable ANSI/ASME B30 volumes that address other types of equipment used in the system.

Ensuring that your overhead crane and lift system equipment is compliant will not only protect your business, it will also ensure that your workers are operating safely and effectively. The following list will provide a general overview of compliance issues and links for detailed explanations of OSHA standards. For more information about ensuring your overhead crane systems are OSHA compliant, please contact your local OSHA or state department representative. 

OSHA Safety and Health Regulations for Overhead Cranes in General Industry and Cranes and Derricks in Construction

Annual/Comprehensive Inspections:

OSHA mandates the inspection of overhead cranes in general industry and cranes and derricks for in construction. According to OSHA 1926 (Construction) and 1910 (General Industry), all lift equipment must be inspected by a qualified person at least every 12 months. If necessary, cranes should be disassembled to ensure proper inspection is conducted. These comprehensive inspections include:

  • The crane’s entire structure (including boom and jib).
  • All structural members: Inspectors should look for cracks, deformities, and corrosion.
  • Bolts, rivets and other fasteners: loose, failed or significantly corroded. And, welds should be checked for cracks.
  • Sheaves and drums should be inspected for wear and tear.
  • All parts such as pins, shafts, bearings, gears, rollers, and locking devices should be checked for distortion, cracks, or wear and tear.
  • Brake and clutch system parts, linings, pawls and ratchets should be inspected for excessive wear.
  • Safety devices and operational aids should be inspected for proper operation.
  • Gasoline, diesel, electric, or other power plants for safety-related problems (such as leaking exhaust and emergency shut-down feature) and conditions, and proper operation.
  • Chains and chain drive sprockets for excessive wear of sprockets and excessive chain stretch.
  • Travel steering, brakes, and locking devices, for proper operation.
  • Hydraulic, pneumatic and other pressurized hoses, fittings and tubing.
  • Hydraulic and pneumatic pumps, motors, valves, cylinders.
  • Electrical components and wiring for cracked or split insulation and loose or corroded terminations.
  • Warning labels and decals originally supplied with the equipment by the manufacturer or otherwise required under this standard: Missing or unreadable.
  • Steps, ladders, handrails, guards: Missing or in unusable/unsafe condition.

These inspections must include functional testing to determine that the equipment is functioning safely and properly. If a deficiency is identified, an immediate determination should be made by the qualified person as to whether the problem is a safety hazard or should be monitored in monthly inspections to prevent a future safety hazard. If the qualified person determines that a deficiency is a safety hazard, the equipment must be taken out of service until it has been corrected, except when temporary alternative measures are implemented. Documentation of each inspection must be maintained and kept on file for a minimum of 12 months, by the employer that conducts the inspection.

Daily Inspections:

The operator using the system should conduct daily inspections. These inspections are not as thorough or comprehensive as annual or monthly inspections, but they’re important to maintaining a safe working environment for workers using or working around overhead cranes in general industry or cranes and derricks in construction.

Daily Operator Inspection Requirements Include:

  • Tagged Crane or Hoist: Check that the crane or hoist is not tagged with an out-of-order sign.
  • Control Devices: Check that all motions agree with control device markings  (e.g., Up/Down/Reverse/Forward).
  • Brakes: Check that all motions do not have excessive drift and that stopping distances are normal.
  • Hook: Check for damage, cracks, nicks, gouges, deformity of the throat deformity of the throat opening, wear on saddle or load bearing point, and twist.
  • Hook Latch: Check that the hook latch, if provided, is not missing and that it operates properly.
  • Wire Rope: Check for broken wires, excessive wear, kinks, crushing, stretching, birdcaging, rope measuring.
  • Load Chain: Check load chain, including end connections, for excessive wear, twist, distorted links or stretch beyond the manufacturer’s recommendations.
  • Reeving: Check that the wire rope of load chain is properly reeved and that the rope of load chain parts aren’t twisted around one another. Make sure wire rope is properly seated in drum grooves.
  • Limit Switches: Check that the upper limit device stops lifting motions of the hoist load block before striking any part of the hoist or crane.
  • Oil Leaks: Check for any sign of oil leakage on the crane and on the floor beneath the crane.
  • Unusual Sounds: Check for unseal sounds such as squealing or squeaking, grinding, unusual vibration.
  • Warning and Safety Labels and Warning Devices: Check that warning and other safety labels are not missing and that they are legible. Check that audible and visual warning devices are operational.

Operator Safety and Training: 

Overhead cranes, cranes, derricks, and lifters should only be used by trained operators. It’s important that any worker tasked with the job of moving heavy materials is properly trained and able to comply with the following:

  • Avoid distractions; pay careful attention to the movement of the load and any personnel in close proximity to lift equipment.
  • Test operation of moving parts and controls at the beginning of each shift.
  • Do not overload crane or hoist. Ensure the combined weight of the system and load does not exceed the rated load capacity of the crane or hoist.
  • Refuse to operate cranes if you are unsure of any issues.
  • Make a preliminary lift of a few inches to ensure load is balanced and stable.
  • Make sure hoist rope or chain is free from twists, knots, and kinks.
  • Only take instructions from the person designated to give signals.
  • Do not lift humans or animals, and do not allow people to ride on top of a load.
  • Do not lift load higher than necessary to avoid obstructions in its path.
  • Do not allow loads to come into contact with other objects or obstructions. Be sure the path of travel is free from obstructions before moving the load.
  • Do not lift loads over people. Stay out from under the load and make sure other people remain at a safe distance.
  • Avoid sudden starts and stops.
  • Stay clear while moving a load. Do not allow load to swing. Use a rod to push load or a tag line to pull the load. Be sure to keep the load level.
  • Always lower load to ground to check its stability before leaving the area.
  • Make sure the crane is properly stored after use.

It is a responsibility of the Owner/User to require all personnel who install, inspect, test, maintain, and operate a crane or associated lifting equipment to read and to comply with the contents of the instruction manuals furnished by the manufacturer of the crane or associated lifting equipment, and the applicable portions of the volume of the ANSI/ASME B30 Safety Standard, OSHA Regulations, and the ANSI/NFPA 70, National Electric Code. If the crane or associated lifting equipment is installed as part of a total lifting system, the applicable ANSI/ASME B30 volumes that address other types of equipment used in the systems must also be read and followed by all personnel.

Kristina Harman

Technical Writer | Spanco.com

Kristina Harman is the senior technical writer and content manager for Spanco, Inc. Kristina has twelve years of experience in content development, technical communications, and copyediting. She holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in English from Towson University and a Master of Education Certification in English from Johns Hopkins University. She is a member of the Society for Technical Communication and the American Medical Writers Association.

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