While only designated personnel may perform required maintenance and repairs on overhead crane systems, the crane operator should conduct inspections on a daily basis before and after use. A daily inspection checklist should be used and signed off on to ensure an effective and thorough assessment.
OSHA 1910.179 refers to this daily inspection as a safety check. According to OSHA, the safety check must include all hoists and cranes prior to use at the beginning of each shift. Furthermore, visual assessments must be limited to areas that can be inspected from the floor, a catwalk, or other safe observation point.
The following is a list of daily operator inspection requirements as outlined by OSHA 1910.179 and ANSI B30.2.
Each time an operator uses a workstation bridge crane or monorail system, he or she must first visually inspect the system and note any obvious abnormalities.
To begin, it’s always a good idea to do a quick area checkout:
- Know where the crane disconnect switch is located.
- Verify there are no warning signs on or around the push button pendant.
- Make sure other workers aren't performing their duties nearby.
- Ensure that the load can travel freely or without impediments.
- Ensure there are no obstructions in or around the area where the load will be moved, and that the area is large enough to move and place materials safely.
- Check that all below-the-hook devices are designed for the crane in use and can safely lift loads.
- Ensure that the load capacity is less than or equal to the rated capacity of the crane.
After conducting a preliminary area checkout, the crane operator can inspect the overhead crane itself for any potential malfunctions or safety hazards.
Operators can use the following daily checklist to ensure their overhead crane system is functioning safely and effectively.
Daily Inspection Checklist:
- Tagged Crane or Hoist: Check to ensure the crane or hoist isn’t tagged out or out of order.
- Signs & Labels: Check for proper capacity labels. Ensure that all labels are legible from the ground, and that warning signs are in place.
- Nuts, Bolts, Screws: Check for loose bolts, nuts, screws, and rivets.
- Pins, Bearings, Gears, & Rollers: Check for worn or distorted parts.
- Endstops & Cotter Pins: Check endstops and cotter pins for abnormal wear or breakage.
- Hoist Trolley: Check the hoist trolley for abnormal wear or breakage; ensure there are no loose or damaged parts. Check that the trolley and bridge are on-track and functioning smoothly.
- Track and Supports: Check that all track splices are properly aligned, and ensure that there are no loose, broken, or damaged parts on the bridge or runway. Inspect fasteners and connections, and look for any potential structural damage, cracks, loose items, corroded members, and wear.
- Control Devices: Check that control devices are accurate, e.g., pressing the up button should motion the crane/hoist upwards. Verify that the pushbutton pendant controls are not sticking, worn, or damaged (check for cracks, torn parts, or missing labels).
- Brakes: Ensure the bridge and trolley motor brakes operate properly. Check that crane travel doesn’t drift excessively and that stopping distances are normal (approximately 10 percent of high-speed travel). For hoist brakes, no drift is permitted at all.
- Limit Switch: Check for any deteriorated electrical components, such as pushbuttons, limit switches or contactors. Ensure that the upper limit switch is functioning properly.
- Oil Leakage: Check for any oil leaks or pooling.
- Miscellaneous: Check that air or hydraulic lines are in working condition, and that any below-the-hook devices are in good condition.
Effective daily safety inspections are essential to the maintenance of any overhead crane system. It’s important to create a safety regimen following the inspection checklist listed above, and to stop using the crane immediately if any malfunction, unusual noises or movements are detected.
Note: OSHA regulates overhead crane safety through 29 CFR 1910.179, overhead and gantry cranes. This regulation covers general requirements, design, inspection, maintenance requirements and operations. Additionally, all overhead cranes installed after August 31, 1971, must meet the specifications of the American National Standard Institute (ANSI) / American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) Safety Code for Overhead and Gantry Cranes, ANSI B30.2