Materials in Motion

Overhead Crane Inspection Classifications

To meet OSHA 1910.179 and ANSI/ASME B30.2 guidelines for comprehensive overhead crane safety, it’s important that all three inspection guidelines are followed closely.

Initial Inspection—Pre-Service Operational Testing and Load Testing:

According to OSHA, the first inspection classification is your initial crane inspection, which requires a qualified person to inspect all new and altered cranes prior to initial use. For the safety and efficiency of your workers and workplace, it’s important to determine that new or newly modified lifting equipment is in safe working order before it’s put into service. To complete a thorough initial crane inspection, one must closely inspect the following items:

  • Hoisting and lowering: Hoist motion is defined by OSHA as the motion of a crane that raises and lowers a load.
  • Trolley and bridge travel: Bridge and trolley travel controls must be located where the operator can readily face the direction of travel
  • Limit switches, locking, and safety devices: The trip setting of hoist limit switches must be determined using an empty hook traveling at increasing speeds until it reaches the maximum. The actuating mechanism of the limit switch must be located to trip the switch under all conditions and with sufficient time to prevent contact of the hook or hook block with any part of the trolley.
  • Rated load test: Test loads should not be more than 125 percent of the rated load, and test reports should be placed on file and readily available to appointed personnel.

This initial inspection also applies to reinstalled and repaired cranes. However, inspections of repaired and modified cranes may be limited to the provisions affected by the actual alteration, repair, or modification. This distinction should be determined by a qualified person. All inspection reports for initial use should be dated, signed, and kept on file should they be needed at a later date.

Frequent Inspection—Daily to Monthly Intervals

According to OSHA, operators or other designated personnel should visually inspect their overhead cranes at frequent intervals to maintain their safe and proper use.

Frequent inspections can mean anything from daily to monthly, depending on the items to be inspected. During daily frequent inspections, operators and other designed workers should visually examine the following items as part of their daily frequent inspection guidelines:

  • Daily: Operating mechanisms for maladjustment
  • Daily: Deterioration or leakage in pneumatic and hydraulic parts
  • Daily: Hooks with deformation or cracks
  • Daily: Hoist chains and end connections for wear, twist, or distortion

Frequent inspections include observation during operation. Crane operators should look for any defects that might appear between regular inspections. All deficiencies should be carefully examined and a determination made as to whether or not they constitute a safety hazard.

For monthly frequent inspections, the designated person should complete a certification record that includes the date of the inspection, the signature of the person who performed the inspection, and an identifier of the part that was inspected. During monthly frequent inspections, operators and other designed workers should carefully examine the following items as part of their inspection guidelines:

  • Monthly: Hooks with deformation or cracks—written record with signature of inspector and date
  • Monthly: Hoist chains and end connections for wear, twist or distortion (written record with signature of inspector and date)
  • Monthly: Running Rope and end connections for wear, broken strands, etc. (written record with signature of inspector, rope identity and date)
  • As needed: Functional operating mechanisms for excessive wear
  • As recommended: Rope reeving according to manufacturers’ recommendations

Periodic Inspections—Monthly to Yearly:

According to OSHA, periodic inspections should occur at different intervals depending on the crane’s service type. For example, a crane which performs infrequent, light, or normal service should be fully inspected annually. A heavy service crane should be fully inspected semiannually to annually, depending on the nature of the crane’s critical components and the degree of their exposure to wear or deterioration. A severe service crane should be fully inspected monthly to quarterly. (For more information about the CMAA’s Crane Service Classifications, click here)

These periodic inspections require a complete inspection of the overhead crane by a qualified inspector. Any deficiencies must be carefully examined and a determination must be made as to whether or not they constitute a safety hazard. Period inspections should (at the very least) include:

  • Deformed, cracked, or corroded members
  • Loose bolts or rivets
  • Cracked or worn sheaves and drums
  • Worn, cracked, or distorted parts (pins, bearings, gears, rollers, etc.)
  • Excessive wear on brake-system parts
  • Inaccuracies in load, wind, and other indicators
  • Electric of fossil fuel motors
  • Excessive wear of chain drive sprockets and chain
  • Deteriorated electrical components (pushbuttons, limit switches, or contactors)

Upon completion of periodic inspections, the qualified inspector should examine deficiencies and determine whether they constitute a safety hazard. If so, the qualified inspector must then decide whether the crane should be removed from service until it’s been repaired. When in doubt, remove the crane from service. Once the inspector has completed the full inspection, he or she must date and sign the inspection record. The inspection records should be kept on file and readily available should the need arise.

29 CFR 1910.179, Overhead and Gantry Cranes
ANSI/ASME B30.2-2011, Overhead and Gantry Cranes