Materials in Motion

Proper Inspection of Overhead Cranes

Proper inspection of overhead cranes is important because it helps ensure safe equipment operation. Thoroughly inspecting overhead cranes improves operator safety and prevents operator injury. Proper inspection has many advantages:

  • Reducing time lost caused by equipment breakdown
  • Detecting potentially hazardous conditions
  • Reducing the costs of repairs by correcting defects before equipment is seriously damaged
  • Uncovering dangerous conditions which are not evident to your operators

To conduct a proper inspection, employees/operators need to know the following:

  • Items to inspect
  • Proper use of the equipment
  • Lock out/tag out procedures
  • How to document the inspections
  • Who to contact if a product requires service or repair
  • Any additional information listed in the manufacturer’s operation manual

OSHA covers inspection frequency and points in OSHA 1910.179. According to OSHA, the inspection procedure for overhead cranes is “divided into two general classifications based upon the intervals at which inspection should be performed. The intervals in turn are dependent upon the nature of the critical components of the crane and the degree of their exposure to wear, deterioration, or malfunction. The two general classifications are herein designated as ‘frequent’ and ‘periodic.’” Per OSHA, frequent inspection means “daily to monthly intervals” and periodic inspection means “1 to 12-month intervals.”

Here is a list of frequent inspection points that should be inspected daily:

  • All functional operating mechanisms for maladjustment interfering with proper operation
  • Deterioration or leakage in lines, tanks, valves, drain pumps, and other parts of air or hydraulic systems
  • Visual inspection of hooks with deformation or cracks
  • Visual inspection of hoist chains, including end connections, for excessive wear, twist, distorted links interfering with proper function, or stretch beyond manufacturer’s recommendations
  • All functional operating mechanisms for excessive wear of components
  • Rope reeving for noncompliance with manufacturer’s recommendations

OSHA also states that in addition to the daily inspection, inspect hooks and hoist chains monthly to ensure they have a maintained certification record which includes the date of inspection, the signature of the person who performed the inspection, and the serial number, or other identifier, of the hook inspected.

Here is a list of periodic inspection points:

  • Deformed, cracked, or corroded members
  • Loose bolts or rivets
  • Cracked or worn sheaves and drums
  • Worn, cracked or distorted parts such as pins, bearings, shafts, gears, rollers, locking and clamping devices
  • Excessive wear on brake system parts, linings, pawls, and ratchets
  • Load, wind, and other indicators over their full range, for any significant inaccuracies
  • Gasoline, diesel, electric, or other powerplants for improper performance or noncompliance with applicable safety requirements
  • Excessive wear of chain drive sprockets and excessive chain stretch
  • Electrical apparatus, for signs of pitting or any deterioration of controller contactors, limit switches and pushbutton stations

If your overhead crane has been idle for a period of one month or more—but less than six months—the crane must be inspected according to the frequent inspection points list above. If the overhead crane has been idle for more than six months, the overhead crane must be inspected according to both the frequent and periodic inspections points lists above.