crane inspections

Crane Inspections: Why, How and When

If you recently added a crane to your workplace, you might not understand the reasons for why it needs to go through an inspection, how often it should happen, and who is qualified to perform the crane inspection.  

Find everything you need to know about your crane’s inspection when to do it, required documentation, certified inspectors, and more keep on reading.

Why Should I Get My Crane Inspected?

OSHA requires that all active cranes go through an annual inspection. Daily or weekly usage puts wear on important crane components. The more and more use your crane gets, the wear can lead to a breakdown- or worse, a dangerous failure that can put you, your team, or your company at risk.

Having routine inspections on your crane can help identify potential problems and address them before bigger problems arise or dangerous incidents.

Who Can Inspect My Crane?

According to the CMAA, Crane Manufacturers Association of America, a crane inspector should have 2,000 field hours of maintenance, servicing, repairing, modifying, and functional testing experience with cranes and the hoist equipment.

CMAA also states that under no circumstances should anyone perform inspections if they have not received appropriate training nor the knowledge of the applicable codes and regulations of the crane equipment.

CMAA mentions the inspector should have formal training in these areas:

Safety and design codes that are related to overhead cranes

Federal, State, and local codes of standards

Safe operating practices of cranes and hoists

Understanding of how to write a report and documentation procedures

Knowledge of crane and hoist terminology to effectively communicate

How Often Should I Get My Crane Inspected?

According to the American National Standards Institute, ANSI, there are four categories for overhead crane inspections: Initial, Functional, Frequent, and Periodic.

The Initial Crane Inspection

The initial inspection will be a documented visual inspection that is required after installing a crane or hoist, and for equipment that has been reinstalled after alteration, modification, or repair.

OSHA 1910.179: “Prior to initial use all new and altered cranes shall be inspected to ensure compliance with the provisions of this section.”

Functional Test Inspection

Before every shift, your crane’s functionality must be tested. According to OSHA, you need to visually test the following areas daily.

  1. The functional operating processes for maladjustment could interfere with proper operation.
  2. Deterioration or leaking in lines, tanks, valves, drain pumps and other parts of the air or hydraulic systems.
  3. Asses the hoist chains, including end connections, for wear, twist, distorted links interfering with proper function or stretch beyond the manufacturer’s recommendations. You’ll also want to include a monthly inspection in this step with a certification record that includes the date of inspection, signature of the qualified inspector, and an identifier of the chain which was inspected.
  4. Inspect the hooks for deformation or cracks. The hoist chains will require monthly inspection with a certification record as well. The certification will include the date of inspection, the signature of the qualified person who performed the inspection and the serial number, or other identifier, of the hook inspected.
  5. All functional operation parts for excessive wear; daily to monthly internals.
  6. Rope reeving for noncompliance with manufacturers recommendations, on a daily or monthly internal.

Frequent Inspection

The frequent inspections should include everything from the Functional Test Inspection plus checking the operating mechanisms. The inspector will pay particular attention to the hoist brake, wire rope, load chain, and listen for any abnormal sounds. The hook and latch will require an inspection as well.

The Frequent Inspection does not require a record like the Functional Test Inspection, but documentation will show the overhead crane has been inspected, so all operators will know it is safe to use before they start their shift.

Periodic Inspection

Similar to the Frequent Inspection, the frequency of the Period Inspection is based on the usage of the crane. For this inspection, cranes that are used for “normal service” and “heavy service” should be inspected annually. Cranes used in the “severe service” should be inspected quarterly.

For cranes in the normal and heavy service, a Periodic Inspection should include checking for:

  • Deformed, cracked, or corroded members
  • Loose bolts or rivets
  • Cracked sheaves and drums
  • Worn, cracked or distorted parts such as pins, bearings, gears, shafts, 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 inaccuracies
  • Gasoline, diesel, electric, or other power=plants for improper performance or noncompliance with applicable safety requirements
  • Excessive wear of chain drive sprockets and excessive stretch in chain
  • Electrical apparatus and signs of pitting or deterioration of controller contactors, limit switches, and pushbutton stations.

It may seem costly and time-consuming to follow all inspections for your overhead crane. However, these maintenance and safety checks are much cheaper than legal fees and insurance premiums you’ll have to pay if someone is injured.

If you are in the Michigan area and looking for Crane Repairs, Services, or Inspections, Contact the Speed Wrench Team! We’re happy to help where we can.