Why and How Often You Need an Overhead Crane Inspection

Crane inspections are an important part of workplace safety, and you’re required to get your equipment inspected quite frequently, depending on how it’s used. Keep reading to learn why and how often you need an overhead crane inspection.


Are you on track with your overhead crane inspection? If not, you could be in trouble.

It’s extremely important to get regular crane inspections for the safety of your workers.

Overhead crane inspections are necessary to follow OSHA guidelines and protect your business, too. This type of heavy equipment can only be operated safely if it’s regularly maintained, and that means having regular inspections.

Not sure what the crane inspection requirements are? In this guide, we’ll walk you through what you need to know to meet the requirements and keep your workers safe.

Keep reading so you can schedule the overhead crane inspection you need!

Why Crane Inspections are Important

If the crane is a recent installment at your workplace, you might not know exactly why inspections are important, much less when they should happen.

One of the major reasons to get your cranes inspected is to meet the OSHA requirements.

According to OSHA, you should inspect all overhead cranes at least once a year.

Your cranes get used every week, if not every day. This usage causes wear and tear on the pieces of the crane, which can eventually cause the equipment to break down. Even worse, this might make it fail in a way that puts your workers at risk.

However, these regular inspections help combat potential issues. During an overhead crane inspection, the equipment gets evaluated for possible problems. Then, you can address those problems before they get too expensive or too dangerous.

Crane Inspection Qualifications

Of course, your overhead cranes can’t be inspected by just anyone. Who’s qualified to give overhead crane inspections?

The Crane Manufacturers Association of America (CMAA) states that any crane inspector needs to have at least 2,000 hours of experience. That experience needs to be related directly to the servicing, maintenance, repairing, testing, and modifying of cranes and their hoist equipment.

CMAA also says that nobody can do crane inspections if they don’t have the right training or knowledge about the regulations and codes that apply to cranes. This information is critical so the inspector can know what they’re really looking at.

In addition to that, crane inspectors have to be formally trained in areas including:

  • Overhead crane safety and design codes
  • Local, state, and federal standards and codes
  • Hoist and crane safe operating practices
  • Knowledge of procedures for proper documentation and report writing
  • Knowledge of terminology related to cranes and hoists

A company like Atlantic Crane can offer the qualified crane inspectors you need.

Frequency of Crane Inspection

You now know that OSHA requires you to have your cranes inspected once a year at minimum.

But is that really the ideal frequency for crane inspection?

It depends on the type of inspection and what’s needed at the time. There are actually four different kinds of crane inspection, according to American National Standards Institute (ANSI).

Let’s take a closer look at what those are.

1. Initial Inspection

The initial inspection needs to happen before the first use of the crane. This visual inspection needs to be properly documented to meet OSHA standards. After a new hoist or crane gets installed, the initial inspection has to be completed before it can be used.

If the equipment gets removed for a repair, modification, or alteration, you also need to inspect it again before it’s used again.

For an overhead crane, you’ll also need to be sure to do a rated load test, as well as the initial inspection. The rated load test is used to confirm the crane’s load rating. You shouldn’t use the crane with the top loads it can sustain during the test. Instead, use a maximum load of 80 percent of the total load sustained in the rated load test.

2. Functional Test Inspection

Before the crane is used on any shift, it needs to get tested for functionality. OSHA requires a number of things to be visually tested in this functional test inspection.

First, the operating mechanisms need to get tested so it’s clear that they’re working properly.

Then, the drain pumps, lines, valves, tanks, or other hydraulic or air systems should get tested to make sure there are no leaks or deterioration.

Next, it’s important to test the hoist chains. Make sure to check the connections at the end as well as the middles. Look for twists, visible wear, link distortion, or stretch that’s beyond what the manufacturer recommends.

Another important part of this step is the monthly inspection, which must be properly recorded.

During the monthly inspection, the date, signature of the inspector, and identifier of the inspected chain all need to be marked down.

After that, it’s time to visually examine the hooks for cracks or deformation of any kind. The hook inspection also needs to have a monthly recorded component that lists the same information, but about the hooks rather than the chains.

The inspector must also check other components for wear and damage, including the rope reeving.

3. Frequent Inspection

A frequent inspection needs to cover all the points of the functional test inspection. It also involves checking the mechanisms of operation. An inspector will listen for strange sounds, as well as visually inspect the crane.

These inspections should be more or less frequent depending on how often the crane gets used. They don’t require as much detailed reporting, but it needs to be documented that the inspection was completed.

4. Periodic Inspection

The periodic inspection also depends on how often the crane gets used.

Every piece of the crane will get inspected, including rivets and bolts, brake systems, power systems, chain drive sprockets, and more. This is an extra-thorough inspection that happens less often, but is more comprehensive.

Schedule an Overhead Crane Inspection Today

It might seem like an overhead crane inspection is time-consuming or expensive. However, if you fail to get proper crane inspections done, it will cost a lot more time and money to fix the damage.

Following regulations is an important part of keeping your business healthy. Find out more ways to get your business thriving here.

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