Crane Inspection Guide for Using Overhead Cranes

Overhead Crane

Does your business use overhead cranes? Are they inspected regularly? Proper inspection of overhead cranes is vitally important, not only worker safety, but for proper operating standards. The inspection of overhead cranes before use helps to prevent accidents while improving operator safety each and every day. The following is a guide for business owners and workers on the inspection of overhead cranes and how it should be carried out to help maximize safety results.

Advantages of Overhead Crane Inspection

Although many feel inspecting the crane before use is time consuming, it does have its advantages. These advantages include:

  • -Reduces downtime that’s caused by equipment breakdown.
  • -Easy detection of hazardous conditions that can cause an accident.
  • -Lowers repair costs by correcting any defects before the equipment is seriously or permanently damaged.
  • -Helps to uncover any conditions which may be dangerous to operators which are not easily seen while in operation.

Overhead Crane Inspection Checklist

When it comes to conducting inspections of your equipment, both the operators and your employees will need to complete a few things. These include:

  • -Lock out/tag out procedures.
  • -Proper equipment operation and use.
  • -Proper documentation of the inspection.
  • -Contacting the proper manufacturing company if service or repairs are required
  • -Completing any additional information which may be in the operating manual from the manufacturer.

OSHA Inspection Guide

For information about inspection frequency and points, OSHA covers this in OSHA 1910.179. Overhead crane inspection procedures are divided into two general classifications. These are based upon intervals when inspections should be performed. Each interval inspection depends on the component of the crane and the exposure degree of wear, malfunction, and deterioration. The two intervals are designated as periodic and frequent. OSHA standards state that:

  • -Frequent inspection means daily to monthly intervals.
  • -Periodic inspection means one to twelve month intervals.

OSHA Frequent Inspection Points

The following is a list of frequent inspection points which need to be inspected daily to maintain proper operation of the overhead crane during use.

  • -Visual inspection of all hooks for cracks and deformation.
  • -Inspection for deterioration or leakages in the air hydraulic system, drain pumps, valves, tanks, lines and any other vital component of the crane.
  • -Inspection of all functional mechanisms which operate the crane for maladjustment.
  • -Visual inspection of all hoist chains, including their end connections for twist, excessive wear, overstretching, and distorted links which may impede proper function.
  • -Inspection of all functional operating mechanisms for component wear and tear.
  • -Inspection of rope reeving for non-compliance with any of the recommendations set forth by the manufacturer.

In addition to daily and frequent inspections, OSHA also suggests monthly inspections of hoist chains and hooks should be completed to ensure they’re maintained to proper standards. A record should be kept which includes the inspection date, inspector’s signature, and the serial number of the component inspected.

OSHA Periodic Inspection Points

The follow is a periodic inspection point guide which should be carried out between one to twelve months per year. Things that should be checked include:

  • -Loose bolts and rivets.
  • -Corroded, cracked or deformed members.
  • -Worn or cracked drums and sheaves.
  • -Distorted, cracked, or worn parts which include clamping devices, locking devices, rollers, gears, shafts, bearings, and pins.
  • -Excessive wear on linings, ratchets, pawls, and brake system parts.
  • -Wind, load, or any other indicators which may be above their full range or which show significant inaccuracies.
  • -Excessive stretch and wear on chain stretch and chain drive sprockets.
  • -Electric, diesel, gasoline, or other power-plants for noncompliance or improper overhead crane performance which doesn’t meet safety requirements.
  • -Controller deterioration, pushbutton station damage, and limit switch wear.

Please Note: If your overhead crane has been idle for more than a month, but less than a six-month period, the crane will need to be inspected in accordance to the OSHA frequent inspection points. If your crane has been idle for more than the six-month period, it’s recommended that both frequent and period inspection points should be completed via a thorough inspection. This helps to detect any possible complications which may occur during operation if components are faulty or worn from not being used.


Overhead cranes are an important part of any business or industry operation. Without proper inspection and maintenance, the risk of injury or death increases for all workers in close proximity to the crane’s operation. Whether you own or work in a large crane-reliant industry, it’s important to keep your crane in great working order. Is your overhead crane system due for an inspection?