Why Do I Need To Have My Overhead Cranes and Hoists Inspected?

In day to day business operations, amid all of your priorities, especially financial ones, having your overhead cranes and hoists inspected might be low on your list. But when costly breakdown repairs, loss of production, destruction of property, operator injuries or death arises from improperly functioning equipment, hindsight is always 20/20. Unfortunately, I have seen too many preventable scenarios caused by missed inspections and poor preventative maintenance plans.

For example, we recently inspected a 10 ton hoist that had been serviced on a quarterly basis by a competitor. The hoist had three brake discs with only one disc visible from the outside. Our technician disassembled the brake and found the two inside brake discs had no splines on them. My new customer was surprised to learn they had only a 30% braking capacity and a potentially catastrophic situation on his hands. Brake disassembly was a manufacturer’s recommendation for inspections—had this process been completed correctly during previous inspections, the customer would not be at risk of a pending breakdown, loss of production, potential property damage or worse. 

Our team at Ace Industries cannot stress enough the importance of proper inspections by qualified and experienced technicians. It is required by OSHA (OSHA 1910.179) that your facility’s overhead cranes and hoists be inspected at intervals based on duty cycle, and in accordance with ANSI/ASME B30.2 industry standards. It is also important to have your inspections done by a reputable company to prevent downtime costs.

Safety First

At Ace, we know that keeping employees safe and injury free is the key to the health of our business and yours. It is our goal to make sure everyone gets home safe to their families from their day of work. Nothing ensures crane operator safety more than employing well trained, qualified operators to use overhead cranes that are well maintained and up to code. When you take measures to ensure employee knowledge and safety, they feel valued and are consequently more productive. 

Inspections Are Good For Your Bottomline 

A common industry misconception is that safety and compliance are the only goals of inspections. I can tell you the benefits are not limited there; inspections are also tools for profitability, reliability, and productivity. I am certain we can all appreciate the value of limited downtime.

Profitability and Reliability: Regular overhead crane and hoist inspections by a qualified technician, along with a comprehensive maintenance plan, ensure that you’ve got reliably working equipment and a workflow that’s uninterrupted by expensive downtime. Catching needed repairs before they happen can help you avoid future budget depleting breakdowns. 

Productivity: Crane operator injuries lead to an increase in your company’s Worker’s Compensation insurance premiums, legal fees and lawsuits, decrease employee morale, and worker productivity. 

Compliance: An OSHA visit to your facility could cost you in penalties and citation fees if your mandatory "Frequent" and "Periodic" crane inspections have not been performed and properly documented. Ace provides inspections and preventative maintenance in accordance with all appropriate governing bodies, safety codes, manufacturer’s guidelines, and industry best practices. 


To put it simply, as often as required by OSHA. In accordance with OSHA 1910.179(j)(1),(2), & (3), inspections must be performed at defined intervals depending on crane activity, severity of service, and environment or per specific guidance detailed in the CFR. At a minimum, an annual periodic crane inspection will be necessary for the life of your crane. 

We have listed a few of the detailed requirements below:

     An inspection and load test is required before use of any new or altered crane and requires a record of inspection.

     A pre-shift functional test should be performed before each usage by the crane operator and it is recommended that a record of function test be kept on file.
     A “frequent” Inspection is required at minimum monthly or at defined intervals depending on the application and usage of the crane. A certification record of inspection with signature and date is required for monthly inspections.

     A “periodic” inspection should be performed by a qualified technician annually or quarterly based on the duty cycle of the crane and a record of inspection on file is required.
     A crane that has been idle for more than 1 month but under 6 months requires a “Not in Regular Use” type of inspection along with documentation.

Other Documentation

·     Any Preventative Maintenance based on OEM recommendations should be kept on record.

·     Any repairs and adjustments based on the existence of unsafe conditions should incur a record of repair.

Inspections are vital to the safety and compliance of your company. However, when scheduled independently, inspections only cover compliance and safety and fail to fully support longevity and reliability. A proper preventative maintenance package should always accompany scheduled inspections. When meeting with customers, I often recommend a comprehensive quarterly PM program aligned with monthly PM on critical assets. 

Ace Industries is dedicated to making your operations as safe, compliant, reliable, and profitable as possible.


Standards and reference manuals for the required proper inspection of overhead cranes and hoists

1) Occupational Safety & Health Administration – 29 CFR Part 1910.179 Overhead and Gantry Cranes 

2) The American Society of Mechanical Engineers – B30.2 - Overhead and Gantry Cranes (Top Running Bridge, Single or Multiple Girder, Top Running Trolley Hoist); B30.16 -Overhead Hoists (Underhung); B30.17 -Overhead and Gantry Cranes (Top Running Bridge, Single Girder, Underhung Hoist) 

3) Canadian Standards Association – CAN/CSA B167-96 (R2002) Safety Standard for Maintenance and Inspection of Overhead Cranes, Gantry Cranes, Monorails, Hoists and Trolleys. 

4) Crane Manufacturers Association of America – CMAA Specification 70, 74 and 78 - Standards and Guidelines for: Top Running Bridge Cranes w/ Multiple Girder, Top Running w/ Single Girder and Under Running Single Girder, Standards and Guidelines for Professional Services

5) State and local codes. 

6) Manufacturers’ Operations Manual.


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