The Ultimate Guide to Crane Inspections
Inspections are a crucial element to safe crane operations. Properly maintaining your cranes increases productivity levels, as well as the lifespan of the equipment.
There are three main types of time-based inspections. For mobile cranes under the 1926 Subpart CC, the qualification level of the inspector varies based on the type of inspection being conducted. For cranes in all other industries, ASME states that a designated person performs the inspection, while a qualified person determines what happens based on the results of the inspection.
This blog post will discuss everything you need to know about frequent, monthly, and annual crane inspections for both mobile and overhead cranes.
Frequent Inspections (Pre-use or Shift)
These types of inspections are conducted daily, or before use. A competent inspector may perform this procedure.
OSHA defines a competent person as “one who is capable of identifying existing and predictable hazards in the surroundings or working conditions which are unsanitary, hazardous, or dangerous to employees, and who has the authorization to take prompt corrective measures to eliminate them.”
Frequent inspections are not required to be documented, although making written records of any deteriorations or flaws that could become a concern should be done.
It may seem tedious to conduct a thorough inspection each day, but situations such as the operator jerking the controls can be enough to quickly wear down the rope. Keeping a close eye on equipment is the key for preventing an accident.
Frequent Inspections (Monthly)
These inspections are conducted monthly by a competent person. All cranes have to be inspected monthly; the frequency is determined by activity, severity of service, and environment. (What is inspected, and the documentation requirements will vary depending on the type of crane and the industry that it is being used in.)
It is often forgotten that in General Industry, monthly inspections must be documented. Should an incident occur, OSHA will expect to see a record of these documents when they arrive at your job site.
Although this inspection is not as thorough as an annual inspection, critical components need to be noted. The chain hoist, wire rope, hook, brakes, and any concerns that an operator has addressed should be written down.
Keep in mind that the inspection is a legal document. Inspections should be conducted in an appropriate amount of time, and inspectors should sign off on items after they are thoroughly checked. Please do not quickly glance at an item and then sign off on it, as it can turn into a lawsuit or OSHA fine if there is an accident.
While it is true that inspections are only valid during the time that they are given, the inspections must be a legitimate effort. (These inspections are a snapshot of the condition of the equipment at the time of the inspection and do not foretell future conditions.)
For example, a competent overhead crane inspector conducts a monthly inspection. He has a busy day ahead of him, so he wants to finish the procedure quickly. The entire process only takes ten minutes, due to the fact that he quickly glances at each component and signs them off in fair condition.
An hour later, the operator starts up the crane and gets to work. Nobody else touched the crane before the inspection. The wire rope has damage that was not caught during the inspection, and the load snaps, injuring the operator.
Since the injury had to be reported to OSHA, a compliance officer paid a visit to the warehouse. When the officer arrived, she asked for inspection documentation and noticed the time the monthly inspection was conducted.
After asking a few questions, she requested surveillance footage from the security cameras. Upon watching the footage, she noticed the inspector failed to look at the wire rope up close. The inspector was fired, and the employer received a violation and fine from OSHA.
Inspection documentations are legal documents. When the inspector signed his name, he committed forgery by knowingly providing inaccurate details.
Periodic Inspections (Annually)
Once a year, all cranes must receive a complete inspection and documentation from a qualified inspector. Technically, anyone that an employer deems qualified can conduct the inspection; however, we do not recommend it.
Maritime is the only industry that requires a third-party annual inspection, but all businesses should follow suit. When choosing a third party to hire for a crane inspection, ask for the inspector’s credentials. They should have received some form of formal training, along with documentation on their experience.
Trent, a CICB Senior Instructor and Inspector, recalls a client he previously worked with. The client met Trent after a different third party failed his mobile crane during an inspection.
The crane was manufactured in 1990 and failed due to not having an anti-two-blocking warning system installed. This employer spent over ten thousand dollars having one installed, so his crane could pass the inspection.
Trent informed him that the crane should not have failed the inspection, because it was manufactured before February 1992. The inspector should have highly recommended the anti-two-blocking system, as it helps prevent accidents, but it was not grounds for failing the inspection.
It is unknown what training and experience the initial inspector had, but the client ended up paying significantly more than was necessary. Formal training teaches all inspection standards and timelines. CICB’s Inspectors are formally trained and then qualified through the CCO.
If you insist on designating your own employee to conduct annual inspections, they should be certified or formally trained. In order to become a CCO Certified Crane Inspector, the individual must have five years of crane-related experience in duties such as a crane operator, inspector, mechanic, or a foreman in the type of crane they are obtaining the certification for and have written permission from the CCO.
CICB also offers their own inspector courses. These courses do not certify the employee, but they provide written documentation that formal training was conducted. The employer can use these documents to deem the employee as qualified.
All inspections should be taken seriously. If a critical element is in poor condition and missed, an employee’s life can be at stake.
Employers must follow OSHA’s regulations when designating employees. A competent employee must be able to identify the problem and how to fix it.
A qualified employee has either a certificate, degree, or professional standing. If they do not have one of those, they must have extensive knowledge, training, and experience. In addition, they must have demonstrated their ability to resolve problems related to the equipment inspection.
In addition, when conducting inspections at your facility, all materials and equipment must be in compliance, even if you do not think it will affect the business.
All labels need to be clearly legible, even if all employees have them memorized. If a new employee joins the team, or a third-party contractor visits the site, they need to be able to read the labels.
Controls also need to be functioning properly. Even if operators found a way around the broken control, it needs to be fixed. Safety always comes before efficiency.
Should you have questions about inspections, do not hesitate to contact CICB at 800-327-1386.
In addition to equipment inspections and training, we provide personnel evaluations and compliance evaluations. One of our Subject Matter Experts will visit your job site and provide you with an unbiased opinion to ensure your business practices are following your industry’s regulations.