The goal of overhead crane inspections is to test functionality and safety. But you can get so much more from having a well-developed schedule & checklists for these inspections! Read on to learn why you need a proper inspection schedule and what needs to factor in when you develop one.
Benefits of a Proper Inspection Schedule
There are several reasons why having a proper inspection schedule performed by a certified crane inspector is important and beneficial to your facility. Let’s start with employee safety.
You are committed to the safety of your employees. And that includes performing regular maintenance and inspections on any equipment that could lead to their harm. Overhead cranes can cause serious (and potentially fatal) injuries if a catastrophic failure happens — or even if they begin to behave unpredictably.
Reactive Repairs Are Not a Good Solution
Regular crane inspections give you a chance to get expert feedback. This feedback can inform you on failure to meet standards, components that are reaching their limit for wear, and other problems that may be developing. Acting on that kind of information and addressing issues as they are found supports the practice of preventive maintenance. And keep in mind that preventive maintenance saves you both time and money compared to reactive maintenance.
Reactive maintenance means you wait until you fail an inspection or something catastrophic happens before you take action. This approach is notorious for higher maintenance and repair costs. And it also leads to far more downtime, less reliability, and shorter useful life for your cranes when compared to preventive maintenance.
Reduce the Possibility of Crane Failure Accidents
It makes sense that if you don’t have your crane professionally inspected regularly, you run the risk of serious problems. Safety, as discussed earlier, is the most critical issue, and if you haven’t been having the crane inspected, then any employee injury could lead to a lawsuit.
And if you haven’t inspected your overhead crane in a long time, then the probability of something serious developing will go up. It could be a catastrophic failure that brings production to a grinding halt and results in extensive downtime and repair costs. Or it could seriously damage other equipment or products.
OSHA Crane Inspection Rules Exist
OSHA overhead and gantry crane standards are found in OSHA 1910.179 with inspection instructions found in 1910.179(j) and what systems, components, and parts must be inspected. These guidelines are in place to promote the safety of your facility. Failure to comply is very problematic and can involve extensive fines.
Inspections and Maintenance Extend Life
An overhead crane represents a significant capital investment, and a very straightforward way to extend its useful life is to perform regular inspections. And the information from inspections, as discussed earlier, can be used to inform preventive maintenance. Combined, inspections and preventive maintenance will enable your cranes to run more effectively and last longer. That also means that any costs incurred as a result of performing regular inspections will pay for itself over time.
Basic OSHA Guidelines for Crane Inspection
Let’s review the basics of OSHA’s overhead crane guidelines. OSHA categorizes inspections into one of two categories based on the interval between inspections: frequent inspections performed daily to monthly and periodic inspections performed 1 to 12-month intervals (e.g., bi-monthly, quarterly, annually).
In most instances, cranes categorized as normal or heavy service need to have periodic inspections annually. Severe service cranes should have their regular inspections performed quarterly. In addition, if a crane hasn’t been used for at least a month but less than six months, it requires all applicable frequent inspections to be performed. If it has been idle for more than six months, it will also need frequent and periodic inspections. Also made clear is that the crane should be inspected before and after relocating, making additions, alterations, or upgrades.
Developing an Effective Overhead Crane Inspection Schedule
First, as a good rule of thumb, experts recommend that you perform general overhead crane inspections at least annually. Here are some general guidelines to aid you in developing a proper inspection schedule:
- Age: inspect older cranes with more extensive wear more often than newer cranes
- Capacity: higher capacity cranes should be inspected more frequently than those with a lower capacity
- Frequency of Use: inspect extensively used cranes more frequently than rarely used cranes, remember that there are special OSHA rules for cranes that have been idle
- Function: frequently inspect cranes that perform more complex activities
- Downtime: the longer the downtime is for repairs, the more often a crane should be inspected
- Impact on Operations: if a crane is critical to your operation, inspect it more often than, say, a crane that is rarely used
Periodic visual inspections for anything out of the ordinary can indicate that a crane needs an inspection right away. Look for unusual noises, loose bolts, cracks, corrosion, excessive wear, deformation, or deterioration/leakage of pneumatic lines.
There are a host of reasons why you need a proper inspection schedule & checklists. Reactive repairs and service calls are far more expensive than preventive maintenance alterations. Infrequent inspections significantly increase the risk of crane failure accidents. And compliance with OSHA crane inspection rules are extremely important to your facility.
At Hi-Speed Industrial Service, we are ready to help you develop the right inspection schedule for your facility’s hoist and crane needs. In fact, we regularly conduct OSHA inspections that are fully compliant with OSHA 1910.179 and ASME/ANSI B30.2. And our predictive maintenance service can use the feedback from these inspections to keep your equipment reliably running with excellent performance.