Overhead Crane Safety: Inspection and Requirements
To ensure maximum safety and minimise accidents when using an overhead crane, a comprehensive overhead crane safety inspection checklist should be drawn up. In conjunction with the manufacturer’s operating and maintenance instructions, this overhead crane safety inspection checklist can be used as the basis for daily inspections, and periodic maintenance schedules. By rigorously adhering to the overhead crane inspection frequency, maximum safety with minimum downtime can be obtained from the machine.
What is involved in overhead crane safety procedures?
On a daily basis, or on every shift change, the crane operator needs to carry out a full safety inspection of the crane he is about to operate. Working from the overhead crane safety checklist he should, check the power source to the vehicle, all limit switches, and test emergency power shut down buttons. Check all audible warning devices are operational. Check the steel lifting cable is seated correctly in the drum grooves. Ensure the bottom block is free and not twisted. Visually check all lifting gear including chains and steel cables for signs of wear or fatigue. Web and nylon slings should be checked for stretching, rips and fraying, and replaced as required.
Overhead crane safety procedures should also include testing the hoist brakes by turning the master switch to OFF, or hitting the emergency OFF button, with a load raised a few inches off the floor. The load should be held firm. If it drops, the crane must not be operated until the fault has been rectified. Inspect all flexible and rigid hydraulic pipes and joints for signs of hydraulic oil seepage, splits, or fraying. Check all tank fluid levels.
The crane operator should also be responsible for the area the crane will be operating in. The overhead crane inspection checklist should include provision to record and rectify, any instances of unauthorised staff working within the area, or materials or equipment which may impede the crane or its load during operation. Ensure the area is clear prior to operation.
Periodic overhead crane inspection/maintenance procedures.
Your overhead crane inspection frequency should be defined in the overhead crane safety inspection checklist. This can be anything from monthly to bi-annually, or annually. These are in addition to the normal operating safety checks, and should be undertaken by a fully qualified engineer or competent person.
Check the whole unit for cracks, deformities and corrosion. Examine for stretched or loose rivets, bolts, and pins. Check and operate clamps and locking systems. Look for wear and cracks in rollers, bearings, shafts and gears. Check brakes and brake linings, clutch systems, and pawls and ratchets. Check wind, load and other operation indicators for discrepancies. Chain lifting gear should be checked for stretching, and sprockets examined for wear. All electrical equipment should be checked. Look for burning or scorching in the boxes or connections, and pitting on contacts, limit switches, and push-button boxes. Tyres should be checked for damage and tread wear.
Standby overhead cranes, and mothballed cranes, should all be subject to these safety/maintenance checks. All safety and maintenance checks, for all cranes, should be logged on the overhead crane safety inspection checklist, along with all findings and work undertaken to remedy any problems/defects.
Who can and who can’t, undertake overhead crane safety and maintenance checks.
The crane’s day to day operational safety checks are generally carried out by the crane operator working from the overhead crane safety inspection checklist. All checks should be listed and ticked when completed. Safety concerns should be noted. If remedial safety work is required prior to operation, this should be noted, completed, and signed off by the qualified person/engineer.
Periodic inspection/maintenance checks should always be undertaken by competent engineers or fitters. Many crane manufacturers operate a crane servicing arm, mobile fitters who will visit your premises to undertake scheduled periodic services and warranty work. However, although well worth considering, this is not a requirement.
Any qualified in-house fitter or engineer, with good theoretical and practical experience of the particular make of overhead crane, could undertake the work – with one exception. The engineer who normally services the crane should not be involved in the periodic checks. Should an accident occur, especially one involving injury, it could be argued he was involved in a conflict of interest, in so much as he was assessing his own work.
All daily safety inspections, along with periodic safety/maintenance checks, are of paramount importance to the safe and efficient operation of your overhead crane. Ensure all daily and periodic checks are listed and dated in your overhead crane safety inspection checklist. Make sure any defects are noted and any repair work undertaken is signed off by an engineer. Finally, should any strange noises, excessive movement, or another form of malfunction occur, your crane should be shut down immediately.
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