Guide to Mobile Crane Inspections

Guide to Mobile Crane Inspections

Mobile Crane Checklist and Inspections

Moving large or heavy loads is the defining trait of the construction and heavy equipment industries. These loads, by nature, are a hazard to both people and structures while being moved. They need to be moved safely and properly to avert any risk to their surroundings and themselves. It is from this need that one of the most popularly used implements was created: the mobile crane.

Mobile cranes, just like all other machines used in industry, wear down over time. They require frequent mobile crane inspection and maintenance to keep them working safely and optimally. The best way to keep tabs on their status is to carry out frequent inspections.

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Mobile Crane Inspections

A mobile crane inspection is an evaluation of the proper functionality of the heavy machinery. It should be carried out by a trained inspector, who checks that the crane’s components meet required standards, as well as parts that need to be fixed or replaced. Mobile crane inspections are carried out at different intervals, and can also be based on intensity/frequency of use (normal, heavy or severe service). For your conveience, Total Equipment Training provides a free mobile crane inspection checklist that you can print out for your daily evaluation.

OSHA has created several guidelines for the proper inspection of heavy vehicles. Mobile crane inspection categories are broken down into the following:

Daily Mobile Crane Inspection

Daily/Pre-use/Functional inspection should be carried out before the mobile crane is deployed for service that day. It is a general (non-intensive) inspection that checks the crane’s visible structures for proper operation. These features include:

  • Operation and maintenance manuals in clear view of operator
  • Moving parts are guarded
  • Dials and indicators are working correctly
  • Outriggers deploy and function correctly
  • Operator has access to load rating chart
  • Braking systems are operational

OSHA directs that the employer should assign inspection to a competent person, with the crane inspection checklist shared between crane operators, site supervisors and managers, all of whom could be competent persons. Total Equipment Training is a nationally recognized construction and heavy industry inspection and training organization that provides a comprehensive, OSHA-compliant, daily inspection checklist at no cost.

Monthly Mobile Crane Inspection

Monthly mobile crane inspections are more thorough than daily inspections, but are not as in-depth as annual inspections. The exterior of the equipment is assessed, as well as most shielded or covered components. Any components with moderate durability -such as the cabling for the crane’s hoist mechanisms- are checked for wear and damage, with recommended dates for replacement or maintenance. Other particulars covered include:

  • Amount of wear on boom and jib stops
  • Boom hoist shutoff system
  • Load hooks status –openings exceeding normal, off-center twisting
  • Blistering or abnormal tubing, even when properly coupled and without leaks
  • Check the crane’s turntable (rotation point) gears and rollers for wear

Monthly crane inspections can be carried out by either a competent or qualified person, as stipulated by OSHA. It is however recommended that qualified persons carry out the inspection, as they can deliver more precise assessment results. Total Equipment Training offers in-person mobile crane inspections to the following areas:

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Annual Mobile Crane Inspection

Annual/Periodic mobile crane inspections are the most thorough assessments of the mobile crane’s status, covering every component in the equipment. It often involves separation and even dismantling of certain crane parts to assess their viability and function; e.g., accumulation of dust/debris in intakes or exhausts. Other components intensively observed include:

  • Manufacturer manuals are up to date (per the year)
  • All guards and the components they protect are in good working order, and free of debris
  • Load limit testing for the whole lifting apparatus to identify weak points
  • The entire length of any cabling/rope checked for tears or unravelling, as well as the condition of the drum it spools around (grooves, minimum wraps)
  • All bolts and rivets on the mobile crane checked for corrosion and tightness
  • Braking and locking systems are within manufacturer limits

OSHA dictates that annual inspection should only be carried out by qualified personnel, as only they have the certified training required to fully analyze the crane’s components. It is important to note that all inspections must be documented and maintained by the employer of the inspection. This includes key items such as the name of the inspector, date and components inspected. OSHA also requires that these documents be retained for at least 3 months.

Total Equipment Training offers on-site mobile crane inspection services, which is OSHA compliant and NCCCO certified. To schedule your mobile crane inspections by an experienced crane inspection service company, please call Total Equipment Training!

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What Are the Types of Mobile Cranes?

  • Crawler Crane – These are unique type of mobile crane. Instead of wheels, they use tracks to move between locations on site. The tracks provide greater traction, making them optimal for use on soft ground. They do need to be transported by other vehicles between sites.
  • All-Terrain Mobile Crane – These are high-capacity cranes capable of operating over long periods of time lifting heavy (40 to 1000 ton) loads. Often powered by twin engines, these powerful multiple-wheeled cranes are seeing rising popularity in use.
  • Truck-Mounted Cranes – As the name implies, this is a crane (boom) mounted on a truck. They travel easily and aren’t demanding when it comes to setting up.
  • Carry Deck Cranes – This type of crane is small, highly mobile, and easy to set up. This is thanks to their four-wheel base, which allows for full 360-degree rotation.
  • Rough Terrain Crane – These are similar to crawler cranes, but instead of tracks, they have four large tires powered by a 4-wheel-drive system. To improve stability, they’re fitted with stabilizers. This makes them great fits for work on off-road and rough terrains.
  • Floating Cranes – These cranes are essentially a crane mechanism attached to a ship, and are used for projects at port and sea.

Thanks to advances in the types of materials used and mechanical design, it is possible to find mobile cranes fitted with both telescopic and fixed extension booms. Stabilizers also vary, modifiable by space available and intent of use.

Click here to Purchase your NCCCO Mobile Crane Operator Study Guide

Types of Mobile Crane Inspections

There are various types of inspections that the mobile crane must undergo to verify its proper function and adherence to operational requirements:

  1. Initial Inspection: This is the first inspection all cranes must go through after being installed before its use on the worksite, as stipulated by OSHA.
  2. Functional Test Inspection: This is an inspection carried out on the mobile crane before it starts on any work shift. Essentially, this is a daily inspection to make sure the mobile crane is ready for use.
  3. Frequent/Regular Inspection: This is an in-depth inspection of the mobile crane based on the frequency of its use. Mobile cranes in the ‘Normal service’ use category should have frequent inspections on a monthly basis, ‘heavy service’ inspected weekly to monthly, and ‘severe service’ inspected daily to weekly.
  4. Periodic/Annual Inspection: This is an in-depth inspection, similar to frequent inspection, differing only in when it is carried out. ‘Normal’ and ‘heavy’ service mobile cranes should be inspected every year, while those in ‘severe’ service inspected quarterly (every 3 months).

Total Equipment Training offers a helpful and FREE mobile crane inspection checklist.

Crane Load Testing For Mobile Cranes

Crane load testing is an essential requirement for all lifting implements, as determined by OSHA. Load testing will make sure the mobile crane has reliable and safe functionality. It checks all components put under stress during lifting work properly and helps benchmark parts most susceptible to wear during use. Manufacturers include load limits for various deployment configurations of the mobile crane being tested.

Certified inspectors tend to push these limits during tests, to help give maximum (danger) thresholds that should strictly not be surpassed, often 20-25 percent of load limits.

Learn more about what crane load testing is

Mobile Crane Inspection Checklist

Having a checklist to refer to makes it much easier to professionally cover and document components inspected, as well as keep track of their statuses. Items on certified inspectors’ checklists include:

  • The operator’s level of certification or experience
  • Whether the mobile crane’s annual inspection has been done and how far to or since.
  • The condition of the mobile crane’s stabilizers
  • Has daily inspection been carried out
  • Is the manufacturer’s manual clearly visible in the crane operator’s booth
  • General condition of the mobile crane’s components. This can be broken down into sub-categories focusing on component groups or individual parts.
  • Information on the load – description, weight, counterweight configuration, etc.

Total Equipment Training offers many resources and study guides for mobile crane operators. Please contact us if you have any questions.

Common Mobile Crane Accidents

According to the BLS, in 2021 there were almost 5,200 fatal work injuries in the US. An increase of almost 9% from the prior year!

Accidents tend to happen when the project manager, site supervisor, the mobile crane operator, and workers on the ground fail to communicate. Accidents also occur when these personnel fail to follow safe operating procedures and safety checks recommended by OSHA. In order for accidents to be minimized, or even eliminated, on your job site we have analyzed some of the most common accidents and found preventative measures and mobile crane safety tips that are recommended for the safety of your team and care of your equipment.

It is very important to not become a fatality statistic, trust Total Equipment Training for onsite mobile crane training.

Common Mobile Crane Inspection Mistakes

  • Entirely skipping out on daily inspection
  • Not using competent or qualified personnel to carry out inspections
  • Not using comprehensive inspection checklists during inspections
  • Deploying the mobile crane for work despite observing heavy or severe faults in its components
  • Not keeping inspection records, and nor sharing them with necessary stakeholders

Avoid injuries, fatalities, and financial damages by getting reliable crane inspections by professionals.

Benefits of Using a Third-Party Inspector

  • They provide an unbiased report on their findings.
  • They are highly specialized in their approaches, thanks to their exclusive work of focusing on mobile crane inspection.
  • Skilled inspectors go beyond just the inspection and offer tips that can reduce costs and increase productivity.
  • Third-party inspectors have the credentials and certifications that are proof of their proficiency, which in turn boosts the confidence of managers and crane operators.
  • They are equipped with the necessary documentation that abides by state regulations.

Total Equipment Training, a nationally reputed, OSHA-compliant, construction and heavy industry inspection and training organization. TET is equipped with the skills to qualitatively provide third-party inspection services for mobile cranes and heavy vehicles. Reach out for a skilled and experienced heavy equipment inspection team to schedule your mobile crane inspection.

Where Can I Get Mobile Crane Inspection Services?

Total Equipment Training provides crane operator training and inspections. Stay safe by keeping your crane inspections up to date. Compromising on the quality and skill of personnel carrying out the inspection can come to pose a costly hazard to both site staff and structures in the future.

As a site manager or employer, seek out professional OSHA-certified mobile crane inspectors. Complete your heavy equipment inspection at your work site for peace of mind.

Barb Fullman- CEO of Total Equipment Training
About the Author

As the owner of Total Equipment Training, Barb Fullman has been an active contributor to the heavy equipment training industry for over 23 years. Barb, a Penn State University graduate, is recognized as the highest ranking women-owned heavy equipment training business in the US. As a leading authority and provider of heavy equipment training, training manuals and tests based on OSHA Standards and Regulations, Total Equipment Trainings’ client list is composed of most of the Fortune 1000 companies focusing on energy, construction, heavy highway, and manufacturing.

Barb’s motto is “Stay safe, stay up to date”. She is committed to up-to-date & technically correct training, whether it is via in-person or through our library of online heavy equipment resources. With over 50 OSHA qualifying training topics to choose from with TET, the most popular heavy equipment training subjects are mobile cranes, NCCCO, all “dirt equipment”, rigging, crane inspections, and train-the-trainer.