Mobile Crane Inspections

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.

Schedule Onsite Mobile Crane Inspection

What Is Mobile Crane Inspection?

This is the evaluation of the proper functionality of a mobile crane. 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.

Total Equipment Training offers on-site mobile crane inspection services, which is OSHA compliant and NCCCO certified.

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.

Most Common Mobile Crane Accidents and Their Solutions

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 job safety training.

Top Mobile Crane Accidents

Lack of Fall Protection

In 2016, 384 out of 991 total deaths in construction occurred from workers falling and is considered one of the most common causes of serious work-related injuries and deaths. OSHA requires that fall protection is provided at elevations above four feet in general industry workplaces, six feet in the construction industry and eight feet in the longshoring operations.

It is an employer’s responsibility to prevent workers from falling and to help prevent employees from being injured due to falls. Employers must:

  • Guard every floor hole into which a worker can accidentally walk into (using a railing and toeboard or a floor hole cover).
  • Provide a guardrail and toe-board around every elevated open sided platform, floor or runway.
  • Regardless of height, if a worker can fall into or onto dangerous machines or equipment (such as onto a conveyor belt) employers must provide guardrails and toe-boards to prevent workers from falling and getting injured.
  • Other means of fall protection that may be required on certain jobs include safety harness and line, safety nets, stair railings, and handrails.

Schedule Fall Protection Training

Struck by Objects

The most common time to be struck by a crane load is during loading or unloading or caused during flagging, directing or guiding. Struck-by hazards are categorized into four categories: Flying Object, Falling Object, Swinging Object, and Rolling Object.

To avoid these types of job site hazards, be sure to look for the following signs:

  • Heavy equipment traffic
  • Working backup alarms
  • Poor visibility
  • Cranes with swing radius clearly marked
  • Spotters during backing up­­­­­­­­­

Learn about more causes of crane accidents

Power Line Electrocutions

A crane can be a dangerous piece of equipment if not operated properly, especially when integrating outside variables such as electricity. Electrocution can happen from a variety of elements that your team should be aware of such as, foot touching/guiding loads cables, operating crane and foot touching crane that can result in shock, electrocution, fires, and explosions.

To prevent or eliminate this risk an employer can include the use of:

  • Insulation
  • Guarding
  • Grounding
  • Electrical Protective Devices
  • Safe Work Practices, such as….
    • Avoid working in wet working conditions
    • Avoid overhead powerlines
    • Use proper wiring and connectors
    • Use and maintain tools properly
    • Wear correct PPE to control electrical hazards

Remember to always use a certified signal person to assist with your mobile crane operations. Total Equipment Training will come to your work site to perform heavy equipment training so please contact us today!

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.