Overhead Crane Inspection

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Inspection items for overhead cranes in regular service

Cranes which are operated at least once per month, otherwise known as cranes in regular service, need to be inspected on a regular basis at intervals that depend on a few factors. Overhead crane inspection is done either at “frequent” intervals or “periodic” intervals based on the integral components, the degree of the crane’s exposure to wear and tear, and how many malfunctions the crane is subject to. Both overhead crane inspections are required to be done by a qualified person who must then ascertain if any deficiencies seen are safety hazards. “Frequent” overhead crane inspections pertain to the operating mechanisms, hydraulic systems, hooks, and hoist chains. They can be inspected visually and OSHA recommends doing so daily, before every shift. Hoist equipment in particular needs to be inspected by a certified overhead crane inspector and must keep a written record. Periodic inspections cover bolts, sheaves, locking devices, braking systems, load indicators, power-plants, and electrical wiring. Periodic inspections should be conducted yearly for normal or heavily used cranes. Cranes with severe service should be inspected quarterly.


The following are overhead crane inspection guidelines as outlined in ASME B30.2 – overhead and gantry cranes and OSHA 1910.179.

Initial Overhead Crane Inspections

New, reinstalled, altered, repaired, and modified cranes shall be inspected by a designated person prior to initial use.

Frequent Overhead Crane Inspections

A qualified person must check the following during a “Frequent” overhead crane inspection. Visual examinations by the operator or other designated personnel as follows:

  • Cranes with normal service: monthly
  • Cranes with heavy service: weekly to monthly
  • Cranes with severe service: daily to weekly (records not required but suggested)
  • Observation during operation
  • Operating mechanisms, proper adjustment, and unusual sounds
  • Upper limit devices (hoist – switches)
  • Tanks, valves, pumps, lines, and other parts of air or hydraulic systems
  • Hooks and hook latches
  • Hoist roes and end connections
  • Braking distance
  • Wire rope location and lubricant
  • Load chain
  • Bridge and trolley travel limits
  • Signs of oil leakage or unusual sounds
    • Proper safety labels and warnings (visual and audible)

Rope of proper spooling onto the drum(s) and sheave(s)


A visual overhead crane inspection is done by a designated person making records of apparent external conditions to provide the basis of continuing evaluation. The designated person shall determine whether conditions found during an inspection constitute a hazard and whether disassembly is required for additional inspection. Periodic inspection of overhead cranes is completed annually for normal service and heavy service. Cranes with severe service shall be quarterly.

A qualified person must check the following during a “Periodic” overhead crane inspection. All items required infrequent inspection and the following items if applicable:

  • Deformed cracked or corroded members
  • Loose or missing bolts, nuts, pins, rivets
  • Cracked or worn sheaves and drums
  • Worn, cracked or distorted parts such as pins, bearings, wheels, shafts, gears, locking and clamping devices, bumpers and stops
  • Excessive wear on brake system parts
  • Excessive wear of drive chain sprockets and excessive drive chain stretch
  • Deterioration of controllers, master switches, contacts, limit switches, and push-button stations
  • Wind indicators for proper operation
  • Gasoline, diesel, electric, or other power plants for proper operation
  • Motion limit devices that interrupt power or cause a warning to be activated for proper performance (each motion shall be inched or operated at low speed into the limit device with no load on the crane)
  • Rope reeving for compliance with crane manufacturer’s design
  • All function, instruction, caution, and warning labels or plates for legibility and replacement
  • Fire extinguisher in the cab
  • Trolley and runway rails for misalignment and wear
  • Runway structure for corrosion, cracks, and deformities
  • Conductor system

Records from periodic inspections shall be made on critical items such as hoisting machinery, sheaves, hooks, chains, ropes and other lifting devices. Records shall be placed on file.

Overhead Crane Inspection Guidelines for Infrequently Used Overhead Cranes

An overhead crane that is used infrequently or which has been idle for a period of one more month or more but less than one year shall be inspected before being placed in service using the guidelines outlined in Frequent Inspection.

Inspection of cranes not in regular use

Cranes that are not used at least once per month and maybe infrequently or irregularly used, or even idle while in storage or standby. These cranes need full inspections before they can be used again according to the OSHA standards per certain times spent unused. Cranes that have been unused for between 1 and 6 months should be inspected via the “Frequent” overhead crane inspection requirements listed above according to cranes that are in regular use. Cranes that have been idle for more than 6 months need to conform to both the “frequent” and “periodic” overhead crane inspection requirements. Cranes that are considered on standby, or are not used regularly but are used intermittently, should be inspected semi-annually according to the “frequent” inspection criteria. In addition, and idle wire rope inspection should be performed as well.

Idle wire rope inspection:

Wire rope installed on a crane should not be left unused for more than 1 month at a time without being inspected again before use. A qualified person must inspect the wire rope and certify it’s inspection with his/her signature. The qualified person should check the wire rope for a reduction in rope diameter, broken or worn outside wires, corroded wire, and kinked or crushed wire.

Crane Load Testing

All new, reinstalled, altered, repaired and modified cranes should be load tested prior to initial use.

Learn more about our crane load testing services.


In order to avoid occupational accidents, OSHA 1910.179 details the specifications for overhead crane inspection. Although the specifications are loaded with legal phrasing, for easier implementation, you should use multiple parts to build inspection checklists.

Section 1910.179(e)(6), for instance, brings attention to the moving parts of machine guards. OSHA mandates that “guards shall be securely fastened” under this provision. Therefore, your checklist for overhead crane inspection must contain a section that ensures the secure fastening of guards so that you are sure of its safety and compliance with OSHA regulations.
Bear in mind that, depending on the various aspects of the safety standard required, creating multiple checklists can come in handy. The less regular but more rigorous checks can be preserved for the more comprehensive parts of the examination. While the required time commitment may be daunting, it’s worth taking such time to go through & validate your compliance with each standard to guarantee your compliance with the laws of OSHA.

In Need of Overhead Crane Inspection Services?

Total Equipment Equipment specializes in annual services for overhead crane inspections. To provide a comprehensive examination of your machines, our team of experienced heavy equipment professionals uses an extensive crane inspection checklist. When our thorough crane inspection clears your equipment, you can get back to work ensuring that your system is up to OSHA standards and your team is safe to do what they do best.

Contact us today to schedule your overhead crane inspection as required by OSHA.

Overhead Crane Inspection

We used Total Equipment Training’s highly qualified inspector to examine our overhead cranes for any deficiencies or safety hazards. Luckily none of our cranes needed to be removed from service, and our records are filed safely now. Thanks!

Forman – Pittsburgh PA.