An overhead industrial crane is a major investment, so it’s critical that regular overhead crane maintenance and inspections are done to protect this important piece of machinery. The following tips will help crane owners keep their machines running in top operating form for years to come. Keep in mind that this list is in no way exhaustive. Crane manufacturers should be contacted for machine-specific maintenance and inspection guidelines.
1. Utilize Overhead Crane Maintenance Checklists
Overhead crane maintenance checklists should be put in place wherever a crane will be in use. These checklists should include critical safety guidelines established by the crane lift manufacturer or a professional engineer.
What And When Inspections Should Be Done
While setting up a maintenance and inspection checklist is important, it doesn’t mean much if inspections aren’t carried out on a regular basis. Make sure to schedule regular inspections in order to reduce the risk of accidents caused by crane defects and/or malfunctions. The following crane lift inspections should be conducted on a daily to periodic basis.
- Confirm operating mechanisms are functioning properly and look for any faulty adjustments.
- Look for any potential deterioration or leakage in lines, valves, tanks, drain pumps and/or other parts of various systems.
- Check for deformed or cracked hooks.
- Inspect for excessive wear or distortion on hoist chains and end connections.
Daily To Monthly Inspections
- Check operating mechanisms for excessive wear
- Inspect running rope and end connections for any wear, broken strands, etc.
- Look for hooks with deformities or cracks.
- Check for excessive wear or distortion on hoist chains and end connections.
As Recommended Inspections
- Conduct rope reeving according to the manufacturer’s recommendations.
- Inspect for loose bolts and rivets.
- Check for deformed, corroded or cracked members.
- Look for worn, cracked or distorted parts (for example pins, shafts, bearings, rollers, gears, and locking and clamping devices).
- Check for worn or cracked sheaves and drums.
- Inspect brake-system parts, linings, pawls and ratchets for excessive wear.
- Look for any excessive wear of chain drive sprockets and excessive chain stretch.
- Check for potential inaccuracies in load, wind and other indicators.
- Inspect electrical components for deterioration.
- Check motors for improper performance.
In addition to these routine checks, OSHA requires any new and/or altered crane functions to be tested before performing the following functions:
- Bridge travel
- Trolley travel
- Hoisting and lowering
- Limit switches, locking and safety devices
2. Record Any Issues And Take Proper Precautions
Any problems or issues that are found during an inspection should be recorded clearly in your overhead crane maintenance logbook.
The crane should then be relocated to a location where repair work won’t interfere with other cranes or with employees’ daily work. Be sure to place a standard warning tag on the crane’s switch informing employees not to start the equipment. This tag must be filled out completely and signed.
3. Remember Safety Standards When Making Repairs
When working in a warehouse, there are some general warehouse safety rules that should always be followed. But in addition to these, when conducting repairs or regular maintenance on a lift crane, there are some equipment-specific safety guidelines that need to be adhered to.
- Make sure that all controllers are placed in the “off” position and the main switches are open and locked prior to starting repairs on a lift crane.
- Make necessary safety provisions, like the use of rail stops, when another lift crane is on the runway.
- Use proper fall protection equipment to avoid accidents or injuries.
- Nothing should be carried when going up and down ladders. Items that are too large for a pocket or work belt should be lifted or lowered using the crane and a rope.
- Keep the area directly below the crane clear. To avoid an accident or injury from a falling object, put up a barrier around the lift crane.
- Prevent loose parts or tools falling from the lift crane.
- Remove all tools, stops, parts or other materials when the repair job is complete.
When making any or all repairs on a crane lift, it is vital to your safety and those around you, as well as the crane itself, that you follow the manufacturer’s manual and your company’s safety standards. Deviating from these standards could result in a serious accident or injury.
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