Category Archive: Overhead Equipment
For companies requiring overhead lifting operations, taking steps to avoid crane failure is critical to ensuring the safety of workers and overall efficiency of operations. No matter the specific industry or type of job site, taking a number of simple precautions can greatly reduce the risk of overhead crane failure.
Before operators use cranes, technicians should inspect them in accordance with the guidelines of CMAA Specification 78 as well as any relevant federal, state, and local requirements. Employing high-quality, reliable inspecting equipment is critical for determining whether any mechanical problems are present that may lead to accidents. Inspections should involve checking for cracks, faulty wiring, worn-out ropes, and damaged parts. Crane technicians must also make sure the crane doesn’t exceed rated capacity and that all safety devices are working properly.
For any company utilizing overhead cranes, standard inspections are required and must be thoroughly documented. OSHA and CMAA Specification 78 outline the following basic requirements for inspections:
- Initial inspection — This consists of an inspection in accordance with the original manufacturer’s recommendations, as well as documentation of the inspection.
- Pre-shift inspection — This consists of an inspection in accordance with crane-operator
Frequent inspections — These include visual and operational inspections performed by a qualified crane inspector. Specific inspection schedules will vary depending upon the equipment, rated capacity, service class, and size of the crane. Some applications may even require daily inspections. Items to be inspected may include hooks, wire ropes, load chains, brakes, reeving, and limit switches. Any fluid leakage or unusual sounds should also be identified and analyzed.
- Periodic inspections — These consist of detailed visual and operation inspections, in which individual components are examined to determine their condition. In addition to the items checked during the frequent inspection, structural members, connections, sheaves and drums, electrical components, bumpers, and below-the-hook devices may also need inspection during periodic checks.
Reporting — All inspections must be documented and maintained on file. Companies must implement a written and documented crane inspection and maintenance program.
OSHA also provides the following guidelines for proactively preventing crane accidents:
- Load test certification — All new and altered cranes are required to be tested under and meet OSHA Part 1910.179 standards.
- Rated capacity should be legibly marked on the product.
- Warning and safety information should be included.
- All equipment in a job site should have appropriate signs and warning labels.
Accidents can also be avoided through the completion of field-level hazard assessments, which include:
- Identifying all risks associated with the required tasks
- Evaluating the severity of all risks associated with identified hazards
- Working to eliminate or control hazards prior to and during work tasks
Companies should complete, communicate, and follow a plan with operators, riggers, and other workers regarding:
- Load weight and equipment capacity
- Possible job site hazards
- The integrity of the equipment
And to improve the safety and reliability of processes, it’s important to make use of critical crane components such as:
- Slow-down and stop-limit switches
- Overload-limiting devices and weigh scales with readouts
- Collision-avoidance devices/circuitry
Training programs for operator and maintenance personnel
Training your personnel in operation safety and maintenance will allow risks to be identified quickly, before serious problems can occur; qualified technicians should inspect cranes on a consistent basis. Make sure you train operators to perform thorough pre-shift equipment inspections as well, and keep in mind that different crane models and applications will require different operating and maintenance procedures, so be sure operators are referencing the correct operation and maintenance literature for your equipment.
All technicians must receive formal training in their areas of expertise, and are expected to be properly trained and tested in the following areas:
- Trade skills, such as basic electricity and wiring practices, as well as basic mechanical, machinery, aligning and rigging practices
- Safe crane operating practices, including rigging, hand signals, starting/stopping and controlling loads, and the dos and don’ts of safe operation
- Training on how to maintain, troubleshoot, and repair common crane components
- Basic job-site safety training
- Training on how to properly use and operate tools and equipment
- Job site conduct
Along with completing required training, employees are also expected to have completed any requirements outlined in a company’s safety statement, safety orientation process, and any other certifications or documentation. Ensuring staff is well-trained and up-to-date on safety guidelines will help prevent accidents and injuries.
And lastly, it’s crucial for all workers to stay focused and communicative throughout all processes. Below are some basic tips for ensuring work areas remain as safe as possible.
- Remain alert, especially on critical or difficult lifts.
- Perform a pre-job brief to review the task procedure and risk-mitigation requirements.
- Use radios, warning lights, and hand signals when necessary to ensure everyone knows what instructions and safety precautions to follow.
- Make sure that personnel know whom to contact if repairs become necessary.
To learn more about how to avoid crane failure at your facility, download American Crane’s free eBook, “What Your Cranes Wish You Knew.”
Written by Tom Reardon, Technical Instructor specializing in Hoists and Overhead Cranes for Columbus McKinnon Corporation
Crane owners are increasingly requesting certification to ensure that the individuals inspecting their cranes are fully qualified. To demonstrate their crane inspecting qualifications, many inspectors rely on Specification 78, published by the Crane Manufacturers Association of America (CMAA), as the most widely accepted industry standard.
Even the most experienced crane technician benefits greatly from getting certified, in ways such as:
- Enhanced and Continuing Education: Certification promotes education and continued education for technicians throughout their careers. This leads an employee to be more productive, which can lead to lower costs and better efficiencies.
- Reduced Risk of Inspection Oversight: Certification drastically decreases the risk that a technician will miss something during an inspection and creates a safer work environment for all employees involved in crane operation.
- Awareness of Industry Updates: As certifications expire, a technician must come back for training to prepare for re-certification. In the process of doing so, they learn about any new changes in safety standards, technical papers, and manufacturers’ recommendations.
What Does Crane Inspection Certification Training Cover?
Columbus McKinnon Corporation (CMCO)’s Crane and Hoist Inspection and Certification training was professionally developed by our full-time training staff. The program, the most comprehensive training course available in the industry today, applies to all brands of cranes and hoists.
Columbus McKinnon certified crane inspectors receive 24 hours of specialized training covering all aspects of cranes and hoists, including suspension, structure, motors, controls, gears, wheels, brakes, testing, and more.
In CMCO’s newly built 3,000 sq.ft., state-of-the-art training center, a 20-foot, top-running crane structure allows classes to perform hands-on inspections as they would in the real world. To add another layer of complexity into the practical evaluation of the crane technician, the course instructor intentionally incorporates deficiencies into the crane during the test inspection.
By the end of the course, a CMCO certified technician is knowledgeable of OSHA regulations, familiar with all pertinent ASME standards, and has passed a challenging written examination. Inspectors certified by Columbus McKinnon meet — and often even exceed — the requirements of CMAA Specification 78.
Many of our Channel Partners, like American Crane & Equipment Corporation, have taken advantage of CMCO’s Crane and Hoist Inspection Certification training. By investing considerable time and resources to certify their inspection personnel, American Crane & Equipment Corporation ensures that the inspections their team conducts for customers are thorough, accurate, and honest.
Over the past 50 years, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) specifications for crane safety have remained relatively unchanged. To begin enhancing the training and safety opportunities in the overhead lifting industry, OSHA has recently renewed a five-year alliance with the Crane, Hoist and Monorail Alliance (CHM).
The partnership demonstrates OSHA’s confidence in CHM as a trusted resource in an ongoing effort to increase workers’ safety. In a recent EHS Today article, OSHA’s Assistant Secretary of Labor Dr. David Michaels said, “Our alliance with CHM has been invaluable in helping to reduce and prevent serious or fatal incidents in the material handling industry.”
To follow the example that these industry leaders have set, here are six ways that you can increase crane safety within your own facility:
- Create Accountability with Your Inspection — Develop written guidelines for your crane and hoist inspection and maintenance programs; implement this code to train every operator on proper crane equipment use and safety protocol.
- Schedule Your Inspections — Create a pre-planned schedule to stay on top of equipment functionality through preventative maintenance. Having a schedule will help to avert any breakdown repairs by ensuring that your equipment always meets the necessary safety requirements.
- Read the Manual — It may sound silly, but it is crucial that every operator has read the manufacturers’ operation manuals. Implementing this practice will add an extra level of protection at your facility.
- Conduct Pre-Shift Inspections — Crane operators should understand the applicable OSHA, national, state, and local inspection requirements for their machinery and ensure that all products are in compliance with these specifications at the start of each shift.
- Implement a Lockout/Tagout Procedure — Lockout procedures safeguard employees by cutting equipment off from the energy source before any maintenance work. This precaution helps prevent accidental or unexpected operation from stored energy, as well as the resulting risk of injury.
- Know Your Equipment’s Limits — Employees should always be aware of crane load limits as well as the capacities of each payload.
By taking these simple precautions, you can increase everyday workplace safety for your operators. To learn more about how to increase crane safety in your facility, we invite you to download our maintenance troubleshooting guide, “What Your Cranes Wish You Knew.”
Industrial material movers can be divided into two categories: on-floor and overhead. More and more businesses are discovering the advantages of replacing their traditional on-floor movers, such as trucks, forklifts, and fixed conveyors, with overhead equipment for material handling within facilities. Overhead movers include three main types: cranes, hoists, and monorails.
Cranes utilize hooks, hoists, magnets, and other devices to transport loads. A crane’s operational range depends on the axes and rotational capabilities.
Hoists are simple but adaptable pieces of machinery that use wires, ropes, or chains to move freely suspended loads. Hoists can be powered manually, electrically, or by air. Monorails operate like overhead conveyors; they run along fixed paths in the ceiling using a single circuit or network of routes.
Compared to on-floor movers, each type of overhead material handling system provides the following benefits:
- Reduced footprint — Cranes and hoists require some floor-based support structures, but these can be strategically placed at facility edges and corners to minimize their footprint. Monorails run on tracks installed directly into the ceiling and, therefore, leave no footprint on the floor at all.
- Improved health and safety — Overhead movers reduce physical labor, which enhances ergonomics and removes employees from potential danger zones.
- More power — Cranes, hoists, and monorails are typically stronger than on-floor systems. They have greater load capabilities and more lifting mechanisms to handle a variety of loads.
- Increased productivity — Overhead movers allow for direct-path transportation, as opposed to on-floor movers that must navigate around various obstacles on the floor. The fixed monorail system reduces the opportunity for human error, which in turn lowers production losses.
Traditional on-floor material handlers create many facility limitations. Bulky ride-on movers generate clutter and restrict floor space because they require wide pathways and intersections to maneuver. Even when they are not in operation, forklifts and ride-on movers take up a large amount of space on the floor and get in the way of production.
On-floor machinery also depends on employee operation, making workers prone to long-term health risks and workplace injury. If a load is unbalanced or too heavy, forklifts can topple over.
Impaired visibility on ride-on machinery can result in workers getting caught between walls or driving off of loading docks. Raised conveyor belts force employees to strain themselves reaching for objects and risking entrapment of clothing or limbs in machinery. Overhead movers minimize all these risks.
American Crane & Equipment Corporation (ACECO) is equipped with the resources to fit both standard and custom crane solutions. With over 40 years of experience, our team thrives on a problem solving culture.
To learn more about the advantages of utilizing overhead equipment, we invite you to read our eBook, “The Ultimate Cheat Sheet for Overhead Equipment.”