OSHA Inspections: Eight Signs It’s Time to Replace Your Overhead Crane Equipment

April 9, 2020 at 4:00 AM
by T&M Cranes
osha inspections

Overhead cranes serve as one of the most important pieces of equipment in a production, distribution or even repair facility. They increase efficiency, protect workers and make work much easier — that is, until they degrade, become obsolete or no longer meet facility needs.

Since overhead cranes represent a major investment, owners may struggle on the decision of whether or not to replace or upgrade. We’ve produced a handy guide to help with the decision-making process.

8 Safety Reasons

Most cranes require replacement due to safety issues. Any heavy equipment needs regular checks because breakdowns can cause harm to workers and damage to property.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration, American Society of Mechanical Engineers and Construction Management Association of America all have specific guidelines on how often a facility should inspect an overhead crane. Experts recommend that owners perform regular and thorough inspections to catch problems before they endanger people or equipment.

Inspections can reveal patterns of wear and tear that indicate important issues that should be addressed through repair, replacement or scaled-back service.

Here are eight common issues that come up during OSHA inspections, as well as those conducted in-house.

1. Chain links should receive inspection more often than any other component. They get exposed to much of the work, as well as other extreme conditions in which the crane may work. Crushed or cracked chain links can present a serious danger to operation.

2. Many vital parts of an overhead crane can succumb to corrosion, especially in wetter or oceanside areas.

Inspections for corrosion should focus on interior areas. If any rust or other signs of this problem appear externally, they usually indicate more serious problems within. If corrosion advances too far, the crane will require replacement. OSHA inspections occur too infrequently to stop this problem before it escalates, so check for corrosion regularly. 

3. Facilities with cranes will usually also require some type of pad — usually a stabilizer, slider or outrigger. Because they endure significant wear and tear, they may tend to wear out before the rest of the crane.

Shininess, unusual equipment noises and visible signs of wear will indicate that a pad’s life span has almost run out.

4. As machines age, maintenance problems will increase. Just as with one’s automobile, the owner has to draw the line where continued maintenance and costs related to inconvenience are higher than that of a new machine.

If your crane requires regular maintenance, you may need to replace or even upgrade.

5. Older equipment grows obsolete in many ways. More often than not, it can no longer function in tandem with modern equipment. In other cases, the crane has become so old that new replacement parts get too difficult to obtain.

6. In other cases, a crane may function perfectly but no longer meet facility needs. Many owners have to replace cranes because they can no longer perform efficiently or at all when needs change.

7. When businesses grow, they often demand more from their workers and equipment alike. Sometimes the old equipment is incapable of — or is tested too much by — new needs. If your old crane cannot lift heavy-enough loads or is rated for less frequent use, consider getting a new crane.

8. Older, yet reliable, equipment that passes OSHA inspections may still be worth replacing. Newer equipment includes much better energy efficiency, connectivity with digital devices, and other advancements. A new crane may also provide superior service and needs less effort from human operators.

Remember this checklist to help you consider why you may need a new overhead crane:

  • Failure to pass OSHA inspections
  • Crushed chain links
  • Corrosion
  • Pad wear
  • Excessive wear and frequent repair issues
  • Replacement parts more difficult to locate
  • Productivity reasons 
  • Changing lift requirements
  • Newer models offer more efficiency and better service

Reach out today to learn more about how we at T&M Cranes can provide you with the most reliable and durable cranes in the business.