Cranes are a common sight in construction areas thanks to their versatility. Not only can they lift items, but they often assist with digging and helping workers reach staggering heights. But, because they’re used repetitively, they can go through some serious wear-and-tear. This could make them dangerous to use if you don’t do meticulous probes. Below you’ll discover an inspection checklist and a few things you can use to prevent major issues. 

Why Should You Inspect Cranes?

It’s critical to monitor cranes for a few reasons. Inspections let you keep track of the crane’s health so you can catch potential problems before they worsen. This not only helps the crane stay durable but protects the operator and workers from injuries. 

What to Do Before the Initial Inspection

Before you start the overall review you’ll want to make sure to check some things. One is the crane’s records. Certain models require specific maintenance which is usually outlined in these papers. Besides this, the records will have a detailed log of the crane’s previous inspections which can give you a better idea of where problems might be and the general condition of the device. 

You’ll also want to observe the crane operator. It’s vital that they’re trained in the latest technology and understand how to safely handle it. 

In addition to this, ensure that the crane is only being used on landscapes and with the items it’s built for. If not, you might notice that the terrain or materials could overwhelm it. This could result in the machine breaking or parts of it (like the brakes) malfunctioning. 

Crane Inspection Checklist

After you’ve looked over the records, operator, and condition of the crane, you’ll want to do a comprehensive inspection of the machine. Here is a useful list that can aid you. 

For Set-Up

When setting up the crane you’ll want to look at these features. 

  • If there are obstructions near the job site. These include power lines, other structures, and environmental hazards that could cause issues. 
  • If the outriggers are extended to the right length.
  • If the crane’s overall structure (the frame, ropes, and boom) is sturdy. 
  • The age and condition of the machine.
  • If the crane is stable when on a particular landscape and when rotating. 

For Daily/Weekly Use

If you plan to run the device each day or week, you’ll want to check out these aspects. 

  • If the electrical wires are properly fused. 
  • If the connections are cracked or chipped.
  • If the drive sprockets are suffering from chain stretch.
  • If the controls are operating well. 
  • If the emergency buttons are in good condition and not sticking when pressed.
  • If the filters are clean.
  • How the crane swivels and rotates.
  • If there’s enough oil and lubricant on necessary pieces.
  • How the boom and jib turn and move. 
  • The RCI and LMI accuracy.
  • If there’s proper signage and a fire extinguisher inside.
  • How the engine is running and if it ignites the right warning lights and gauges.
  • The windshield’s condition. There should be no cracks, scratches, or smears on it. 

For Detailed Looks

Every so often you’ll need to do an elaborate survey of the machine. This will give you a better check of the small workings (like the bearings) and their condition. Here are some details to examine. 

  • If there are cracks in the welded components.
  • If there’s exterior structural damage. 
  • The counterweight’s security. 
  • The state of the bearings, pins, locks, gears, lugs, welds, and hook roller brackets.
  • That the brakes and steering wheel move correctly. 
  • That the calibration is correct.
  • That the load/stress bearings are working well.
  • If the chords and lacings are tearing or flaking. 
  • If there are any leaks in the hoses or connection points. 

While doing this might seem like a hassle, it’s key to confirming the crane is operating flawlessly. Ideally, have a thorough inspection done at least once a year. However, this amount might slightly increase depending on the model and its requirements. 

Preventive Tips

The previous checklists are important to reference but there are a handful of other preventive measures to keep in mind. 

Always Include a Loading Rate Chart

A useful preventive step is to keep a loading rate chart in the crane. The chart indicates the safest loading weights and angles that the crane can haul and move in. This way, the operator can refer to it when transporting materials.

Keep Updated Records on Hand

You’ll also want to confirm that you have modern and accurate records of the crane. This can serve as a quick reference point should something go wrong or you need to replace a part. Some things to ensure the records contain are:

  • The name of the mechanic who inspected it and the date the examination was done.
  • The parts that were replaced.
  • If there were any signs of worn or breaking components.
  • Detailed photographs of concerns.
  • The signature of the mechanic who checked the crane. 

Have Regular Inspections

One of the top ways to keep the device in great shape is to do consistent inspections. These don’t have to be intricate, but regular scans can prevent many issues down the road. It will also protect you from potential issues should there be a hidden problem that could cause injuries. 

If you’re not sure what to look for or what each inspection needs to include, refer to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standards. These contain instructions as to how to safely and efficiently operate a crane to keep it in good condition and to protect you from lawsuits. 

With the help of new technology, you can also track the crane’s condition on mobile devices. There are a handful of software programs you can download and cite if you have questions or concerns about the machine. You could also have workers upload photos of the crane and log any issues on it. 

Examining cranes is essential if you want to keep them in excellent condition. By using these tips, you can verify if your device is safe and durable.