Overhead Crane Risk Assessment

Safety for the Good Operation of the Overhead Crane

In your company or workshop, for your efficiency, convenience, and safety. The cranes or overhead cranes are extremely important to perform the lifting task. They are very useful and popular in most industries; such as construction, metallurgy, mining, oil, chemical industry, production process, transport, rail, storage, logistics, etc.

Workplaces can be in factories, construction sites, warehouses, workshops, garages, iron smelting, port, etc.

Therefore, we want to offer you relevant information for your Crane and Hoist.

Safety rules:

  • For each crane, signs of nominal weight must be hung in visible places for all collaborators.
  • Check the overhead cranes and their components before starting to operate.
  • When the overhead Crane is working, no one should be allowed to be on the bridge
  • It is forbidden to use the hook to transport people, it is extremely dangerous.
traveling crane

Overhead crane hazards and control measures

Safe Working Load

For example, if your loads are always 1 ton, you should have a hoist that allows you to load up to 2 tons and not just have a 1-ton hoist, the risk is expensive and is considered an occupational risk.

  • The operator without operation ID or under the influence of alcohol can not handle the crane.
  • Adopt the necessary security measures according to your country.
  • Do not throw things from the crane cabin, it’s dangerous.
  • Check that limit switches and protection devices work normally.
  • The equipment must be kept clean and orderly.
  • Do not leave tools, explosive, flammable, or dangerous materials in the cabin
  • Do not come up with food for it.
  • Do not overload the crane, you should always consider a surplus before buying and installing the crane and the hoist.
  • For the repair and inspection lights, their voltage should be below 36 V.

Overhead crane inspection checklist

Restrictions. Equipment and Cranes must not work under the following conditions:

  • The load is not tied properly.
  • overloaded equipment.
  • The signal is not clear.
  • drag the goods obliquely.
  • explosive, flammable, and dangerous materials without protective measures (unless you have special equipment for this type of load)
  • There is great wear for the steel cable.
  • the lifting mechanism would be damaged.
  • You can not crash between overhead cranes. Do not use a crane to promote the movement of the other.


When the overhead crane is in operation, there should be no obstacle in the production line, and the height of the hook, spreader, and load must be at least 2 m above the ground. If you overcome the obstacles, the extra height must be more than 0.5 m.

Overhead crane inspection

  • If you need to perform the inspection or maintenance, you have to cut off the electric power and place a notice for the collaborators. When it is necessary to work with energy, it is necessary to take security measures.
  • It is necessary to make the technical safety checks constantly, in addition to planning corrective maintenance services for your hoists and overhead cranes.

Lifting maneuvers:

  • For the lifting of very heavy loads, liquid metal, explosives and dangerous materials, you must lift them slowly first up to the height of 100-200mm and test the reliability of the brakes.
  • It is not recommended to transport materials over people or machines.

Safety training

  • Before use, ensure the crane is suitable for the planned hoisting task. Confirm it has appropriate travel, lift, and capacity.
  • Visually and physically inspect the crane before use. Check for damage, wear, and proper operation of all functions.
  • Confirm the load weight. Check the capacity of all equipment including the hardware, rope, and slings. Do not exceed these capacities.
  • Select the right sling for each lift. Inspect slings and other rigging hardware before use for wear, stretch, or other damage. Do not use damaged or defective slings. Use softeners around sharp corners. Do not splice broken slings.
  • When communicating with a crane operator, use clear agreed-upon signals. Except for the stop signal, the crane operator should follow instructions from only one person – a designated signaler. Where a wired or remote controller is used, the operator should become familiar with all of its functions before lifting the load.
  • Warn all people in the load lift area before starting the lift. Ensure that the path of the load is clear of persons and obstructions. Do not lift loads over anyone. Center the crane hoist over the load before hoisting to prevent swinging of the load.

Operator training

  • Slide the sling fully onto the hoisting hook and ensure the safety latch is closed. Do not load the hook tip or hammer a sling into place.
  • Secure unused sling legs. Do not drag slings or leave loose materials on a load being hoisted.
  • Keep hands and fingers from being trapped when slack is taken out of a sling. Step away before the lift is started.
  • Move the load and controls smoothly. Minimize load swing.
  • Walk ahead of the load during travel and warn people to keep clear. Use a tagline to prevent rotation or other uncontrolled motion. Raise the load only as high as necessary to clear objects. Do not ride on the hook or load.
  • Set loads down on blocking, never directly on a sling. Do not pull or push loads out from under the hoist.
  • Do not leave the load (or the crane) unattended while the load is suspended.
  • Where crane operation by other personnel must be restricted, employ lockout and tagging procedures.
  • Store slings off the floor in a clean, dry location on hooks or racks. Do not leave slings, accessories, or blocking lying on the floor.
bridge crane

Overhead crane inspection

Overhead cranes can be an integral part of a facility’s productivity. If a shop crane is out of service for even just an hour it can have a domino effect throughout the whole facility. That’s where inspections on the overhead cranes can be a critical service to keep the crane (and shop) running smoothly.

Most facilities will call in a company that services overhead cranes or an overhead crane service company.

Overhead crane service

Overhead crane service companies are great at servicing the electrical and mechanical components but they may not have the expertise or experience in structural inspections. That’s where a crane inspection company should be involved.

They have the experience and the tools to do a proper structural inspection. Also, if there are defects discovered during the inspection, crane inspection companies have the experience and knowledge of how to do a proper repair.

Overhead crane maintenance

What happens when there are structural defects in an overhead crane?

It’s not uncommon to find structural defects on an overhead crane. If a defect is not found in a reasonable timeframe it could propagate into a structural failure. If a crane is taken out of service due to a structural defect it could be inoperable for a couple of days for repairs.

It’s best to catch these defects before they become a major issue. A small repair can be performed in an hour and a large repair could have the crane shut down for a couple of days.

Overhead crane inspection checklist

When a structural crane inspector checks an overhead crane they are looking for cracks in welds, deformed structural members, and other defects that could affect the structural integrity of the crane.

They will look at the columns that support the crane way to make sure they don’t have any defects. The most common defect on the columns are dents that occur when a forklift or other machinery accidentally hit the column.

Next is the crane way itself. Once again the inspector will check for any defects in the structural members and welds. It is important for the inspector to have access to the full length of the crane way for a thorough inspection.

The Bridge will be checked for defects including looking for any negative camber in the bridge beam. On the trolley, they will be looking for any structural defects and check the wire rope for any deficiencies.

OSHA overhead crane

A person conducting a business or undertaking has the primary duty to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, workers and other people are not exposed to health and safety risks arising from the business or undertaking.

This duty requires the person to manage risks by eliminating health and safety risks so far as is reasonably practicable, and if it is not reasonably practicable to eliminate the risks, by minimizing those risks so far as is reasonably practicable. It also includes ensuring so far as is reasonably practicable the:

  • provision and maintenance of safe plants including cranes, and
  • safe use, handling, storage, and transport of the plant.

The Work Health and Safety (WHS) Regulations include specific duties for a person conducting a business or undertaking with management or control of the plant, powered mobile plant, and plant that lifts or suspends loads.

If you own a crane you are the person with management or control of that plant.

If you hire or lease a crane, you have management or control of that plant for the period you have hired it. Both you and the person you have hired or leased it from will have duties to eliminate or minimize the risks associated with the plant, so far as is reasonably practicable.

Overhead crane risk assessment

risk assessment checklist

Find out what could cause harm. The following can help you identify potential hazards:

  1. Observe the workplace to identify areas where cranes operate and how they interact with other vehicles, pedestrians, and fixed structures like overhead electric lines.
  2. Ask the crane operator, crane crew, and others about problems they encounter at the workplace including operation, inspection, maintenance, repair, transport, and storage requirements.
  3. Review your inspection, test, and maintenance records e.g. logbooks, and incident and injury records including near misses.

Hazard assessment checklist

Assess the risk: In many cases, the risks and related control measures will be well known. In other cases, you may need to carry out a risk assessment to identify the likelihood of somebody being harmed by the hazard and how serious the harm could be. People who work with or near cranes are most at risk. Some of the risks when using a crane include:

  1. structural failure, overturning, or collapse of the crane
  2. contact or collision of the crane or its load with people or other plants and structures, and
  3. falling objects.

A risk assessment can help you determine what action you should take to control the risk and how urgently the action needs to be taken.

Risk management checklist

Take action to control the risk. The WHS laws require a business or undertaking do everything reasonably practicable to eliminate or minimize risks.

  1. The ways of controlling risks are ranked from the highest level of protection and reliability to the lowest.
  2. This ranking is known as the hierarchy of risk control. You must work through this hierarchy to manage risks.
  3. You need to consider possible control measures and make a decision about which are reasonably practicable for your workplace.
  4. Deciding what is reasonably practicable includes the availability and suitability of control measures, with a preference for using substitution, isolation or engineering controls to minimize risks before using administrative controls or personal protective equipment (PPE).
  5. Cost may also be relevant, but you can only consider this after an effective review of all reasonably practicable control measures.

The first thing to consider is whether crane-related hazards can be completely removed from the workplace. For example, designing items of size, shape, and weight so they can be delivered, handled or assembled at the location where they will be used without the need for a crane.

Event risk management checklist

If it is not reasonably practicable to completely eliminate the risk then consider the following options in the order they appear below to minimize risks, so far as is reasonably practicable:

  1. substitute the hazard for something safer e.g. replace a crane operating cabin with a restricted field of vision with one that has a clear field of vision or use a remote control, for example, a pendant control.
  2. isolate the hazard from people e.g. use concrete barriers to create an exclusion zone to separate crane operations from workers and powered mobile plant, and
  3. use engineering controls e.g. enclosing the operator with a falling objects protective structure (FOPS) to minimize the risk of the operator being hit by a falling object.

If after implementing the above control measures a risk still remains, consider the following controls in the order below to minimize the remaining risk, so far as is reasonably practicable:

  • use administrative controls e.g. schedule crane operations to avoid or reduce the need for pedestrians and vehicles to interact with the crane in the area of operation, and
  • use PPE e.g. gloves, hard hats, high visibility vests, earplugs/muffs, and eye protection.

Check your control measures. Control measures need to be regularly reviewed to make sure they remain effective, taking into consideration changes, the nature, and duration of work and that the system is working as planned.

Are cranes safe?

Are cranes safe?

Around 80% of all crane accidents are caused by overloading the safe working capacity of the equipment.
When a crane is overloaded, it is put under excessive stress that can cause damage to the equipment. This damage can result in the collapse of the crane.

How dangerous is crane operating?

Towering cranes used on construction sites to lift and transport hefty loads can be extremely dangerous and often lethal when they fall over, or when parts or the entire crane collapses due to some structural failure. They’re usually local news unless you lose an entire crane.

Why do cranes fall over?

Because of oversize loads or mishaps during assembly. In general, mobile cranes tend to fall over because of overly heavy loads, while tower cranes usually collapse in the course of being assembled, taken apart, or extended.

when should you include a structural inspection with your annual crane service?

If an overhead crane is a critical component to a shop’s productivity and/or commonly lifts loads higher than 50% of its capacity (eg. lifting more than 1 ton on a 2-ton crane), then would recommend an annual structural inspection.
Overhead crane servicing companies provide a needed maintenance and service package for your crane. This regular service should be coupled with a structural inspection from a crane inspection company to reduce downtime on your overhead crane.

How often are cranes inspected?

The frequency at which these inspections should take place is based upon the usage of your crane: A crane that operates under “normal service” should be inspected monthly; a crane in “heavy service” should be inspected weekly to monthly, and a crane in “severe service” should be inspected daily to weekly.

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