Always Load Test Overhead Cranes

To use overhead cranes safely in your facility, you will need to engage in load testing. Not only will this reduce the risk of the overhead crane failing, which could lead to your staff members becoming injured, but it is often required by regulations. Not only that, but you may also face civil litigation if an accident occurs and you have not tested your cranes.

Test Periodically

When you perform a load test on an overhead crane, you will intentionally overload the overhead crane so its condition can then be tested. Heavier load tests should be performed annually or semi-annually. You should especially have your crane load tested after any repairs. Also, any new or altered cranes must be tested to ensure that the hoisting, trolley travel, bridge travel, limit switches, and locking are functioning properly. 

The load test is able to reveal functional errors that only occur when the overhead crane is placed under a certain degree of pressure. Also, if the overhead crane is able to function when carrying a load that is 25% greater than the maximum load, it is less likely to fail when it is operated at the typical capacity.

Read the Owner's Manual

Before performing the test, check the owner's manual to learn about the operational limitations of the crane. The load testing should ideally be performed by an employee who has professional training and experience regarding overhead cranes. 

Check Hooks, Hoists, and Wire Ropes Every Day

The hooks, hoists, and wire ropes must be checked every day to make sure that they're in good condition. The trip settings of hoist-limit devices are determined using a test that uses an empty hook. Also, make sure that the actuating mechanism for the upper-limit device is located so that it will trip the device under any conditions to prevent the contact of the hook or load block with the crane. 

Keep Other Operators Informed

The safe working load for the crane should always be marked on the crane, or a tag should be put in place. This allows operators to always know at what capacity they should be operating the crane. Take inspection notes whenever inspecting the crane. Always review previous inspection notes so you can understand potential issues that might have been noted in the past. Reoccurring issues can indicate that the crane might need to be serviced or replaced. 

Follow Safety Precautions

Even when the overhead crane has been load tested, you will always want to take appropriate safety precautions. Even when performing adequate load tests, cranes can sometimes fail and can be a danger.