How to Ensure Overhead and Gantry Crane Safety

Apr 12, 2021 | Cranes

The overhead and gantry are the two most common types of industrial cranes. The overhead crane has a movable bridge that carries a movable trolley supporting the hoisting mechanism, traveling on an overhead fixed runway structure.
A gantry crane system is very much like the overhead crane system except for the fact that the bridge for carrying the trolley or trolleys is rigidly supported on two or more legs. It mostly runs on fixed rails or other similar runways, usually on the ground.
The overhead and gantry crane safety standards and operating procedures for both machines are grouped because of the similar traveling and hoisting characteristics. Bridge crane safety must be taken seriously in operating this equipment.

Pre-Operation Check

Each machine must be tested before an operation, no matter how frequently or infrequently it is used. Listen and look for any sound or movement that could signal damage by operating the crane a few feet in each direction. Check the emergency stop button to make certain it is working properly by slowly raising the load block until it trips the upper limit switch. But above all, do not ignore any red flag no matter how little it might be.

Operation Safety | Gantry Crane Safety | Overhead Crane Safety

  • Always, I repeat, always, perform a below-the-hook device inspection. This entails checking for damage: spreader bars, shackles, pulleys, slings.
  • Make it a habit to start the lift slowly to minimize the swinging of the load. Ensure that the rigging job is properly holding, and there is no slipping. Then Raise the load high enough to clear any obstacles in one smooth motion. Do all this in a smooth motion avoiding any abrupt moves.
  • Remember, overhead cranes are designed only for vertical lifts. If the load is pulled sideways, serious damage or catastrophic crane failure could result. Once the load is properly raised, you can move the load to the desired location but remember that you should never carry a load over the top of someone. When the crane is in position, then you can slowly lower the load to its set-down location.
  • If the load is free-swinging then it is advised that tag lines should be affixed to at least two corners of the load. This ensures that the load can be turned without standing under or close to it while adjusting its position by hand.
  • If you come across any sort of emergency, shut off the main switch that powers the crane. Always make sure you are familiar with the location of the main disconnect switch and that it is easily accessible. In case you are using a crane that does not have a disconnect box nearby, the stop button on the control pendant should be yours to go to as it cuts off all power to the crane.

Required Safety Practices

Never move a load over co-workers nor permit co-workers to walk underneath the load. Ensure that you return the load block to its designated location after use. Also, make sure that you do not leave the load block low enough for someone to run into.

Continuously observe equipment for any sign of problems during operation and most of all, do not ignore the tiniest glitch. Always pay attention to what you are doing. The smallest of distractions could be fatal. And above all, do not operate such machines if you are intoxicated.

3 Safety Tips for Dealing with Cranes

Tip #1: Never Exceed the Load Rating.
The first and most crucial safety tip is never to exceed the load rating of a crane.

Every crane has a specific load limit that it can safely handle. When you exceed this limit, you risk the crane collapsing or tipping over.

If you do so, you’ll endanger your workers’ lives, and you’ll also face financial losses. To prevent such accidents from occurring, make sure that you know the crane’s load capacity, and avoid going beyond the maximum weight limit.

Tip #2: Proper Training and Certification.
The second tip is to ensure that every worker who will operate a crane receives proper training and certification.

A qualified and certified operator knows how to handle the crane safely and efficiently. Proper training includes a comprehensive understanding of operational controls, crane usage principles, and lifting strategies. Regular training and re-certification should also be conducted to ensure that operators are up-to-date with the latest safety guidelines and regulations.

Tip #3:Always Conduct a Pre-Operation Check
Before using the crane, perform a thorough pre-operation check to ensure that all parts are in good condition and function correctly. Follow the suggestions under the Pre-Operation Check section above for best practices.

This inspection should include checking for leaks, cracks or damages on the crane structure, hoist, ropes, and hook. Look for evidence of corrosion or rust on the metal parts, and examine the wheels, brakes, and bearings.

FAQs on OSHA and Cranes

OSHA regulations on crane safety are robust. Here are answers to frequently asked questions.

Does OSHA require overhead crane training?
OSHA’s regulations state that employers are responsible for providing training programs to all their employees whose work involves the use of cranes. This is to ensure the safety of the operator and those around them.

The training should cover the specific type of crane being used, as well as general safety guidelines. Such training should ensure that the workers understand OSHA requirements, the crane operating procedures, hazards, and limitations of the crane, among others.

OSHA also requires that operators be re-evaluated every three years to ensure their continued competence. Employers must keep records of the operator’s training and certification.

What are the OSHA inspection requirements for overhead cranes?
OSHA regulations require overhead crane inspections to be carried out at regular intervals.

Inspections are necessary to ensure the crane’s safety and performance meet the industry’s recommended standards. Inspection requirements are detailed under 1910.179, which outlines the criteria for conducting inspections and maintenance procedures. OSHA mandates that employers must document proof of inspection, maintenance, and repairs needed and completed.

What is the safety factor for a Gantry Crane?
The safety factor for a gantry crane is determined by the manufacturer based on the design and intended use of the crane. The safety factor is the ratio of the maximum load the overhead gantry crane can withstand safely.

In the US, the safety factor must be between 2:1 and 3:1 for hoisting devices. Employers must ensure that the load capacity of the gantry crane is not exceeded and that the crane is used only for its intended purpose.

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