Preventing Accidents at Work
About Me
Preventing Accidents at Work

Safety management in various fields is an interest of mine. The industrial field tends to have more accidents than most other types of job sites, so I’ve spent a lot of time learning about industrial accidents. How do they happen? Why do they happen? How do they affect employees, business owners, and clients? How do they impact the overall success of an industrial business? Some of the answers to these questions can be found in this blog. I started it to share the information that I’ve been collecting with people that are in my field of interest. If you work or own a business in the industrial field, knowing how to prevent accidents at work should be important to you. The information here can help you learn how to be more proactive in preventing them.

Preventing Accidents at Work

2 Overhead Crane Myths Debunked

Henry Ellis

As the owner of an up-and-coming manufacturing business, you might be more concerned about meeting deadlines or keeping your clients happy than you are about who operates your overhead cranes and whether or not daily inspection sheets are filled out. To complicate the matter, myths surrounding proper crane usage are common, leaving business owners confused and complacent. Here are two overhead crane myths debunked, and what might happen if you decide to ignore the truth:

1: Daily Inspections Are A Waste of Time

You need to get those metal beams moved now, which is why you might decide to ignore those "daily inspections" you were told to do when you had that overhead bridge crane installed in the first place. However, skipping these necessary inspections can actually end up costing you more money in the long run. If your employees operate a crane that has structural issues or mechanical problems, you run the risk of damaging your equipment or injuring your employees—which could land you with a steep worker's compensation lawsuit. To avoid these types of issues, OSHA recommends checking overhead cranes for these issues daily:

  • Leakage: Inspect cranes daily for oil or water leakage. Look for signs of previous moisture damage, such as rust, oil spots, or slippery floors. If your crane is leaking hydraulic fluid, it might grind to a halt in the middle of an important lift.
  • Maladjustment: Although workers are supposed to return the crane to its regular position and settings after use, some people neglect to comply with this standard. At the beginning of the day, check the crane for maladjustment, and return all settings to their default position. This will keep your employees from lifting items too quickly, or damaging the machine by using the wrong settings.
  • Twisting: Inspect the hoist chains and straps for twisting and distortion, which could put extra pressure on the lines and cause them to snap unexpectedly.

In addition to checking your crane daily for these issues, cranes should be inspected monthly for reeving ropes, damaged operating mechanisms, and any component that has been noted as being damaged but deemed acceptable for continued use. To protect yourself from undue liability, consider keeping a daily and monthly log regarding inspections and who performed them.

2: If Employees Understand Basic Crane Usage, Formal Training Isn't Needed

If your workers work well together, you might not think much about letting one employee, who has carefully watched proper crane operations for years, man the helm during a pinch. However, OSHA requires anyone who is operating a crane to either be certified by an accredited crane testing operation or participating in a training program audited by OSHA for compliance.

In addition to understanding basic load capacity requirements and knowing where to find the user manual, OSHA requires crane operators to be proficient in written English and to pass a literacy exam. This ensures that crane operators will be able to communicate with other employees effectively during an emergency. Crane operators should also understand inherent site hazards and proper shut-down procedures, which help to offset workplace accidents.

Trainees are also not permitted to operate the crane without supervision until they have completed the accredited training course. Also, keep in mind that there are restrictions regarding which types of cranes a person in training is allowed to operate. For example, under OSHA rules, a trainee is not permitted to operate an articulated crane anytime it is used to stabilize, support, or hold material used during a construction action, such as installing roof trusses. Before you allow any trainee to operate a crane, carefully consider the action, and stay on the safe side by looking up the official OSHA rule.

Although you might be tempted to sidestep OSHA guidelines regarding training, doing so can have potentially catastrophic financial consequences. For example, OSHA is allowed to levy fines up to $7,000 per infraction for first-time violations, and up to $70,000 for repeated or intentional violations. To avoid issues, make a strict rule that only certified crane operators are permitted behind those controls. Also, double check your training program to make sure that it complies with proper OSHA standards.

By understanding common misconceptions regarding overhead cranes, you might be able to keep your company safe and avoid serious fines. For more information, visit websites like