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Discussing industry standards for maintenance and inspection with OHS Canada

In the December 2021 episode of Safe Zone, service manager Kevin Toms and crane technician Chris Shakeshaft of Hoisting Ltd sat down with OHS Canada editor Marcel Vander Wier. They talked about the industry standards, both provincial and national, that guide overhead crane maintenance and inspections—and what’s coming for the crane industry. Here’s the overview.

What are some of the better-known codes and standards?

Overhead crane inspectors will follow the codes and standards based on provincial legislation.  In Alberta, we follow OHS or CSA Standard B167 for overhead crane maintenance and inspection. British Columbia follows WorkSafeBC. Most western provinces have their own jurisdiction but do refer back to CSA as their basic guidelines.

How often should inspections occur?

Most cranes should be inspected at least once a year by a qualified inspector. There should also be a daily inspection to ensure site safety. Depending on the hoist’s usage, it can be inspected every month or every quarter. The more it’s used and the higher the lift capacity, the more the overhead crane should be inspected and maintained.

What should an overhead crane owner do before an inspection?

The owner is responsible for maintaining and keeping records for their equipment over its lifetime. Before any inspection, they should check their logbook and make sure it includes engineering documentation, proof of load tests, and records for any work done. All of these factors can lead to an inspection failure and potential for operational shutdown if the right information isn’t provided. Some owners keep electronic records so they’re easier to find and maintain.

Owners should also train their operators to identify problems before the inspector arrives.

What can an overhead crane owner expect during an inspection?

The first thing an overhead crane inspector will do is check the logbooks. There should be a copy of the original equipment manual with inspection and maintenance standards. They’ll also look for proof of load testing and any information about previous maintenance, repairs, or modifications that were done. 

Next, they’ll go through a visual and mechanical inspection for defects or safety issues. Visual inspection can include looking for cracks, loose wires, and loose or missing bolts, while mechanical inspection ensures the overhead crane is operating within the manufacturer-defined parameters.

A simple crane with easy access should take 3–5 hours to inspect. Timing can depend on factors like runway length, number of columns, and how detailed the owner’s manual is.

What’s next for the overhead crane industry?

Technicians can now go online to find the owner’s manual for a specific overhead crane. This type of digital information wasn’t available 30 years ago. Because it’s online, technicians can do a proper inspection regardless of whether or not the owner still has their manual.

Overhead cranes are also becoming more modernized with onboard diagnostics and long-distance wireless monitoring. Old cranes can even be retrofitted with new technology. This removes the possibility of human error and makes the equipment safer by enforcing operating standards like weight limits and travel distance.

Listen to the full podcast episode on OHS Canada.