How Crane Inspection Services Improve Safety and Productivity

Improve Safety and Productivity with Crane Inspection

Using a third-party crane inspection service can help to ensure that all parts are in a good condition. Read on to learn how this improves safety.

From 1992 to 2006, there were an average of 22 construction worker deaths each year due to crane accidents. This resulted in 323 construction fatalities during this time period. There are numerous factors that can cause such accidents, but regular crane inspection can prevent at least some of them.

Close-up Worker inspector  holding clipboard on the background of construction

What Are the Leading Threats for Crane Operators?

According to the report from the Center for Construction Research and Training, there were a few common types of accidents.

Overhead power line electrocutions caused the most fatalities, with 32% of deaths recorded. Crane collapses caused 21% percent of fatalities, and 18% were caused by workers getting struck by equipment.

Most of these accidents can be attributed to user error. Some, however, can be blamed on faulty equipment or other factors.

How Can Construction Accidents Be Prevented?

The greatest way to prevent any type of construction accident is by providing worker training.

Too many workers are brought on to a project without learning how to do the work. Each piece of equipment requires special training on how to use it. This is particularly true with heavy equipment like cranes.

If a construction project gets underway without crane operator training, you’re asking for trouble.

What Kind of Training is Needed for Crane Operation?

It’s about much more than just know how to use the equipment. As we saw above, most crane-related fatalities occurred from overhead power line electrocutions.

Workers must be aware of the dangers of surrounding them on each job site. They also must be trained on how to manage these dangers and work around them safely.

Poorly trained workers may not realize that certain practices are unsafe. They also might not be aware of threats to look for in the job site.

Even weather-related factors like snow and ice, or strong winds can impact the safety of a construction site.

Heavy rains may cause the ground to shift under heavy equipment. Icy roads may cause the crane to slip, or even cause workers to slip near equipment.

Workers must be trained on how to use cranes and other equipment in all types of situations. They must also be trained on how to identify risks in the environment and how to manage them safely.

How Does Crane Inspection Improve Construction Safety?

Not all crane accidents are related to outside factors like worker error or the weather.

Some problems are due to malfunctioning or broken equipment. The only way to find these problems is by performing a regular crane inspection.

Just like your car requires regular inspections to make sure it’s running efficiently, so does your crane.

How Does Crane Testing Improve Productivity

In addition to worker safety, regular crane inspection will also improve productivity. Any time a piece of equipment breaks down, your team will experience unexpected downtime.

Depending on how long it takes to find a replacement part or a different crane altogether, this is time added to your project. If you had a tight deadline already, this could cause you to miss it entirely.

Inspections ensure equipment is functioning properly. This can prevent breakdowns, and improve productivity.

Common Crane Tests

There are a number of tests that can be performed for your crane inspection.

Load Testing

Load testing, for example, can make sure that your machine is capable of carrying the weights you need it to. If you have a small crane that can only carry 500 lbs, it could collapse or tip over under the weight of 1,000 lbs. Load testing lets you know what weights your crane can safely move.

Dielectric Testing

As mentioned earlier, the greatest threat to crane workers is electrocution from overhead lines.

Believe it or not, working with the right type of crane in the right type of condition can save workers from this risk.

Dielectric crane testing checks to see if your crane can protect workers from a live power line. It makes sure your boom’s insulation could withstand expected voltage. Even insulated bucket trucks and insulated digger derricks may not withstand all voltages.

It’s necessary to see just how much protection your equipment provides. Otherwise, your workers could be at grave risk when coming into contact with live workers. This is one crane inspection you can’t ignore.

Maritime Inspections

Different applications require different types of equipment. And different types of equipment require different inspections.

Shore Base and Barge Mounted Cranes are required to meet the regulations defined by OSHA Maritime Enforcement under 29CFR 1919.

When working at sea, the risks become even greater. If an accident were to occur, there’s limited space for workers to escape to. There are also limited resources available for rescue.

Crane inspection is critical to maintaining safe operations aboard any maritime vessel.

What to Look for in an Equipment Inspection Company

Now that you know the importance of regular crane inspection, how do you find a reputable inspection company?

In general, it’s best to find a local service provider. Local companies will be aware of regional inspection requirements if any exist. They will also be more accountable since it will be easier to send out a technician to do the work close by.

Above all, find a company that follows the national certification program offered by the National Commission for the Certification of Crane Operators (NCCCO). They should also provide training to prepare candidates for NCCCO examinations.

A good inspection company will have multiple inspectors and trainers available to support your needs. It also helps to have trained engineers on staff who are familiar with more technical issues.

This type of company can become your partner in ensuring safe equipment and providing necessary training to workers.

Where to Find Crane Inspectors

Generally, it’s a good idea to get referrals from other crane operators. If somebody is happy with who they’re working with, it’s a good indication you have a trustworthy option.

If you’re located in Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Delaware, or Maryland, Atlantic Crane Inspection Services is available to help. We service each of these states and have decades of experience in crane inspection and worker training.

Contact us to see how we can help you.

Have you ever wondered how the skyscraper your working in was built?

New heights are possible now with updated tower cranes and their technology

You see tower cranes every time you drive around. These massive structures that help build other massive structures are impossible to miss. They inspire both awe as to how something that tall are constructed and fear that they might tip over at any moment.

When you take a moment to really look at them and how they operate, you are left with more questions than answers.

How can these structures be so thin yet able to pick up those weights? It’s the same type of amazement you feel watching a 100 lb woman lift a ridiculously heavy barbell in Olympic weightlifting.

And how do these things ‘grow’ like vines sprouting out of a block in Super Mario? If your curiosity is killing you, this article will shed light on these questions.

Tower Crane Inspection

Breaking the Tower Crane into Parts

To understand how these monstrosities work, let’s look at the important parts.

  1. The construction crew prepares a concrete pad weeks in advance to serve as the foundation for the crane. The pad typically measures 30 feet by 30 feet and four feet in depth. The weight is about 400,000 pounds.
  2. The base is bolted to the concrete pad.
  3. The mast is the tower-like structure that gives the tower crane its height. It is secured above the base. It is made up of sections that are stacked on top of each other and bolted together. Each section usually measures 8 feet by 8 feet and twenty feet high.
  4. At the top of the mast is the slewing unit. This houses the gears and motor that allow the ‘arms’ of the crane to rotate.
  5. Tower cranes stand like a person extending both arms to the sides, with one arm longer than the other. Both arms are part of the slewing unit. The shorter horizontal arm is called the machinery armwhich contains the motor, gears, and electronics of the crane. It also carries the counterweights.
  6. The jib is the longer horizontal arm. It is also called the working arm because it is the one that bears the load. It has a trolley that can move the load from the crane’s center to the outer segment back and forth.
  7. The third part of the slewing unit is the operator’s cab. This is the ‘cockpit’ where the pilot controls the movements of the crane like a giant mecha robot. Tower crane operators require extensive training.

Don’t Sway

A tower crane looks a lot like a toddler’s building blocks. You can stack blocks on top of one another and watch the tower grow. But there will come a point where just breathing on it will cause the whole structure to crash.

How does the tower crane avoid the fate of its little counterpart?

There are several differences between a tower crane and a tower block. The first factor that gives the crane stability is the strong base of support. The whole thing is essentially fixed to the ground due to the base being anchored to the heavy concrete pad.

The mast of a tower crane has sections much like the building blocks of a block tower. The difference is that the construction crew attaches the sections together with heavy-duty steel bolts. The mast itself has a lattice structure that contributes to its strength and stability.

A Balancing Act


The two arms of the tower crane are like a balance scale or a seesaw. In essence, it is a lever simple machine with the fulcrum in the middle.

Because the jib or working arm is longer, it has a mechanical advantage over the shorter machinery arm. This is why the machinery arm holds the heavy motor, gears, and additional concrete counterweights.

A free-standing tower crane is actually slightly off-balanced in favor of the machinery arm. The strong base foundation handles the additional stress. Adding load to the working arm and adjusting the distance of the trolley from the center put the crane into a balanced state.

From this, you can surmise how important load testing these machines are. The safety and stability of the whole structure depend on how carefully the weights are balanced. This is also the reason why electronic sensors are present to prevent overloading.


Tower Cranes Soaring into the Sky


How do tower cranes grow to gargantuan heights? The method is actually an ingenious one that uses various applications of physics.

Mast sections are added or rather inserted into a tower crane. A climber or climbing frame surrounds the section just below the slewing unit.

Here are the steps that pull off this feat.

  1. The construction crew loads a weight on the jib. This is important because of the next step.
  2. The crew then detaches the slewing unit which consists of the two arms and the operator cab. Remember when we said that a free-standing tower crane slightly favors the machinery arm? If weight is not hanged from the jib as a counterbalance, the slewing unit will tip over to the side of the machinery arm.
  3. The climbing frame will then lift the slewing unit using hydraulic rams, pushing it upwards a distance slightly above twenty feet.
  4. The mast section to be inserted is picked up by the crane. The crew then attaches the twenty-foot section into the gap created by the climber.
  5. Congratulations, the tower crane is now twenty feet higher. Repeat as needed.


Some Numbers

So what can these bad boys do? Here are some specifications of your average tower crane.

  1. The maximum unsupported height is about 265 feet. To achieve heights greater than 265 feet, the crane needs to be fastened to the building with steel collars.
  2. The maximum reach is 230 feet.
  3. How much weight can it handle? Tower cranes are typically rated for weights of 18 metric tons or 39690 pounds. This maximum weight can only be safely carried by positioning the trolley as close to the center as possible.
  4. The counterweights on the machinery arm weigh about 20 tons or 40000 pounds.


The Importance of Knowledge and Training


Tower cranes are wonders of engineering that require extensive training to operate. We discussed the importance of the load chart and this is part of the curriculum that we offer.

Contact us now. We are happy to provide answers to your questions and any additional information you may need.