skip to main content
Do's and Don’ts of Overhead Crane Equipment

Do's and Don’ts of Overhead Crane Equipment

Overhead cranes, also commonly referred to as bridge cranes, are pretty standard across industrial environments that require frequently moving heavy loads between set points indoors or out of doors. They function similarly to gantry cranes, except that the rails they move on are not located at the base, moving the entire crane structure, but rather the rails are generally incorporated into a building structure overhead of any workers, hence the name.

While you won’t see overhead cranes on construction sites themselves, they can be an essential component for many construction companies that can use them off-site to pre-build or assemble structures in a controlled environment for later delivery and installation on-site with a mobile boom crane. Pre-building in this way, even for custom projects, can help keep on schedule and on budget.

Dos and Don’t of Overhead Crane Equipment

While overhead and gantry-style cranes may differ a bit in form, they permit similar functions and have many safety concerns in common. So today, we wanted to take a look at some of the dos and don'ts associated with overhead cranes. If you have read any of our existing recommendations on gantry-style cranes, you will quickly be able to spot the similarities. 

1. Do Make Sure You Understand Lift Capacity

If a crane is expected to be used at a job site, everyone involved, from the operators, supervisors, and planners, needs to know the chosen equipment's capabilities and limits. The first step in understanding crane loads and what machine you need on site is to determine precisely what you need to lift accurately. How heavy it is, and where you need to lift it from and to.

  • Do understand the manufacturer's recommendations for lift capacity and frequency of use for the crane model you have selected.
  • Do Not ever attempt a lift that exceeds manufacturer recommendations.
  • Do Not perform a side pull or load.

The crane you select should not regularly be performing a critical lift or a lift performed at 75% or more of the crane's capacity. Performing critical lifts on a regular basis increases the chances of an unsafe lift and causes a quicker degradation of critical crane components. Max capacity is an ideal, and conditions are never perfect. If you find yourself often needing to do a critical lift, it may be time for an upgrade.

2. Don’t Overlook Safety Inspections

All types of construction equipment see heavy use and a lot of wear over the course of a project. It can be easy to be complacent around machines that have been reliable. But the lack of prior safety concerns shouldn’t result in skipping routine inspections or repairs, especially on cranes.

Make sure the crane is still in good operating condition with daily machinery inspections. If an operator speaks up about mechanical issues, have the crane inspected and serviced before putting a load or lives at risk of injury and damage.

  • Do perform daily inspection of crane and rigging equipment before the start of every shift
  • Do have regular, thorough maintenance inspections and servicing
  • Don’t ignore operators if they come to you with safety concerns

3. Do Invest in Your Workers

Worksites can get hectic and loud at the height of a project. Proper communication, training, and worker support can help ensure smooth sailing and minimize the risk of errors and injuries. A little upfront investment in your personnel can pay off in the long term with higher productivity and reduced safety concerns.

  • Do provide training to all workers who will be working with and around the crane, including OSHA hand signals.
  • Do provide all workers with appropriate protective equipment.
  • Don’t allow unqualified workers to operate cranes.
  • Don’t overlook the impact of physical burnout on the job site.

At the top level, implement daily check-ins with key personnel, so everyone knows the site’s current state. Have your site supervisor or lift director coordinate communication between the crane operator and other site personnel. Ensure you have a qualified crew of signal persons and operators who are comfortable operating in the environment.

There is a very real sense of constantly approaching deadlines that need to be hit, as delays can be costly and set back projects by exponential amounts. One of the most manageable safety weaknesses to combat is paying attention to worker burnout

Overwork in any job can lead to lowered productivity and increased mistakes. And on construction sites, both can be extreme safety hazards. Promote and provide a space for workers to take a few moments to rest their minds and body, especially when extreme heat or cold sets in on a job site.

Crane Rental Experts in the Carolinas

No matter the type of crane you operate or where you use it, the best tools for running a crane safely are experience, communication, and proper training of the personnel on-site.

With over 40 years of moving and using cranes, Parker’s Crane Service has the expertise you need for safe, reliable crane operations, no matter the job site or weather

We pride ourselves on safety and our Zero Accident Philosophy and conduct many detailed safety measures when performing a job to ensure that no project carries unnecessary risk. We perform the following for every single job we take:

  • Pre-lift Job Assessments
  • Daily Risk Assessments
  • On-site Hazard Analysis
  • Routine Management Audits

With a fleet of well-maintained hydraulic truck cranes, we offer not only the best equipment, but can also help with site installation, maintenance, and operation. Our crew is OSHA and MSHA-compliant to ensure your site and crew safety.

Parker's Crane provides quality crane rental, rigging, and heavy hauling services throughout the Carolinas and the East Coast. Contact us if you would like to discuss your needs and whether or not our services and equipment will work for your construction project. We provide free on-site quotes and evaluations.