Some Things You Need to Know about Overhead Crane Safety

Overhead Crane Area

For crane operators, safety lessons are an absolute must. This is not a piece of machinery that you can just ‘get the hang of’. It is not something that anyone can just use without proper instructions and lessons on safety.

So before you start using an overhead crane, here are a few things that you need to keep in mind for safety reasons:


What overhead crane operators always need to keep in mind is that they are responsible for the safety of other people. This is why they must be trained and authorized before they start using the crane. Part of their training includes knowing what the crane’s characteristics are. What is the overhead crane capable of doing and what are its limitations? So you will need to know how much weight you can lift and anything over that is dangerous. You should also familiarize yourself with the area in which you will be operating the overhead crane. Another thing you need to familiarize yourself with is the proper terminology. There are no complicated terms to memorize here. But you should know what all the parts are called and what their function is so when it comes to maintenance and repairs; you know what you are doing.

Always inspect before you operate

When you buy the overhead crane first you will obviously be inspecting it thoroughly. But even after that, you need to inspect the overhead every time you are going to operate it. Your crane should always be in a secluded area where no one may accidentally get hurt. Before you start operating, carefully check the various parts of the crane. For example, check the condition of the hoist, the hook and lubrication, and the alignment of the bridge. Make sure all of it is working smoothly. If at any point you find a problem, do not use the crane. Notify your superior so they look at it carefully as well. If the problem is a small one that someone can fix on the spot, you can go ahead. But if you don’t think you or your colleagues can handle it; call a professional right away and get the problem fixed.

Inspect the rigging

Since the rigging is lifting the load, you need to check it for any signs of wear and tear. Before you lift a load, make sure the load does not exceed the capacity of the rigging. Check all other connections handle as well. If there are any signs of rotting or holes or any other defect, have your superior call a professional.

Lifting the load

Any experienced overhead crane operator is comfortable in his job but also knows that he can never be careless about it. This is why, despite years of practicing; crane lifting operators need to be careful and alert every time they lift a load. They make sure the load is within the capacity of the overhead crane and all sling devices are in use. Before they start lifting the load, they notify all the people in the area. It is important for the operator to have a clear view when they are operating overhead crane so they can avoid accidents.

While you are operating the crane remember to avoid any sudden stops and starts. Because that will put unexpected pressure on the sling and will also cause the load to jerk or swing and you definitely don’t want that. Even if the load is secure on the sling you never know what the sudden jerk might do. This can cause injuries, accidents or damage to the bridge crane itself. You should also keep both hands on the control at all times so you don’t make any mistakes.


There are several hazards that can arise when you are operating an overhead crane. We will discuss a few of these hazards and what their solutions are.

  • Overloading

Overloading can cause very serious structural and mechanical failures in overhead cranes. A crane’s operational capacity is there for a reason and it is very important for you to follow that capacity limit. If a crane is overloaded it can end up with some serious and irreversible structural damages. You need to be careful that you do not suddenly drop the load, swing is or lift a load beyond its capability as all of this causes overloading. This is why crane operators need formal training and certification so they are aware of all these issues and safety hazards. They are taught how to not only use their crane but to use in a safe manner.

  • Electrical hazards

With overhead crane overloading is not the only thing you need to be careful of. If the crane comes into contact with a power source during operation, it can cause a serious accident. This is known as power line contact. It happens when the metal parts of the overhead crane such as the boom or the hoist line comes into contact with a power source. The person touching the crane, usually the operator, is the one who gets electrocuted. If the power surge is great, it can cause grave injuries or even death. But the danger is also to anyone standing close to the crane. To avoid such hazards, it is important for the crane operator to keep the crane away from all unsafe areas. This means the overhead crane needs to be at least 10 feet away from a power line at all times.

  • Falling loads

This is another hazard that can cause serious injuries and property damages. It is responsibility of the operator to steer clear of all people and objects. But it is also the responsibility of the people to stay away from the crane while it is being operated and to keep valuable objects away from it as well.

Overhead crane safety measures can be fully implemented if not the operator but other staff members are also educated about them properly. This way you can avoid property damages and injuries.

31 thoughts on “Some Things You Need to Know about Overhead Crane Safety”

  1. Jeff, always nice to read an article that sheds some light on overhead crane safety. Folks don’t understand how seriously injured someone may become by being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

  2. Highly descriptive post around the overhead crane safety; I enjoyed that a lot. Will there be a part 2?

  3. Aw, this was a really nice post. Overhead crane safety is a HUGE issue at work. And inspecting the overhead crane often is a top priority. Can never be too careful in regards to these. Thanks for some insightful pointers.

  4. Didn’t realize there is so much to an overhead crane. Looking forward to finding more interesting content on your site.

  5. I like how this article mentions checking the alignment of the bridge. Also, training is key for the person who will be operating the crane. These overhead cranes can be dangerous and very expensive.

  6. I like the way this article stresses inspecting the crane before using it. Where I work, every shift must inspect the crane.

  7. I am really impressed with your writing abilities and the structure of your blog. A great little article about overhead crane safety.

  8. You made a good point that power surges are quite dangerous when operating a crane. My uncles is getting a new home built next year and it’s going to be three floors tall. I think it would be best to hire a construction crane operator for the project in order to ensure a safely done job.

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