Cranes are powerful machines that play a vital role in the construction and manufacturing industries. Without these innovative inventions, the creation of skyscrapers and other towering structures would be impossible. Given their importance, cranes should be inspected regularly to ensure they are in working condition and don’t pose a hazard to the workers operating them.

That said, only qualified individuals should inspect cranes, as they will know exactly what to look for. In the below, we will explore who should inspect a crane in detail.

For more information and to learn whether you have grounds for a construction accident lawsuit, please contact Schwartzapfel Lawyers today at 1-516-342-2200 or visit us online for a free consultation.

Crane Accidents And Fatalities

Crane incidents and fatalities are not rare, unfortunately. In industries like construction, they represent major dangers to construction workers and civilians on the ground.

Some of the most common possible injuries from crane incidents include:

Compared to other accidents, like bicycle accidents, crane injuries are also more likely to be fatal.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 297 crane-related deaths from 2011 to 2017. This averaged out to 42 crane-related deaths per year over the monitored period. Most of the victims were male workers.

New York City, in particular, has been known as a crane accident hotspot over the years. Some examples include:

  • 2007 saw a steel bucket lifted by a crane and dropped onto a victim.
  • 2008 saw a crane collapse over a high-rise construction site located in Midtown East.
  • 2012 saw an upper section of a crane break off during work, landing on the seventh train extension at 34th St.

The vast majority of crane incidents are caused due to human error, not necessarily mechanical malfunctions. That said, crane inspections are vital to rule out mechanical problems and ensure operators know how best to use their crane equipment to minimize the chances of incidents or injuries.

The Importance Of Crane Inspections

Simply put, crane inspections are highly important to minimize the likelihood of incidents, injuries, and deaths. Without regular crane inspections, crane operators:

  • May not know if they need to compensate for mechanical issues or weaknesses.
  • May enter a crane machine that is a danger to them and others.
  • Could operate a crane unsafely in a worksite, causing injuries to people or damages to property.

In a legal sense, crane inspections are important so that a worksite abides by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations. OSHA oversees regulations and rules for many different types of machines and devices on worksites and construction sites, including cranes.

Without regular inspections, cranes may be operated dangerously, construction workers may not know that a crane poses a danger to themselves or others, and construction sites can be shut down temporarily or permanently. It’s in everyone’s best interests to abide by OSHA regulations regarding crane inspections.

To learn more now, call Schwartzapfel Lawyers at 1-516-342-2200 or visit us online today!

What Is OSHA’s Crane Inspection Regulation?

Fortunately, those inspection regulations are not overly restrictive.

According to 29 CFR 1926.550(a)(6), OSHA requires an annual inspection for any crane that is operated in the United States. More specifically, it requires that a:

  • Thorough, annual inspection of the hoisting machinery shall be made by a competent person or by a government or private agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Labor. The employer shall maintain a record of the dates and the results of inspections for each hoisting machine and piece of equipment.

Let’s break this down. The above regulation states that some competent individual or agency must inspect any hoisting machinery, like a crane. Additionally, employers utilizing cranes or hoisting machinery must maintain a detailed record of inspection dates and results. These records serve as valuable references in case they are required at a later time.

A broader dictate, 1910.179, also applies to crane inspections and requirements. In a nutshell, this prescribes that:

  • Every crane used by an employer should have a routine inspection schedule, which can improve workplace safety.
  • Every crane meant to be used needs to be inspected before it is turned on.
  • Once a crane is placed into service, two different types of inspections are to be carried out regularly.
  • Only qualified OSHA inspectors are authorized to perform crane inspections.

For more on this and related subjects, call Schwartzapfel Lawyers now at 1-516-342-2200 or visit us online. It will be our honor and privilege to fight for you every step of the way!

Initial, Functional, Frequent, and Periodic Inspections

There are four (4) types of inspections that a crane on your worksite may need to undergo.

  • Initial inspections must be made prior to the initial use of all new and altered cranes. If it’s an overhead crane, this must include a rated load test to make sure the crane can carry the load it is advertised to hold.
  • Functional test inspections are necessary before every shift. According to OSHA, operators must visually test their cranes to ensure they operate properly and are ready for work. This type of test doesn’t necessarily need a certified OSHA inspector to carry out the test.
  • Frequent inspections include all aspects of the functional test inspection described above. Frequent inspections are necessary, according to OSHA, if you use a crane in heavy service. In such cases, you should inspect your crane weekly to monthly. If your crane is in severe service, it should be inspected daily to weekly.
  • Periodic inspections are also based on the usage level of your crane. Cranes that are used in normal or heavy service should be inspected yearly. Periodic inspections are more comprehensive and in-depth, and they may include checking for things like loose bolts or rivets, excessive wear and tear on brake system parts, deformed and/or corroded members, etc.

To recap, any new crane must be inspected before it is used for the first time. After that, the crane needs to be functionally tested each time it’s used, and OSHA inspectors may inspect a crane more or less frequently, depending on how often it is used for projects.

What Does The Regulation Not Specify?

It’s important to know that OSHA regulations concerning crane inspections do not specify where the competent individual or inspector must perform the inspection. If the individual conducting the inspection fulfills the necessary competency requirements, it is permissible for the inspection to be conducted outside the U.S.

For business purposes, for instance, a worksite or contracting company can procure and utilize a crane that has been inspected in Canada. The only requirement is that the crane must have undergone lawful inspection within the designated time frames.

To learn more about OSHA requirements for your worksite and whether you may be in violation of them, please call Schwartzapfel Lawyers at 1-516-342-2200 or visit us online to schedule your free consultation today!

Who Can Inspect A Crane?

As OSHA regulations state, only authorized OSHA inspectors can legally and lawfully inspect a crane or other hoisting device. In most cases, getting the right person to inspect a crane at your worksite is as simple as contacting OSHA and requesting an inspector to visit.

Alternatively, you can ensure the presence of a certified inspector at your worksite or in communication with your company. This will enable them to conduct crane inspections as frequently as required.

An OSHA-certified inspector is someone who knows what to look for and how to perform comprehensive inspections of cranes and other hoisting devices. They will also likely look at the inspection books on your worksite to ensure that previous inspections were completed dutifully and lawfully.

More specifically, a qualified inspector:

  • Should have at least 2,000 hours of field experience related to the maintenance, repair, servicing, and testing of cranes and other hoisting equipment.
  • You have formal training in federal, state, and local codes and safety standards.
  • Understanding of safety and design codes related to cranes.
  • Knowledge of safe operating practices for cranes and hoists.
  • Knowledge to write a report and keep to appropriate documentation procedures.
  • Knowledge of crane and hoisting machinery terminology to communicate effectively with worksite personnel.

Contact Schwartzapfel Lawyers Today

In sum, an OSHA-certified inspector should inspect a crane on your worksite. Depending on the type of crane, its operational history, and overall condition, you may need to order crane inspections more frequently than you think.

If you or a loved one is a construction worker or has been injured because of a crane malfunction or some other issue, you could have grounds for a lawsuit. This is particularly true if your employer neglected to schedule a crane inspection when it was required.

For exceptional legal advice, contact Schwartzapfel Lawyers today at 1-516-342-2200 or visit us online. Our legal representatives will start you off with a free consultation and help you explore your full range of legal options.

But you shouldn’t wait, as your window to file a claim and recover the money and benefits you deserve may soon close forever. To keep that from happening, act now and have Schwartzapfel Lawyers fight – and win – for you!

DISCLAIMER: Nothing on this page should be considered legal advice. You should seek the appropriate counsel your situation requires. For more information, call 1-516-342-2200 now!


Schwartzapfel Lawyers, P.C. | Fighting For You™™

Fatal Occupational Injuries Involving Cranes | U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

A History of New York City Crane Accidents Over the Last 10 Years | TriBeCa

Annual crane inspections must be conducted by a competent person; no requirement for the inspection to take place within the United States. | Occupational Safety and Health Administration

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