Shannahan Crane & Hoist

The Ultimate Guide to Overhead Bridge Crane Safety

An overhead bridge crane is an essential piece of equipment that helps you move heavy objects in a linear direction. Since they’re installed above you, you don’t have to worry as much about crashing a forklift or clearing space on the ground. However, failure to use an overhead crane as trained can result in some serious injury to your employees. 

Workstation crane safety should not be taken for granted. Even though your worker won’t have to lift the heavy objects themselves, they need to strap in the loads properly. 

Here’s everything you need to know about bridge cane safety and how to stay safe. 

Types of Overhead Cranes

All of your workers should know the difference between the types of workstation cranes available to them. A workstation crane is any kind of overhead crane equipped with safety features to avoid accidents. It mounts onto a wall or ceiling and moves loads between different facility areas. 

The three most used types of overhead cranes include the gantry crane, jib crane, and bridge crane. 

A gantry crane has a large, rectangular frame with arms attached. It’s free-standing and can be used indoors or outdoors. As such, they require more space to operate. 

Jib cranes are attached to the floor or wall and lift heavy loads over long distances. They come in a variety of sizes and are useful in many different industrial settings. 

Bridge cranes reach places that other types of cranes cannot due to their position above everything else. They either come mounted along with the ceiling of a warehouse or on wheels. The operator controls the crane with levers or some kind of remote control. 

Overhead Crane Industries

The overhead crane industry is set to continue its growth throughout 2028 for good reason. These products are used in a variety of industrial settings, all of which need an effective way to transport heavy materials. 

In the auto industry, overhead bridge cranes help to transport heavier materials and improve production. Overhead cranes designed for the biomass industry handle waste, refuse, garbage, and slag. Even the food and drink industries make use of them to move rail-mounted containers for production or storage. 

All of these different settings have their standards for how to operate overhead bridge cranes. Failure to follow these regulations can endanger your employees and damage your equipment. 

Safety Requirements for Overhead Cranes

OSHA has multiple guidelines related to the handling of overhead and gantry cranes. Among them includes the requirement your company provides specific training to employees expected to handle overhead cranes. Additionally, all active cranes must be inspected annually. 

The rated load capacity of your crane should be marked and legible from the ground. Cranes with multiple hoisting units should have individual load capacities marked. 

Hoist hooks should not be damaged in any way. Each one should have a safety latch that automatically closes. It would help if you also forged or die to stamp the working load capacity onto a non-wearing area of each hook. 

Always perform a basic inspection at the beginning of every shift that uses the crane. Survey the ground for any leaks or trip hazards. Workers are not allowed to perform basic maintenance or repairs unless they have been trained to do so. 

Maintenance for Overhead Cranes

Several items on the overhead crane should be inspected daily. OSHA requires a visual inspection before use for maximum safety.

Check that the crane or hoist is not designated as out-of-order. Warning and safety labels should be present and legible for all workers. 

There should be no oil leakage on the crane or any kind of liquid on the floor. You should also inspect for smooth operation such as hoisting and lowering as well as trolley and bridge travel. The braking system should function as intended. 

Remember to inspect all parts of the machinery for damage visually. Look at the chain hoists, hooks, latches, and any nylon or synthetic web slings for any kind of wear and tear. 

OSHA also requires more thorough inspections at varying intervals depending on how often you use your overhead cranes. It could be monthly or annually, but insurance providers may require more frequent inspections. 

Overhead Bridge Crane Safety Tips

In between inspections, your workers must practice good safety habits when handling your heavy machinery. That includes testing your machinery before using it, avoiding collisions, and loading it properly. 

Test Its Limit

You should always stay aware of the crane’s rated load capacity. If your loan is close to it, you’ll need to test the hoist brakes. 

Loads should always be balanced and secured. Locate the hoist directly above the load before lifting, and lift it a few inches to ensure it’s balanced. 

Never allow personnel to ride on any load, and never carry loads over people. Avoid walking under a loaded crane. Remove any loose materials or parts from the load. 

If you somehow go over the load capacity, the entire rig could fail and break down. 

Collision Avoidance

Even if you load everything up according to your company standards, you still need to avoid crashing into other objects or people. 

Power-down overhead cranes you’re not currently using, so they don’t get in the way. 

Establish sway control when you’re using wire ropes. Anti-way systems control the speculation angles of the load and stabilize its movement. 

Some systems use laser tools to define distances and allow for safe movement and placement. It can also detect and notify operators of collision hazards. 

Purchase the Top Rated Cranes in St. Louis

When you’re moving a lot of heavy materials across a warehouse all day long, the last thing you want is for your cranes to drop them. An accident could cause a huge delay for your company, and it could result in the hospitalization of your employees.

The best way to avoid problems with your overhead bridge crane is by buying quality equipment and getting routine maintenance. 

Shannahan Crane & Hoist is a leading designer, manufacturer, and service center for your overhead equipment needs. Contact us to learn more about our company and how we can help you. 

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