Debunking 3 Dangerous Myths About Overhead Crane Safety

There's no overstating the importance of safety when operating an overhead crane. All operators should receive the proper training and understand the various controls and mechanisms involved with the operation of an overhead crane, including overloads and limit switches. Unfortunately, even among those who operate cranes on a regular basis, there are some dangerous misconceptions floating around that need to be addressed.

Myth 1: It's Okay to Overload a Crane Slightly

Perhaps the most dangerous misconception flying around out there is that it's okay to overload a crane because most cranes have a safety-factor incorporated into the design. While this may be true, you should never assume that there's a safe buffer area above the load specified by the manufacturer.

Even if there is an added safety factor in the design, you don't know whether or not the crane has all-original manufacturer's parts or if some have been replaced with aftermarket parts that don't have the same overload capacity. Play it safe by sticking to the posted load limits and consider investing in a load-checking device to accurately weigh loads before lifting them.

Myth 2: Working Underneath a Load is Fine 

Another very dangerous assumption some crane operators (and those who work around overhead cranes) make is that they can safely work underneath a raised load because all cranes come equipped with a secondary brake. And while it's true that all cranes, like those from American Equipment Inc, are required to have a secondary brake, the specific type of secondary brake used can vary greatly.

If you're working under a crane that's equipped with a regenerative brake, for example, it isn't guaranteed to hold in the event of a primary brake failure. Never take your chances working under an overhead crane, especially if you're not sure what type of secondary brake it has.

Myth 3: The Crane Was Inspected Yesterday, So It's Fine Today

Finally, crane operators are required by OSHA to inspect their cranes every day before use. There's never any exception to this, although some crane operators believe there should be. Just because a crane worked fine yesterday, this doesn't mean that nothing could possibly have gone bad with the crane overnight. Always be sure to look for obvious signs of mechanical problems, listen for unusual noises, and document your daily inspection before you even think about operating it. From there, you can enjoy the peace of mind in knowing your crane is safe for use.