Answers to Your Top 7 Crane and Hoist Questions


by  on January 21, 2016


During the hundreds of classes Columbus McKinnon’s training team has conducted over the years, there are a variety of questions that arise regarding the use, maintenance and inspection of overhead cranes and hoists. So, I wanted to take this opportunity to outline seven of the most common concerns, myths and misconceptions we’ve received from crane and hoist operators and technicians during our classes.

1. Question: Do monorails need to be labeled with their rated load?

Answer: According to ASME B30.11, rated load markings are not required on monorails but are recommended. Before marking the monorail, a qualified person must determine the rated load on the monorail beam. Once the monorail is marked, the rating should be legible from the ground floor. ASME’s recommendation also applies to marking the rated loads of hoists on the monorail. For more information on hoist marking guidelines, see ASME B30.16.

2. Question: Can rated loads for hoists and trolleys be different from the crane’s rated load?

Answer: The short answer to your question is “yes.” However, ASME B30.16 stipulates that when a system is comprised of components with different rated capacities, the rated load of the “system” shall be based on the lowest rated individual component.
System is defined as the combination of Monorail, Hoist and Trolley in the case of a Monorail and Crane; Hoist and Trolley in the case of an Underhung Crane.

ASME B30.16-1.3.2 states that the supporting structure, including trolleys, monorail, or crane, shall be designed to withstand the loads and forces imposed by the hoist for the rated load.

3. Question: Are yearly load tests required on a hoist and crane?

Answer: There is no specific time period during which load tests must be performed once the initial installation is inspected and load tested. Some states require operators to load test hoists and cranes every four years, but, in most cases, if the hoist is not altered, repaired or modified, it can remain in service indefinitely without a load test being required.

4. Question: Are monthly records of inspection required for hoists, wire rope, chain and hooks?

Answer: This depends on the type of crane. OSHA regulation 1910.179 applies to top-running overhead and gantry cranes with top-running trolley hoists. For these types of cranes, monthly inspections of the hoist’s chain, wire rope and hooks are required with a recorded certification. This certification record must include the signature of the person who performed the inspection and the identifier of the chain, wire and hook that was inspected. If a hoist and trolley are underhung, frequent inspections are required, but written documentation is not.

5. Question: Do you have to be certified to inspect and repair hoists and cranes?

Answer: According to ASME standards, you must be a “qualified person” to inspect and repair cranes and hoists. A “qualified person” is a person who, by possession of a recognized degree or certificate of professional standing, or who, by extensive knowledge, training and experience, has successfully demonstrated the ability to solve or resolve problems relating to the subject matter and work. These individuals do not have to be professional engineers.

6. Question: Do you need to disassemble hoists for yearly inspections?

Answer: Hoist disassembly is not always required for yearly inspections. What is found during the inspection typically determines how far you need to break down the hoist. Be sure to reference the manufacturer’s OEM manual when disassembling any hoist.

7. Question: Do chain slings require latches on hooks?

Answer: According to OSHA 1910.184 and ASME B30.9, slings do not require latches on the hooks, unlike hoist and crane hooks where latches are required unless they constitute a hazard.

To learn more, check out our Safety Webinar covering these same questions. I hope you find this information useful when using, repairing or inspecting overhead hoists and cranes.

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Suraj Singh November 22, 2016 at 11:08 am

what is anti release and anti tilt device in manual hoist?

Peter Cooke Peter Cooke August 8, 2016 at 8:43 am

Hello James,
That is correct. Periodic inspections with written reports should happen:

Normal Service: a min of once per year
Heavy Service: twice per year
Severe Service: monthly to quarterly

Frequent Inspections (non-written report) should happen monthly.


James Bergman August 4, 2016 at 6:33 pm

I’m kind of surprised that hoists only need to be inspected once a year. It makes more sense to me to do it on a monthly basis. However, I guess inspection times depend on how often the crane is used.

judy wilson July 5, 2016 at 6:04 pm

Thanks for answering these questions. Your answer about inspections for hoists was really insightful. I would have thought that any type of hoist system would need to be inspected after each use. It’s interesting that you said it depends on the type of crane. I should keep that in mind to determine whether the hoists on a crane require monthly inspections.

Christie Lagowski Christie Lagowski May 16, 2016 at 3:48 pm

Hi Jorge,
We so appreciate your feedback. As an additional resource, you can go here: to find more blog articles about cranes.
You could view one of our safety webinars here, some of which also cover cranes:
Our trainers may have other resources to share to build on your crane knowledge.

Jorge McMillan April 20, 2016 at 4:15 pm

Wow, I had no idea that so many different things went into making sure a crane works correctly. I would be curious to know more about the overall set up of cranes and the parts that go into making it work. This is a good starting point and I can’t wait to learn more about it.

Peter Cooke Peter Cooke April 12, 2016 at 10:40 am

Hi Paul,
Thanks for your question. Our answer is NO. The rated capacity of a hoist cannot exceed the rated capacity of the supporting structure.
ASME B30.16-1.3.2 states that the supporting structure, including trolleys, monorail, or crane, shall be designed to withstand the loads and forces imposed by the hoist for the rated load.

Paul April 11, 2016 at 6:49 pm

To add to question 2, can the rated capacity of a hoist exceed the rated capacity of the supporting structure?

Gisela Clark Gisela Clark January 22, 2016 at 10:07 am

Hi Randy,
Thanks very much for your kind words. We are glad that you find our content to be useful!

Randy January 22, 2016 at 9:20 am

Excellent content. Thanks for the work and effort put in to you Q & A

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