Should a Warning Device be Continuously on When the Bridge Crane is Traveling?

Should a Warning Device be Continuously on When the Bridge Crane is Traveling?

warning deviceGene, a CMCO distributor salesperson, writes:

“I am not seeing eye to eye with my customer on a bridge crane alarm issue. His claim is that the warning device must be an alarm (sound) and that it should be continuously on when the bridge is traveling.  The standard he is referencing is ANSI B30.2 (1967) with the claim that it is incorporated by reference into law.

I have found numerous references myself to other standards regarding the requirement for a warning device. Where is the standard that permits a strobe? Where do you find the statement that makes ASME as the controlling entity? Thanks for your help!”

Tom Reardon, CMCO technical instructor, replies:

For the short answer, please skip to the bottom of the page.
For the long, detailed answer, please read on:

To start out let’s determine if the crane in question is top running or underhung.   If any load-bearing member of a crane or monorail travels on an internal or external lower flange or equivalent it does not fall within the purview of OSHA 1910.179.  The Federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration has issued several interpretations stating as much.  One such interpretation was issued to Mr. Thomas Hagerty, on March 4, 1991 in response to his question: Does this standard apply to under-hung cranes, hoists, and monorails?  OSHA’s reply was, “This standard does not apply to under-hung cranes, overhead hoists, or monorails.  Under-hung cranes and monorails are covered in ANSI B30.11-1980, a National Consensus Standard.”

ASME B30.11 states the requirement for a warning device but does not specify what type or how it should be used.
ASME B30.11 SECTION 11-1.11 WARNING DEVICES: “On cab- and remote-operated cranes or carriers, an audible or visual warning means shall be provided.”
ASME B30.11 is a consensus standard. It does not have the power of law.  It may be used by OSHA to support a General Duty Clause violation, (5)(a)(1) to “demonstrate that a hazard and abatement options are recognized by industry.”

OSHA 1910.179 applies only if both the crane bridge and trolley are top running.
Paragraph 1910.179(b)(2) states, “All new overhead and gantry cranes constructed and installed on or after August 31, 1971 shall meet the design specifications of ANSI B30.2 (1967).”  OSHA became law on August 31, 1971, for overhead and gantry cranes.  Your distributor is correct in that OSHA 1910.179 “incorporates by reference”  in CFR 29 1910.6,  the B30.2 – 1967 standard.

OSHA 1910.179 does address the requirement for a warning device.  This requirement is vague at best.  “1910.179(i) Warning device; except for floor-operated cranes a gong or other effective warning signal shall be provided for each crane equipped with a power traveling mechanism.”  (Note: Floor Operated Cranes are defined as Pendant Operated)

While I do not have access to the 1967 version of ASME / ANSI B30.2 1967, it is highly unlikely the standards have become less restrictive or less protective since 1967.  The current ASME B30.2 – 2005 states the following requirements:


2-1.15.1 Cab- and Remote-Operated Cranes
(a) A warning device shall be provided.
(b) Refer to para. 2-3.1.7(e) for operation of the device.

2-1.15.2 Floor-Operated Cranes
(a) A warning device should be provided for installations where the ability of the operator to warn persons in the  path of the load is impaired.

2-1.15.3 Types of Devices
One or more of the following devices shall be provided when required:
(a) manually operated gong
(b) power-operated bell, siren, or horn
(c)  rotating beacon
(d) strobe

2-3.1.7 Conduct of Operators
(e) The operator shall activate the warning device on cab- and remote-operated cranes and, when provided, on floor-operated cranes
(1) before starting the bridge or trolley motion of the crane,
(2) intermittently during travel of the crane when approaching persons in the path of the load.

So… after a very long summary of the supporting standards and documentation, the answers to your questions are:

Question 1 – The allowance for the strobe is covered in ASME B30.2-1.15.3(d) above.

Question 2 – ASME is not law. ASME has no enforcement authority.  BUT  if the crane is not a top running bridge and top running trolley, only ASME B30.11 or 17  is applicable.

In closing:  (A) The alarm does not need to run continuously and has been proven to be less effective if it does.  (B) It also does not have to be a siren or audible device.

Tom Reardon

Tom Reardon is a Technical Instructor specializing in Hoists & Overhead Cranes for Columbus McKinnon Corporation.

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18 Replies to “Should a Warning Device be Continuously on When the Bridge Crane is Traveling?”

  1. Hello Aziz,

    A warning system is ONLY required on remote cranes, cab cranes and pulpit cranes. If the crane has a pendant, it isn’t required.

    If a continuous alarm seems to distract employees nearby, then a light can be installed instead.

    Tom & Perry

  2. If Warning system is required when crane (indoor overhead gantry or bridge crane) is travelling then why its manufacturers do not sell these equipment with fitted warning device? as i would see this warning device is to be fitted additional as optional and not mandatory if im not wrong?……… secondly if i have other effective control measures in place such as banksman (sometime multiple banksman) then i would not required to install additional because continues alarm may also become hazard for other people around and effect on their ability to focus on their work.

  3. Very useful information! It is necessary to equip overhead crane with warning device and other safety devices for prevention.

  4. Hello Lillian,

    OSHA 1910.179 applies only to cranes with specific design characteristics. These characteristics are described in OSHA 1910.179 (b)(1): Application. This section applies to overhead and gantry cranes, including semi-gantry, cantilever gantry, wall cranes, storage bridge cranes, and others having the same fundamental characteristics. These cranes are grouped because they all have trolleys and similar travel characteristics.

    OSHA does provide some guidance which would pertain to most all General Industry applications. This is the Code Of Federal Regulations 29, United States Code 654, Sections 5(a)(1), 5(a)(2) and Section (b). It is referred to as the “General Duty Clause.” It is broad in scope and often relies on existing industry standards and practices as a basis for enforcement. The General Duty Clause, as written is:

    CFR 29, USC 654, Section 5(a)(1), (a)(2) and (b)
    (a) Each employer:

    (1) shall furnish to each of his employees, employment and a place of employment which are free from recognized hazards that are causing or are likely to cause death or serious physical harm to his employees
    (2) shall comply with occupational safety and health standards promulgated under this Act

    (b) Each employee shall comply with occupational safety and health standards and all rules, regulations, and orders issued pursuant to this Act, which are applicable to his own actions and conduct.


  5. I thought it was interesting that some of the OSHA rules only applied based on various circumstances. Why don’t the rules just always apply? I have cousins in the crane business and they have made comments about how they have to be very careful to not hit someone or get hit themselves. Is there a specific rule that would engulf all safety regulations?

  6. Hello Cody,
    No, the warning device does not have to be a certain db. If it is a noise producing warning device, it has to be loud enough to be “effective.”

  7. Hello Dan,

    Thank you for your inquiry. OSHA 1910.179 par (b) (i) has not changed in many years. OSHA 1910.179 does not apply to Underhung Cranes, Monorails or Overhead Hoists Underhung. Please follow the two links provided for OSHA’s interpretations on the matter.

    We hope this helps!

  8. Tom;

    I’ve been reviewing 1910.179 recently and in the past have agreed that it only applied to top running cranes with top running hoists however the latest version found on the internet states:

    Application. This section applies to overhead and gantry cranes, including semigantry, cantilever gantry, wall cranes, storage bridge cranes, and others having the same fundamental characteristics. These cranes are grouped because they all have trolleys and similar travel characteristics.

    After reading the above I’m not so sure? Can you elaborate?

    Dan Swenson
    Total Tool Supply Inc.

  9. Hello Syed!
    It seems that you are looking for a siren for your crane. This isn’t something that we sell, but you could contact one of our distributors and they should be able to help you further. If you go to our website and click on the “find a distributor” button on the right hand side, you will be able to find someone in your region to assist.
    Thank you!

  10. Can you suggest us A auoidable sound device which is required when bridge /cross travel operating in furnace bay for charging and teeming crane.

  11. Hello Michael,

    Thank you for your very interesting question. In answering it we must consider several sources of information:

    (1) OSHA 1910.179 (b)(2) requires that “All new overhead and gantry cranes constructed and installed after August 31, 1971, shall meet the design specifications of ANSI B30.2-1967 which is incorporated by reference as specified in Sec. 1910.6.”

    The 1967 version of ASME B30.2, 1967 (also referred to as USA Standard B30.2.0 – 1967) states the following:

    Para. 2-1.7.6 Safety Lugs for Truck Frames: Means should be provided to limit the drop of trolley and bridge truck frames to one inch in case of wheel or axle breakage.

    Based on the wording “should be provided,” “Safety Lugs” are recommended rather than mandatory.


    (2) Current ASME B30.2 standards indicate that drop limiting provisions are mandatory on Bridge and Trolley Trucks.

    ASME B30.2 (current) SECTION 2-1.11: TRUCK FRAME DROP

    Means shall be provided to limit the drop of bridge and trolley truck frames to 1 in. (25 mm) in case of wheel, axle, or bearing breakage.


    (3) CMAA (Crane Manufacturers Association of America Specification 70) states that Drop lugs are mandatory on bridge end trucks and recommended on trolley trucks.


    Spec 70, 3.6.3 “The bridge end trucks should be constructed of structural steel or other suitable material. Provision shall be made to prevent the end truck from dropping more than one inch in case of axle failure.”


    Spec 70, 3.9.2 “Provision should be made to prevent a drop of more than one inch in case of axle failure.”

    (4) An opinion from OSHA dated March 4, 1991, was provided to Mr. Thomas Hagerty in response to the questions:

    Does existing equipment constructed and installed prior to August 31, 1971 apply to the specification? In addition, do cranes constructed prior to this date and later modernized need to comply?

    The response from OSHA was: “Existing equipment constructed and installed prior to August 31, 1971 is not required to meet this specification. Cranes constructed prior to this date and later modernized are also exempted from this specification………”

    In the end, ASME and CMAA are voluntary users’ standards / specifications. If OSHA determines that an unsafe condition exists they may use accepted industry standards to support a General Duty Clause citation.


  12. I have a few older and fairly new top running overhead bridge cranes that never had safety lugs on trolley and bridge. Is it required for them to have them? Or are they grandfathered in, so to speak? That is the way they were manufactured. My inspection sheet also has safety lug on hoist. I am not sure what that is. I have a spot already for wire rope termination.
    Thank you again for your help.

  13. Hello Michael,

    OSHA only requires wind indicators on “Outdoor Storage Bridges.” Wind indicators are not required on overhead traveling cranes but are required on “Gantry” type cranes. OSHA 1910.179 Section (a)(13) defines a Storage Bridge Crane as “a Gantry type crane of long span usually used for bulk storage of materials; the bridge girders or trusses are rigidly or non-rigidly supported on one or more legs. It may have one or more fixed or hinged cantilever ends.”

    If the outdoor crane is a typical top running crane with a top running trolley it does not require a wind indicator, regardless of the type of control. If it is of the gantry or semi-gantry type, it does require a wind indicator. If the crane is of a configuration requiring a wind indicator, inspection would certainly be in order as the anemometer is a safety device.

    Thank you for your inquiry.

  14. Outside top running bridge crane. has cab but not used. cab locked out. operates from ground with remote. Question. crane has wind indicator. do I need this if crane is floor operated? I do inspections. Do I need to test it to see if it works ? ty in advance for your help.

  15. Hello Mr. Kalidass,
    We are not able to provide you a quotation for the warning light with alarm, since this is not a product that we sell. We suggest you contact the company They have a wide range of these types of products and should have some local representation to assist you further.
    Thank you and kind regards,
    Gisela Clark

  16. dear sir,
    I need Warning light with alarm – For Half portal gantry crane please send quotation
    Thank you.
    Best Regrad
    qd-cpc( premco precast qatar)

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