Dangers of a "Low Bid" Crane Inspection

When crane and hoist inspections are only considered as an OSHA mandatory checklist item, poor inspection organization selection criteria is frequently implemented.  In this situation, the lowest price offer for crane inspections is often purchased because of the view that all inspections are equal.  This purchasing error can lead to unforeseen consequences and potentially disastrous results.

The selling price of a crane inspection is based on three major factors.

  1. The hourly pay rate of the inspector plus typical overhead.
  2. The amount of time spent on site.
  3. The amount of support, supervision, and training provided to the inspector.

Proper inspections are based upon the knowledge and experience of the inspector.  Poor qualifications lead to poor inspections.  There are no formal licensing requirements or testing in the crane industry to determine the qualifications of a crane and hoist inspector.  Even though OSHA 1910.179 and ASME B30.10 both require that crane and hoist inspectors be “qualified”; this requirement is up to the interpretation of the employer.   A low paid, underqualified inspector can reduce the cost of the inspection by 30% or more.  This lack of qualifications can result in unsafe work practices, short cut in the procedure and missed safety & operational deficiencies.

Low inspection prices lead to heavy pressure on inspectors to beat the clock and cut the time required to properly inspect your equipment.  A typical bridge crane will require 1.5 to 2 hours to perform a satisfactory inspection.  Shoddy inspections are often pencil whipped and improperly performed from the ground.  There is no way that you can ensure the safety or proper continued operation of a crane unless enough time is allowed.   Competent and qualified inspectors are in high demand and will not shortcut their professionalism; they will flee organizations that require them to work unprofessionally.  So when time is cut by the inspection provider, you are going to have a double whammy of a shortcut inspection performed by an underqualified inspector. 

A good inspection provider will spend a significant amount of time supervising and providing ongoing training for the inspection team as well as reviewing the inspection findings and performing onsite safety audits of their workers.  Low priced inspections are subsidized by poor safety practices, inadequate training, and limited supervision.

At worst, the results of a cheap inspection can lead to an equipment failure that could easily cause a serious or fatal injury.  But the virtually guaranteed result of a cheap inspection is a poor operational assessment missing critical items needing planned repairs.  When these undiscovered issues result in a breakdown, the resulting costs will be an expensive overtime repair diagnosis, expedited repair parts with overnight freight costs, and return labor to complete the repairs.  But the biggest expense would be the crane being out of service for days or weeks.  This reduction in productivity can cost additional thousands or even tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars.  This easily makes the case for doing your due diligence when shopping for crane inspections.

Savvy, overhead crane and hoist inspection selection practices include the review of the inspection organization’s training offerings, supervision as well as a requirement to vet the inspector’s technical and safety credentials prior to them being permitted on site. 

Performing inspections on a time and material basis is the best way to ensure that enough time will be spent on your equipment. Outside of this, having the vendor quote the number of man-hours to be spent on-site physically accessing the equipment is revealing.  Divide the hours by the number of pieces of equipment and do a reality check.  Is there adequate time to stage equipment, erect safety barricades, perform operational tests, open control enclosures, measure hoist and travel brakes gaps and document results?

CRANE 1 Inspectors are trained and experienced to offer quality equipment assessments, that identify both safety and operational deficiencies.  We pride ourselves on finding problems before they cause you major issues.  Contact your nearest CRANE 1 office to have one of our experts advise you on a proper inspection program for your hoists, cranes, jibs, monorails and below the hook lifting devices.

CRANE 1 is qualified to inspect all bridge crane and hoist including P&H, R&M, Kone, Demag, DeShazo, Yale, Zenar, Gorbel and more.