Cranes are massive machines engaged almost daily to lift and move literally tons of items and objects. They cannot be left to simply sit and wait to be used, used, and then left to sit some more. They have to be inspected -- preferably prior to every use. That is due to the fact that cranes, should they suddenly falter and drop their loads, could kill or severely injure anyone who is within range of the falling items/loads. Crane inspections should be handled by someone who is licensed and knowledgeable, and there four points on every crane that should be inspected prior to use.
1. At the Hydraulic Joists
If a crane has hydraulic joists and pistons (and most of them do), all of these areas need to be inspected for hydraulic fluid leaks. The leaking of hydraulic fluid indicates that the hydraulic pistons and joists may be broken, or that they are too loose and may fail. Pressure inside the hydraulic cylinders of the pistons will result in fluid leaks, and a loss of pressure is a loss of lifting power. These areas are the first points an inspector should look when inspecting the crane.
2. At the Tracks
All cranes move on some sort of tracks. An all-terrain crane, or crawler crane, moves on crawler tracks like an army tank. Overhead bridge cranes slide back and forth on a track, too. Whatever type of crane you are using, an inspector should be checking the tracks for wear, tear, and detachment.
3. At the Hook and Lifting Cable
The cables used on cranes are steel bands twisted round and round into a steel rope. Yet, that does not mean that these steel "ropes" (or lifting cables) cannot fail and falter. They are most likely to fail at the point where they either connect to the lifting hook or accessory and/or at the internal winch where the cable is connected to the winch. These areas should be examined thoroughly to make sure there are no breaks or weak points.
4. At the Controls
Control panels for cranes contain a lot of wiring. Sometimes insect or rodent pests can get inside the control panels and chew on the wiring. Sometimes the elements outdoors can cause the wiring to rust and corrode. Control panels that momentarily crackle or spark are in danger of failing. Worse still, anyone controlling a crane with a control panel that crackles or sparks is in danger of being electrocuted.