Not all small cranes on the market today are actually legal or safe. Many foreign and domestic products claim to adhere to industry rules and follow safety agency guidelines and certifications, when in fact they skirt the laws out of ignorance and/or to keep costs low. Knowing the legal requirements of the small crane industry can save your company headaches, a jobsite accident, costs to replace equipment, lawsuits and even a death.
Rated at 150% (1.5) for materials only: Some local agencies will approve a crane rated at 125% but all of the major national and international safety agencies require a design and build to 150%. That means if the machinery is rated at 1,000 lbs. it must hold 1,500 lbs. for one minute under load without illegal boom flex to be legal. Our cranes are designed, rated and intended to lift materials only. Alternative laws and design rules apply for lifting humans or human extraction such as a rating of 200%.
Dual safety stops on boom sections: All national and global safety agencies require two stop points on each boom extension section, so that the boom pieces cannot slide out and cause injury. This requires a permanent stop within the boom sections as well as a secondary stop using a pin system.
Rear brake: Some mini cranes do not even have a required brake. A rear brake system is required by ALL safety agencies so the machinery cannot roll away causing an accident. If you don't see a brake on rear wheels -- this is a sign you are dealing with an unsafe machine. Does the product move/roll while performing a stationary lift? That's a sign of illegal design and build.
Safe design and build: Examine the design of a small crane. Microcranes, Inc. designs and fabricates its equipment to rigorous criteria, which includes but is not limited to the following: ISO 9001, CAN/CSA B167-16, ASME B30.5 (recognized in Canada), OSHA 1926:1400 & 1910:179, PALD, PASE, Canadian Electrical Code C22.1 (latest edition), Welded Steel Construction Code CWB W59 (latest edition).
Designed for pick and carry: Some small cranes were designed to hoist stationary loads(like engines) yet they claim they can pick and carry. Examine the design –- is the small crane truly designed to move objects safely? Or is the company just claiming it is? For example it would be illegal to have a man under a load moving the front legs of a small crane while another man pushes it from the back. Being under a load would be considered illegal. Does it look like you have to FORCE the pick and carry function (wobbly, awkward to move)? If so it’s a sign of illegal activity.
Safety check valve: This is a requirement by safety agencies in case hydraulics fail. In case of emergency it would prevent the boom/load from slamming down.
5:1 Cable & hook safety factor: The top safety agencies' legal requirement for hooks is typically a minimum 3:1 rating. The Microcrane has a 5:1 rated hook with safety latch and 5:1 rated galvanized cable for international standards.
Powdercoated safety color: It’s the law to have machinery colored for safety. The most effective safety color has proven to be yellow -- being more visible in daylight compared to red or other colors.
Legal boom deflection: Boom deflection is the percentage of flex/bending of a boom while cabling up a load. It is normal and legal for all cranes (large and small, all types) to have a slight deflection while cabling up heavy loads. However, there are legal limits. This goes back to safe design and build. If a crane manages to lift a heavy amount of weight yet has too much bending/deflection in the boom –- this is illegal. Does the boom appear to bounce up and down with a load? This is a sign of unsafe design and improper structural support.
Do we need an operator license? Under current United States federal law OSHA 1926.1441 small entity cranes rated 2,000 lbs. and below DO NOT require an operator license. 1926.1441(e): The employer must train each operator, prior to operating the equipment, on the safe operation of the type of equipment the operator will be using. 1926.1441(f): The employer must train each signal person in the proper use of signals applicable to the use of the equipment. For Canada no hoist operator license is required under CSA B167-16, see Canadian Compliance Resource Page
Do we need inspections? Per OSHA 1926.1441(h): The employer must ensure that equipment is inspected in accordance with manufacturer procedures. We provide a maintenance guidesheet for recommended annual inspections and pre-lift inspections. For Canada see CSA B167-16 inspections for Canadian Compliance Resource Page