How Often Do Cranes Need To Be Load Tested?

Crane operation is a dangerous business, and accidents can happen fast, and they do. These kinds of accidents can easily be prevented by putting specific controls in place in most cases. One of these control measures is load tests that need to be done on cranes; it makes one wonder: how often do cranes need to be load tested?

The American National Standards Institute inside the Occupational Safety and Health Administration guides employers to comply with legislation. OSHA states that load testing on cranes should be done before their first use and again after any change to the crane that can affect the load rating.

The rated test load should not be more than 125% of the crane’s rated load, and you need to keep records for reviewing purposes. You can find these standards on the OSHA website. The ANSI standard is B30.2.0-1967. More on this topic, including why companies do load testing every 12 months, is coming up in this post.

How Often Should A Load Test Be Done On A Crane?

So far, it can be seen from the OSHA and ANSI standards that cranes need to be load tested before their first use and after any modification that would cause the capacity or the rating of the crane to change. So now the other burning question is: why do businesses do load testing every 12 months?

Well, the answer is actually simple. It is because everybody has a health and safety plan in place. Under this health and safety plan, it makes sense to check things before they fail. It is a legal requirement to do inspections on most of the other components. What happens if everything else is safe, but the crane fails because it can not lift according to its rated capacity?

It’s the exact reason why most organizations choose to do load testing every 12 months, and it has become an industry norm to do it that way. Organizations take a risk-based approach, and that means they have specific preventative measures in place. Many business owners regard it as a way to prevent lawsuits.

Another reason load testing is done every 12 months is because of the sections that are in place about inspections, the standards require periodic inspections on all the components of a crane, including load, wind, and other indicators over their entire range, for any significant inaccuracies, inspections need to be done by a competent person.

In a lot of cases, the competent person in terms of a load test is the company that does a load test on the crane and gives a business a load test certificate in return that helps with keeping a record of the safety of the crane, as well as helping with the reviewing of the health and safety plan.

Do All Cranes Have The Same Standards For Load Testing?

Not all cranes are the same, and because of that, OSHA has other standards for different types of cranes. These types include, among others, Overhead and Gantry cranes, Tower cranes, and Ship cranes on mobile offshore drilling units. Here is some more information about load testing for these cranes.

Overhead And Gantry Cranes

Overhead and Gantry cranes are a common sight in workplaces worldwide; they are cab, pendant, or remote-controlled cranes. OSHA sets the requirement for these cranes in their 1910.179 standards. It’s where the requirement is set to have cranes load tested.

Section1910.1799(k) states that overhead and gantry cranes need to be load tested by a competent person before a crane is used for the first time and then again after any change or modification is made that could change the rated capacity of the crane.

Tower Crane

The OSHA standard for tower cranes is 1926.1435, and it says in section (f)(3)(i) that a load test must be done after every erection, using certified weights and a certified scale that has a calibration certificate.

It further states in section (f)(3)(ii) that you need to do the load test according to manufacturers standards; if this is not possible, then it needs to be done in accordance with the load test procedures that were developed by a registered and professional engineer that is familiar with tower cranes.

Tower cranes move from site to site a few times per year based on where they may be needed; this means that these cranes may be load tested a few times per year in some cases. It all depends on how many times it is erected.

Ship Cranes On Mobile Offshore Drilling Units

46 CFR 107.260 states that ship cranes on mobile offshore drilling units should be load tested after installation before the first use and every 60 months and after repairs or alterations to structural components of the crane. As you can see from this type of crane, the standards are different than the other two types of crane.

It makes sense that in this case, there would be a specific time frame of 60 months to do a load test seeing as there are a lot of factors that could cause these cranes to become unsafe. Cranes should not become unsafe as they could lead to multiple casualties or a lot of property damage if it does.


Load testing on cranes is very important for a health and safety plan to work, and although it becomes a drag to do them, it does play a part in making the workplace as safe as possible. It would be best to do the load testing at different intervals according to standards, but it is best to do them annually in line with insection criteria.

In order to be legally compliant, businesses need to have the correct documentation in line with legislation. Load test reports are a great way to prove that the lifting machines are safe as required by health and safety legislation. It is best to read up on all the applicable standards from OSHA and ANSI to understand health and safety better.


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