Cranes are carefully designed, tested, and manufactured for safe operation. When used properly they can provide safe reliable service to lift or move loads. Because cranes have the ability to lift heavy loads to great heights, they also have an increased potential for catastrophic accidents if safe operating practices are not followed.

Crane operators and personnel working with cranes need to be knowledgeable of basic crane capacities, limitations, and specific job site restrictions, such as location of overhead electric power lines, unstable soil, or high wind conditions. Personnel working around crane operations also need to be aware of hoisting activities or any job restrictions imposed by crane operations, and ensure job site coordination of cranes. Crane inspectors therefore should become aware of these issues and, prior to starting an inspection, take time to observe the overall crane operations with respect to load capacity, site coordination, and any job site restrictions in effect.