All cranes shall be operated and maintained in accordance with any and all applicable regulations and as recommended by the manufacturer.

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This policy applies to tower cranes, telescoping boom and lattice boom cranes , wall cranes, and other hoisting equipment that have the same fundamental characteristics. Types of Cranes shows examples of some of the aforementioned cranes.

Additional program requirements exist for cranes within a horizontal distance of 5,000 feet from the University of Chicago Aeromedical Network (UCAN) heliports at 5815 South Maryland Avenue atop the Mitchell Hospital and at 5700 South Maryland Avenue atop the New Hospital Pavilion.

Authority and Responsibility

Facilities Services Capital Project Delivery is responsible for:

  • Understanding the purpose and intent of the Crane Policy;
  • Submitting notification to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for projects that do not involve a contractor, if necessary;
  • Notifying all contractors of the purpose and intent of the Crane Policy;
  • Notifying all contractors using cranes of the location of the UCAN heliports at 5815 South Maryland Avenue and 5700 South Maryland Avenue; and
  • Notifying UCAN at 773-702-3222 and Environmental Health and Safety at 773-702-9999 in advance, when any crane in excess of 100 feet in height will be erected or used on University property, crane specifications and drawings should be included with the notification.  An informal notification should also be put in with both offices for any crane that will be erected or used on campus property that is in excess of 50 feet.

Contractors and sub-contractors are responsible for:

  • Understanding the University’s Crane policy;
  • Submitting notification to the FAA if necessary; and
  • Complying with the procedures defined within the policy.

Environmental Health and Safety is responsible for:

  • Reviewing the Crane Policy to ensure compliance.

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FAA Notification

A notification must be submitted to the FAA for proposed crane operations within 5,000 feet from the UCAN Heliports at 5815 South Maryland Avenue and 5700 South Maryland that extend above an imaginary surface that extends outward and upward in any direction at a slope of 25 to 1 from the nearest point of the nearest landing and takeoff area of UCAN – Imaginary Plane Notification Requirements for UCAN Heliport.

It is the Project Manager’s responsibility to notify the contractor if the crane is within 5,000 feet from the UCAN Heliports. It should be noted that the entire University of Chicago campus and much of Hyde Park fall within a 5,000 foot radius of the two heliports.  If you are unsure if a project falls within the 5,000 feet radius of either heliport, please contact Environmental Health and Safety.

Form and Time of Notice

Each person who is required to notify the FAA of proposed crane operations shall submit, electronically, FAA Form 7460-1, Notice of Proposed Construction of Alteration to the FAA. The online form may be obtained at the FAA Obstruction Evaluation / Airport Airspace Analysis Website OE/AAA. The FAA Great Lakes Regional Office maybe contacted for help with the FAA Form 7460-1.

FAA Great Lakes Regional Office
Air Traffic Division, AGL-520
2300 East Devon Avenue
Des Plaines, IL 60018

Additionally, one Form 7460-1 shall be submitted to:

Illinois Department of Transportation
Division of Aeronautics
Capital Airport
1 Langhorne Bond Drive
Springfield, Illinois 62707-8415

Notification shall be submitted at least 30 days before the earlier of the following dates:

  • The date the crane is erected.
  • The date an application for a construction permit is to be filed.
  • The FAA shall acknowledge in writing the receipt of each notification. Persons who knowingly and willingly violate the notification requirements herein outlined in this policy and in 14 CRF part 77 are subject to a civil penalty of $1,000 per day until a notice is received.

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Marking and Lighting

Any temporary or permanent structure, including cranes, that exceed an overall height of 200 feet above ground level or that fall under the notification requirements shall be marked and/or lighted. Marking and lighting procedure shall follow the guidelines of FAA publication Advisory Circular AC 70/7460-1K.

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The operator of the aforementioned devices shall perform his/her duties as follows:

  1. Equipment shall be operated by a qualified operator or trainee that is under the direct supervision of the qualified operator. Exception: Maintenance,  test personnel, and inspectors, when in the performance of their duties, shall be allowed access only after permission has been granted by the operator;
  2. The operator, when operating the equipment, shall maintain full attention on the task being performed (e.g., no use of headsets, music);
  3. The operator shall ensure that hand signals used during the lift are understood and followed by all involved;
  4. No load in excess of the rated capacity shall be lifted, unless for test purposes, and the test shall be an engineered lift;
  5. Before leaving the crane or carrier unattended, the operator shall land any load, place the controls or master switch in the off position and open the main line device of the specific crane or carrier;
  6. The main line disconnect shall not be closed until the operator has made sure that no one is on or adjacent to the crane or carrier;
  7. If the crane or carrier has been locked out or tagged out, the operator shall not remove the lock or tag, unless the lock or tag has been placed there by the operator. To remove someone else’s lock or tag refer to the Lockout/Tagout program;
  8. For cab-operated equipment, make sure that all controls are in the “off” position prior to closing the line disconnect;
  9. During the use of cab-operated equipment, if the power should fail, the operator shall turn off all controllers. Before restarting, the operator shall check the motion controls for proper direction to ensure controls are in the neutral position; and
  10. Persons boarding or leaving cab-operated equipment shall do so at the designated point of access or egress.
  11. Employers must comply with local and state operator licensing requirements which meet the minimum criteria specified in 29 CFR 1926.1427.
  12. Employers must pay for certification or qualification of their currently uncertified or unqualified operators.
  13. When employers with employees qualified for power transmission and distribution are working in accordance with the power transmission and distribution standard (29 CFR 1910.269), that employer will be considered in compliance with this final rule's requirements for working around power lines.
  14. Employers must perform a pre-erection inspection of tower cranes.

Attaching the Load

Attaching the load shall be conducted as follows:

  1. Hoist chains or ropes shall be free of kinks or twists;
  2. Hoist chains or ropes shall not be wrapped around the load;
  3. The load shall be attached to the load block; and
  4. Prior to lifting the load, the operator shall make certain that the load, sling, attachments, lifting devices and the load block are unobstructed.
  5. Employers must use a qualified rigger for rigging operations during assembly/disassembly.

Moving the Load

Moving the load shall be conducted as follows:

  1. The person responsible for directing the lift shall make sure that the load is properly secured, balanced and positioned in the sling or other lifting device;
  2. The person responsible for directing the lift shall make another visual inspection of the hoist chain or rope to make sure there are no kinks or twists;
  3. The load block shall be brought over the load in a manner that will prevent swinging when lifting the load;
  4. The chain or rope shall be inspected to ensure that it is properly seated in the chain sprocket or drum groove;
  5. Lift equipment shall not be used for side pulls;
  6. The operator shall not lift, travel or lower a load while someone is on the load or hook;
  7. The operator shall avoid lifting the load over people;
  8. If the load being lifted approaches the rated load to be handled, the operator shall test the brakes by lifting the load a few inches and applying the brakes; and
  9. The load shall not be lowered below the point where there is less than two wraps of rope on the hoisting drum, unless a lower limit device is provided. If a lower limit device is provided, no less than one wrap shall remain.

Parking the Load

Parking the load shall be conducted as follows:

  1. The operator shall not leave a suspended load unattended; and
  2. The load block of the hoist shall be raised above head level when not in use.

Hand Signals

Hand signals shall be used unless the participants of the lift are equipped with telephones, radios or other equivalent means of communication.

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Inspection Procedure

Cranes in Periodic Use

A crane or overhead gantry that has not been used for a period of one month or more shall be inspected by the employee trained to use such equipment before each use and the focus for such an inspection is as follows:

  1. Inspect all functional operating mechanisms;
  2. Check for damage to or leaks from lines, tanks, valves, drain pumps, and air or hydraulic systems;
  3. Check the load hook for deformities or cracks;
  4. Check all hoist chains for excessive wear, including end connectors.
  5. Check all chains for kinks, twists and distorted links and stretches that are beyond what is recommended by the manufacturer; and
  6. Inspect the rope for damage such as kinks, cracks, cutting, bending, broken wires, unraveling, corroded or improperly connected end connections.

Regardless of how often a crane or overhead gantry is used, the unit shall be inspected annually by an outside contractor qualified to inspect the unit. This inspection shall be the responsibility of the department to arrange. The contractor shall document and provide the owner with a copy of the findings who will in turn provide copies to Environmental Health and Safety.


Preventive maintenance shall be performed as prescribed by the manufacturer as detailed in the owner’s manual. Maintenance of the units shall be performed by an outside contractor qualified to perform maintenance.

Adjustments and Repair

Any unsafe conditions disclosed by the inspection shall be corrected before operation of the crane is resumed. Adjustments and repairs shall be done only by designated personnel.

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Employees required to operate overhead cranes shall be required to participate in and successfully complete the curriculum of a training program before assuming their responsibilities. Training shall be arranged for by the department. Copies of the training curriculum, qualifications of the trainer, competency assessment and attendance rosters shall be provided to Environmental Health and Safety.


The curriculum of the training program shall, at a minimum, address the following topics:

  • Wire rope;
  • Slings;
  • Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and American National Standards Institute (ANSI) standards;
  • Hoisting equipment manual and power;
  • Operation and safety awareness including lock and tag procedures;
  • Basic rigging;
  • Field training and trials; and
  • Inspection procedures.


Employees shall be required to participate in annual refresher training. Retraining may also be deemed necessary when it has been documented that the operator has failed to operate the crane in a safe and appropriate manner as directed by this policy and according to OSHA and ANSI regulations.

Curriculum for retraining shall cover the same topics as the initial training.

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Guidance Documents

Crane Safety Policy Guidance Document

Reviewed: August 2020

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