For Safety, Operators Should Check These Monorail System Areas At The Start Of Each Shift

Prior to operating an overhead monorail system, an operator should conduct a pre-operational/pre-shift inspection to determine if any components might be damaged or in need of service. If any issues are discovered, the system should be removed from service and locked-out/tagged-out of use until the problem has been addressed or repaired by a qualified service technician. As detailed in MH27.1 Daily Operator Checklist for Patented Track Crane or Monorail System — a document published by the Monorail Manufacturers Association (MMA) of MHI — 19 separate areas should be quickly reviewed at the start of each shift. Additionally, MMA also offers a series of recommended practices ensures the proper, safe operation of these systems by preventing injury to the operator and other personnel working in the area.

A variety of components and functional areas within the monorail should be assessed during this pre-operational inspection. Checklist items include:

  • Confirm that the system has not been deemed unusable during a previous shift and tagged with an out-of-service sign.
  • Check that all travel motions correspond to the direction markings on control devices (if present).
  • Verify that limit switches (if incorporated into the system) are functioning correctly.
  • Confirm proper deceleration of all travel motions, such that stopping distances are normal and there is no excessive drift.
  • Check that any necessary attachment clamps or brackets are both present and properly installed.
  • Evaluate the condition of the trolleys, looking for obvious damage, cracks, deformation or twisting. Additionally, check for damaged bumpers.
  • Determine that no components are loose, including ensuring that all bolts are installed, tight and not missing.
  • Verify that end stop assemblies and bolts and nuts are present and installed securely.
  • Assess all rail flanges or sliding surfaces to confirm they are not bent downward or worn beyond the limits specified in the manufacturer’s instruction manuals.
  • Check all system welds for cracks or defects.
  • Look carefully for any oil or grease leakage on the drive systems or on the floor beneath the drives.
  • Listen for any unusual sounds from the trolley.
  • Verify that all capacity, warning, and safety labels are intact and legible.
  • Confirm that the maximum load capacities of the hoist(s) and/or trolley(s) do not exceed the maximum capacity of the system.
  • Test trolley travel to ensure it can traverse the entire length of the rail without snags.
  • Check the system’s support structure, looking for bent or otherwise damaged hanger assemblies, to confirm overall operational stability.
  • Determine if any unauthorized modifications have occurred.
  • Evaluate the work area for accumulation of materials and for poor lighting, both of which can cause trips and slipping.
  • Assess the hoist following the appropriate checklist for electric powered and air powered hoists, hand chain hoists, and lever hoists, published by the Hoist Manufacturers Institute (HMI).

Should an operator identify any issues during the pre-shift inspection, the monorail should be immediately removed from service. Completed checklists should be collected and kept on file within the facility, as this documentation verifies that the assessments are being performed properly and on schedule, as well as that the equipment is operating both effectively and safely.

Want to learn more ways monorails can help your workers be both safer and more productive? The members of the Monorail Manufacturers Association (MMA) are the industry’s leading suppliers of monorails and workstation crane systems. The group offers a variety of resources—including a product certification program, recommended practices for workstation cranes and patented track systems, and more—via its website at