Over the past few decades, cranes have improved their speed, strength, sophistication, capacity and reach all the while becoming lighter and more maneuverable. Cranes are now an indispensable piece of equipment at the job construction site. Unfortunately cranes are involved in more serious accidents than any other piece of heavy equipment. In fact, cranes account for more than 20% of construction site fatalities.
Follow these tips below on how to practice crane safety:
- The construction site supervisor must be experienced and knowledgeable about crane selection and set-up. He will need to understand anti-two block devices, load moment indicators, mechanical levels, boom angle indicators, load indicating devices, crane load charts and outriggers and pad supports
- The crane must be suitable to the task at hand and adequate for the job required.
- The crane must be operated within the design parameters established by the manufacturer.
- All electrical or other overhead hazards must be discovered and accommodated before crane use begins: There must be sufficient clearances for access to the job site.
- The crane must be set up properly. Improper set-up is responsible for approximately half of all construction site accidents involving cranes. The crane must be set up level on a solid foundation capable of supporting the crane and its load. If outriggers are required, they must be set up properly.
- Crane operations must be carefully planned ahead of time. Numerous tools and pieces of equipment are in use at a job construction site, and it is important that they be coordinated to work well together. Particularly when it comes to cranes, coordination of activities is key.
- Crane operations must not only be planned carefully but monitored continually. In other words, once you're done planning crane operations, your job has only just begun. You must ensure that the crane is being used according to plan, and that crane operators do not modify procedures.
- Crane operators must be experienced and qualified to operate the equipment assigned to them. The crane operator must be knowledgeable and experienced in the use of the load charts for the crane he is operating, as well as familiar with the use of boom angle indicators, radius measurements, anti-two block devices, load moment indicators, outriggers and supports, mechanical level, slings and bars. Finally, the crane operator must have the mathematical ability to calculate loads.
- The crane operator must also have good judgment. Load charts are created under ideal conditions using new cranes on level and solid foundations, lifting dead (unmoving) weights with no movement in the swing or boom angle, without wind or rain. The operator need to be able to judge the job site conditions and reduce load and speed according to the real-world conditions he encounters.
Crane safety requires attention to detail on the part of the job site supervisor, the crane operator and the workers on site. But with this attention to detail, the crane will prove to be a safe, efficient and economical contribution to the job at hand.