While technological advancements have definitely made cranes safer, the safety of a construction project ultimately depends upon how they’re operated. The majority of crane accidents happen due to dropped loads, boom collapse, overturned cranes, boom failure, or contact with a power line. Crushing by counterweights and failed rigging can be causes of deadly accidents as well. OSHA’s analysis of crane accidents in general industry and construction identified an average of 71 fatalities each year.
Ensuring safety during rigging and lifting and rigging operations is critical on the construction site. Even small cranes can cause fatal accidents. Safety-related mishaps not only cost businesses in terms of equipment loss, property damage, and injuries to personnel, but can also lead to large regulatory fines and lawsuits by injured workers or their families.
So, to help you ensure safe rigging and lifting operations on the construction site, here are some tips on crane safety.
Ensure That All the Personnel Assigned to Lifting Operations are Appropriately Qualified
The mobile cranes used today are tremendously complex machines that are capable of generating large lifting forces in an agile, compact package. A modern mobile crane can be an incredibly efficient and safe tool in the hands of an experienced, qualified operator. However, recognizing and respecting that cranes are specialized pieces of equipment is important. Keep your work site code-compliant and safe by ensuring that only qualified, experienced personnel are assigned to lifting operations.
Ensure the Load Is Properly Secured
Like we’ve mentioned above, improper loading is one of the most prevalent causes of crane accidents on construction sites. Loads that aren’t properly secured can expose workers to deadly hazards. Even small items, such as water coolers and toolboxes, should be properly secured. Here are some pre-operation safety checks that operators should always perform before every lift:
The load is free of any loose parts, packing, and materials
There’s no slack in the hoisting ropes and sling
The weight of the load doesn’t exceed the max load capacity
The lifting fits in the hook saddle properly
Make Sure There’s Enough Space for the Crane to Operate In
While mobile cranes are known for being efficient and agile in relatively small spaces, it’s vital to allow both the boom swing and the outriggers enough clearance. A crane’s actual working “footprint” will differ based on the height of the lift, the boom’s length, the overall size of the unit. Although mobile cranes can be safely set up and operated in only a fraction of the space required for static tower cranes, more is always safer when it comes to clearance.