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5 Crane Safety Tips for New Crane Operators

According to the law and government resource website, over 175,000 construction and loading dock cranes are in operation, which may lead to serious injuries if crane safety protocols aren’t followed. These incidents are especially likely to occur if new operators are operating cranes due to factors like a lack of experience and/or general negligence.

With this in mind, we’ve put together 5 useful crane safety tips to help new operators maximize workplace safety. Without further delay, let’s dive in.

  1. Learn How to Collectively Calibrate the Various Sensors in Load Moment Indicators

Cranes at a shipyard

One of the most important crane safety tips on today’s list is calibrating crane safety equipment such as load moment indicators (LMIs). Crane LMIs consist of numerous sensors that provide real-time data on the load weight, wind speed, load, angle, and radius of the crane boom. LMI systems also feature an anti-two-block alarm that notifies crane operators in case the ball attached to the boom is too close to the boom tip.

These crane safety devices are designed to work together to provide a holistic view of the various forces acting on the crane. As a result, it’s important to calibrate them collectively if you want to boost crane systems. If you calibrate each component individually, they’ll work on their own—but there’s no guarantee they’ll be able to communicate with one another when you’re up in the crane cab.

  1. Cross-Check Data From Wireless Crane Anemometers and Dynamometers During High Winds

A telescope crane

If you’ve got your crane operator’s license/certification from bodies like the Occupational Safety and Health Administration or the National Commission for the Certification of Crane Operators, chances are you’ve heard of wind speed indicators (anemometers) and dynamometers. Here’s a quick refresher in case you need it: anemometers measure wind speed and sometimes direction, while crane dynamometers (different from vehicle dynamometers) measure the tension on the hoist line, which translates to the weight of the load being lifted.

Seasoned crane operators cross-check the data from both instruments to accurately assess the effects of wind speed on the crane and the load. For instance, suppose you’re operating a crane at sea. According to research conducted on this kind of scenario, the payload may swing unexpectedly if the ship’s movements compound the force of the wind on the crane. The load on the hoist line might be higher than what you’d anticipate based on looking solely at anemometer readings. Checking both anemometer and dynamometer readings in this situation will help you gauge how to maneuver the crane as safely as possible.

  1. Use Hand Signals in Tandem With Verbal Communication Whenever Possible

A construction worker

Have you brushed up on the various hand signals the Occupational Safety and Health Administration recommends for crane operators? Once you’ve learned them, we recommend using them alongside verbal communication for optimal safety. This could be as simple as shouting ‘stop’ while swinging your horizontally-extended arm up and down or mouthing the word ‘down’ while doing the thumbs-down signal to lower the boom.

We understand that using hand signals and verbal communication together isn’t always practical, but doing it even if the other person can’t hear you is beneficial because you’ll learn and remember the signals quicker.

  1. Always Wear a Hard Hat—Even If You’re In the Crane Cockpit

A construction supervisor looking through plans

If you think taking off your PPE inside the crane cockpit is alright, think again! Hard hats are among the most important pieces of PPE you must wear at all times because they protect you from unexpected dangers. Here’s an example of why it’s worth wearing a hard hat in the crane cab.

Suppose you’re operating a lattice boom crawler at a coal mine for the first time. You’ve completed all the daily checks and brushed up on your ability to cross-check anemometer data with dynamometer data. You’re also confident you’ve correctly calibrated the onboard crane safety equipment. However, when you’re about to deposit several tons of coal, the crane Load links buzzes, indicating a potential two-blocking situation.

In this scenario, if the ball at the end of the boom shoots up and collides with the tip, the shockwaves will immediately travel through the crane and into the cab. If you aren’t wearing a hard hat, there’s a strong chance you’ll seriously injure yourself.

  1. Never Rush Through Daily Operational Checks

A telescoping boom extending out of a construction crane

The last crane safety tip we want to share with you today is obvious, but you’d be surprised how many novice crane operators forget. If you’re operating a crane for the first time, take your time going through the operational checklist. Will it frustrate your supervisors who want things done on time? Perhaps it will cause a time lag in operations that causes the company a financial loss. Maybe. But are these things as important as protecting the lives and well-being of the construction site staff? Absolutely not—so don’t rush through the checks!

Crane Warning Systems Atlanta Supplies Top-Tier Equipment to Help New Operators Adhere to the Crane Safety Tips Outlined Above

If you’ve followed every crane safety tip above, there’s still a chance of something going wrong unless you use well-made safety equipment. That’s where Crane Warning Systems Atlanta comes in.

We’re one of the leading suppliers of crane safety devices made by renowned manufacturer RaycoWylie. We provide high-quality wind speed indicators, load moment indicators, control boxes, and more to all kinds of clients, such as port authorities and mining/construction companies. With over two decades of experience, we’ve helped seasoned and beginner crane operators alike to maximize safety.

Contact us today to request a quote.

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