A Primer on Crane Safety and Ground Conditions

Updated: Jun 14, 2019

Among these, ensuring that the ground on which the crane is to be set up is capable of supporting the weight and orientation of the crane is arguably of most importance. Especially, when it comes to setting up the crane for stability, adequate ground conditions play an important role.


For instance, if the ground on which the crane is being set up is muddy to the extent where stability is hard to achieve, the crane could tip over during operation even if operated within its specified load limits.


Until the introduction of OSHA crane standard 1926.1400-1926.1442, ground conditions hardly received a mention in any of the preceding standards. However, with 1926.1400-1926.1442, assessments of ground conditions became a binding practice for project managers and supervisors.


How do you exactly define ground conditions in the context of crane operations?

The OSHA defines ground conditions as the ability of a ground to support the crane equipment, and includes compaction, firmness, soil moisture and gradient as the standard parameters to check for.


The OSHA further instructs the responsible parties to inform the crane operator of any possible location hazards that could be beneath the crane, such as tanks, voids, uncompacted gravels or utilities.


Who are the “responsible parties” for carrying out ground conditions assessment under OSHA standards?


The organization places the responsibility on project managers and supervisors. In case, if there are no project managers or supervisors, the responsibility then falls on the employer.


In instances where the crane operator feels that the ground conditions are not safe for crane operation, they have the authority to stop the work and not resume it until appropriate actions are taken.

To conclude, effective assessment of ground conditions is essential to assist with safe operations of a crane and must be dealt with thoroughly.


At Crane Warning Systems Atlanta, we sell a variety of crane safety instrumentation products to help our clients operate cranes safely at their worksites. View our complete product range and learn more about our crane safety systems.

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