• Carmen Zajicek

Avoiding Crane Overloading Hazards

Cranes are undoubtedly one of the most important and widely-used industrial machines right now. From demolition and construction to shipping and transportation – cranes play a critical role in a multitude of industries today.


As technology has evolved, cranes have become safer and more efficient over the years. But sadly, crane-related accidents and mishaps are still quite prevalent occurrences. According to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics, a total of 297 crane-related deaths were reported between 2011 and 2017.  


Unfortunately, human error is the underlying cause behind the majority of crane-related accidents – with overloading being the most prevalent one.


Crane Overloading: The Causes

In fact, according to OSHA, 80% of all crane failures can be attributed to exceeding the crane’s operational capacity. The most common crane-overloading scenarios include:


· Attempting to lift a load that exceeds the crane’s capacity

· Swinging a load

· Dragging a load

· A load being dropped suddenly

· Side-loading the boom

· Using defective or malfunctioning crane components


The Human Error Factor

You may be wondering why crane accidents caused by overloading still happen even though OSHA required each crane’s loading capacity to be clearly displayed on the equipment itself. However, in some instances, the load capacity label is so worn out that it’s unintelligible, forcing the operator to “guess” the capacity based on other units they’ve worked with.


On the other hand, in some cases, the operator sees the specified capacity as a guideline instead of a maximum and use their instincts to load the crane. In many cases, operators even fail to verify the weight of the load before lifting it.


Technological Fail-Safes

If we go back a few decades, crane operators only had load charts to depend upon when it came to determining the load capacity of their equipment. Moreover, critical measurements, such as the boom length, radius, angle, and wind speed, also had to be computed manually to arrive at a weight figure that was somewhat reliable.


Today, however, there are advanced crane warning instruments available that can compute these measurements automatically and accurately. For instance, an LMI (Load Moment Indicator) can display the load’s weight as a fraction of the unit’s max capacity while simultaneously factoring in externalities like the effect of the wind on the boom or load.


Here at Crane Warning Systems Atlanta, we sell technologically advanced crane safety instruments, including wireless anti two block system, crane LMI systems, crane load monitoring systems, and crane indicator systems, that enhance the safety and efficiency of lift operations. Get in touch with us today to learn more.

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