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Key Takeaways from OSHA’s Crane Safety Standard

A crane operation in progress

The number of crane accidents is increasing in the United States. Research shows that an average of 42 people die from crane related accidents every year. It's important to be aware of how to prevent these unfortunate incidents from taking place and make sure everyone is safe — especially on construction sites, where cranes are most commonly used. To help contractors avoid such accidents, OSHA has provided some crane safety standards that must be followed wherever a crane is being used. This blog post will highlight some key takeaways from the standards.

Why OSHA Standards Are Important

It is crucial to know the OSHA standards for cranes and the ways that those standards can be utilized in the workplace, specifically at construction sites. OSHA’s crane standard focuses on many key areas that are vital for the health and safety of all employees. They include guidelines for contractors pertaining to a crane’s inspection, operator qualification, operator training, maintenance programs and many other things. In addition, it is also important to know how OSHA handles compliance with their standards and how they enforce these standards across industries.

A crane lifting cargoes.

Make Sure the Driver Has a Crane License

Not every other person can be allowed to drive a crane at construction site. You should make sure it’s only operated by a driver that has obtained a permit or license to handle cranes. Your inability to do so can have serious legal consequences.

Use a Counterweight System

Regardless of whatever type of crane you’re using, ensure that you are using a counterweight system that is proportionate to the weight of the load being lifted. When using cranes with outriggers, make sure they are properly extended and provide appropriate support for your load. Also, make sure that loads are properly secured to prevent shifting while being lifted and that all the equipment meets OSHA standards prior to lifting.

Make Sure the Operator and Personnel Wears Proper Safety Gear

Many of the jobs that involve mobile cranes require the operator as well as others around the crane to wear special safety gear. It’s designed to protect them should a crane fall while in use. The safety gear includes a helmet, safety goggles, protective clothing, and sometimes ear plugs as well so that the crane's sound doesn't affect them.

Clear Spectators from the Area

There's nothing more dangerous than having someone in the way of a crane that's moving. In many cases, cranes have crushed people who were too close to where it was being operated. Make sure you're aware of where everyone is and get them out of harm's way before moving.

Pay Attention to Weather Conditions Before Starting Work

If there's a chance for rain, wait until it passes unless you are protected from it by a canopy or similar cover. Otherwise, wet concrete can become problematic for mobile cranes because their feet will sink into the ground and get stuck in wet soil or eroded material, making it difficult for them to move at all. You can’t move a mobile crane if the ground is muddy. If the soil is wet, make sure you either use a special wheelbarrow to move the concrete or have someone with a manual loader do it for you.

Use a Roll Over Protection Structure

As technology improves, safety standards change to meet new conditions. In the United States, all cranes are required to have a ROPS (Roll Over Protection Structure) installed on them. ROPS are designed to protect the operator from the boom of the crane, which can cause serious injury or death if the boom were to collapse on them.

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