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OSHA's Guide to Proper Inspection and Maintenance of Cranes

Two project team members at a construction site

It goes without saying that crane managers and owners must prioritize their workers' safety during crane operations. Cranes are essential yet very expensive, maintenance-driven, and risky machines to work with. They're known for their massive lifting, moving, and unloading capabilities that help streamline industrial projects. Cranes are widely used in manufacturing, freight, production, construction, and mining sectors.

However, if not correctly used or maintained properly, cranes can expose your workers, materials, and bystanders to enormous risk. So how can one prevent deadly crane accidents and material damage during a lift?

Thanks to OSHA, AKA Operational Safety and Health Administration, crane workers and operators have a detailed list of dos and don'ts to help them prevent crane-related mishaps. The organization has outlined each nitty-gritty aspect of crane safety, and its experts also suggest ways to enhance crane safety via crane warning indicators and crane alarm.

So let's delve deeper and uncover what, why, and how OSHA wants crane operators to be extra vigilant about their equipment's safety, performance, and efficiency.

Why OSHA Has Established Crane Safety Rules

OSHA is a regulatory authority in the US that works toward protecting worker rights across all industries. It's responsible for creating, enforcing, and assessing worker safety plans and strategies. The organization/regulatory authority was created by Congress according to the Health and Safety Act of 1970. It not only outlines worker safety standards but also offers complete assistance regarding material management and lifting equipment performance enhancement.

Two crane hooks

The organization is always proactive about crane safety and the significance of improving crane performance through regular crane inspections, repairs, tuning, and crane warning indicators. Crane-related instructions and regulations by OSHA are meant to protect on-site workers and nearby pedestrians. The OSHA crane safety manual covers everything from crane design and configurations to construction, assembly, safety, inspection, and operational usage.

Now let's talk about the factors that are considered the most important determinants of crane safety;

Operator Training

No crane can operate independently; hence, without properly trained workers and operators, a crane is nothing but a giant, stagnant machine. Material management has always been a laborious task. However, cranes, forklifts, and other types of material movement machines have made our lives easier.

But to maximize a crane's benefits and usage capabilities, it's important to have a talented, skilled, and well-trained team on board. OSHA recommends crane project managers hire fully licensed and vetted crane operators and thoroughly train them before assigning a task.

OSHA also says that along with beginner's training, all crane operators must be offered regular refresher courses according to the updated crane safety and operational best practices. The training regime must also entail a written and practical assessment and evaluation. It also maintains that if an employee isn't licensed or is waiting for a license, they can work under supervision as an operator-in-training.

A happy crane operator

OSHA requires crane operators must be trained in several areas, such as crane assembly, control cabin maintenance, risk management, reading load charts, and emergency response procedures.

Crane Personnel Communication

OSHA is particularly strict about crane operator-to-ground personnel communication. This two-way collaboration or interaction is a vital part of crane safety.

Your lift can be in danger if a crane operator cannot communicate with on-ground team members such as riggers, spotters, and signalers. The 1926.1419 code maintains that crane operators must take signals from the on-ground workers. They must be equipped with radio communication devices and crane systems for improved efficiency and safety. According to the instructions, a crane operator must halt the operation on an emergency stop sign no matter who gives it.

Load Management and Safety

Statistics reveal that a huge chunk of crane accidents occurs due to improper load handling, hooking, hoisting, and moving practices.

The 1926.1425 is an OSHA code known as 'Keeping clear of the load.' It strictly instructs crane teams to ensure that exposure to suspended loads and related risks must be minimized before movement. No personnel or pedestrians must be in the fall zone when a load is lifted with a crane. During the hooking, unhooking, and load navigation process, the suspended load must always lie in the fall zone.

OSHA also recommends that all materials hoisted on a crane hook be rigged to prevent displacement. This rigging part should be performed by a trained, qualified, and licensed rigger.

A man looking at a crane hook

Additional/Supplemental Crane Safety Features

OSHA suggests crane owners and operators learn about crane warning signs and install relevant crane safety devices such as a load indicator, load moment indicator, rated capacity system, and anti-two blocking warning indicator.

All of the above-mentioned devices are designed to optimize crane safety by equipping crane personnel with additional safety instructions, warnings, and signals in real-time. They help keep load weight, radius, angle, and height in check while preventing sudden collisions with the ground or other objects. Other key improvements that crane operators can make to upgrade their equipment's safety are the addition of CAN Bus and Programmable Logic Controllers, wireless Wind Speed Indicator, and remote control systems. All of these products can prove extremely efficacious in boosting an operator's control, precision, and command of equipment.

How Crane Warning Systems Atlanta Can Help You Improve Crane Operations

Crane Warning Systems Atlanta is a well-known, trusted, and reliable crane safety product distributor in the US. Our team has been providing advanced crane warning devices and RaycoWylie products since 2001.

The pioneer of range-limiting system manufacturing, RaycoWylie has now transformed into a world-renowned developer of crane safety instrumentation. It specializes in load limit indicators, rated capacity indicators, and Anti two block switch systems, among more. If you're looking for authentic RaycoWylie crane warning devices in the US, Crane Warning Systems Atlanta has got your back!

You can also check out product manuals and free troubleshooting guides on our website or learn about the specs and features of advanced crane indicator systems. Contact us for more details or request a quick quote now.

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