Improving crane equipment and operator safety is undoubtedly every construction business’s top priority. But it’s equally important to pay attention to the safety and well-being of other workers and pedestrians in the surroundings. Crane operations require space, time, and a holistic risk management plan. You cannot just install a crane anywhere and kick-start a material movement project. It requires in-depth research, a risk prevention blueprint, real-time traffic, and on-site safety surveillance.
According to crane safety experts, the first thing that crane operation teams should do is create and implement a crane site traffic management plan. It should entail all the details about traffic flow, traffic control measures, and the potential dangers around your construction site.
Let’s dig deeper and learn more about the ins and outs of crane site traffic management.
The Core Principles of Crane Site Traffic Management
Risk mitigation is the primary goal of developing a crane site traffic management plan.
Keeping your workers, operators, and pedestrians in the area safe from crane accidents is imperative to secure operational efficiency and business reputation. You must implement a range of traffic measures before launching a crane lift. The following are the most critical principles you shouldn’t forget:
Control the Area
Controlling the on-site traffic flow will help you effectively warn and alert drivers and on-foot bystanders about potential crane risks. It includes different actions such as limiting one and wrong-way actions, maximizing speed limit implementation, and allotting parking areas. OSHA and ASME recommend that the crane be deployed at least 10 feet from an operational traffic area.
Communicate the Risks and Hazards
Information delivery is an essential step involved in crane site traffic management. Without clearly communicating the risks and hazards, you cannot ensure operational safety at your worksite. Opt for clear, visible signage for traffic management. Alert pedestrians about risky crane operations and warn them against trespassing.
Moreover, you should also consider installing on-site crane camera systems, radio control devices, and audio-visual alert systems to boost the safety of your operators, riggers, and spotters.
Separation and Visibility
We think separation and visibility are the basic pillars of implementing a successful crane site traffic management plan. Separation refers to maintaining adequate distance between material management equipment and other machines and vehicles. In comparison, visibility means using sightlines, warning lights, signage, and other tools, such as barricades, to alert traffic about crane operations.
General Requirements for Crane Site Traffic Safety
Here are some general requirements that crane operation managers must incorporate in their crane site traffic safety plans:
Avoid planning your crane lifting operations in peak traffic hours
Opt for early morning and late afternoon periods for lifting operations
Study the flow of traffic around your crane site to identify the type, number, and flow of vehicles
Install rotating lights and alert devices when an overhead crane is operating at your site
Make sure all the workers and traffic controllers are wearing hard hats, boots, and other PPE elements at all times
Conduct safe visibility tests and ground marking assessments before initiating a crane operation
Plant visible stop/slow signs
Develop an alternative route for traffic that can be activated in case of an emergency
Make sure all the vehicles use a pre-designated route to minimize traffic disruption
Make sure relevant documents, policies, traffic management plans, and notifications are given to local authorities such as the police and transport department to obtain necessary permits
Critical Elements of Crane Site Traffic Management
Now that you know the basics of crane site traffic management, let’s take one step further and understand its three highly important traffic control elements:
Managing Non-Vehicular Traffic
Non-vehicular traffic includes pedestrians, children, bicycle riders, and kids with toy vehicles. Experts strongly recommend crane operators redirect non-vehicular traffic away from their site. However, necessary provisions must be made if the said is not possible.
Area clearance is required as a part of the crane site traffic management plan. It involved removing and clearing all kinds of obstructions, including vehicles, power lines, and other objects from a crane’s proximity. Moreover, the work area should be highlighted and visible to bystanders and other on-ground workers.
In addition to implementing a clearance policy, you can also develop a termination that doesn’t allow any traffic, signage, or material entrance.
Road users need delineated paths to safely move in a crane site’s surroundings. Project managers need to specify the delineation range and mark it with necessary warning lights and signage. Your delineated paths should extend from the work area to a detoured range for maximum road coverage.
This strategy is also helpful in safeguarding workers assigned at excavation sites. You can divert the pedestrian traffic with signs and markings or opt for barrier posts and containment fences.
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