Must-Know Crane Operation Tips for Improved Safety in the Work Zone

Crane operation is an important aspect of the construction industry. Cranes are used to lift and move heavy loads when constructing buildings and other structures. Of course, as with the operation of any heavy machinery, crane operation does pose significant dangers. Fortunately, a few tips can help to reduce the threat of danger to you and others around you.

Inspect and Plan Properly

The first step you will likely take before breaking ground at a construction site is to perform an inspection. Inspections allow you to identify any potential hazards before you bring in the heavy equipment and crew members. One such hazard you need to watch out for is overhead power lines.

While avoiding overhead power lines may seem obvious, keep in mind that approximately 45% of mobile crane accidents resulted from electrocution caused by contact with a power source, such as overhead power lines. Keep in mind that a crane operator may not have enough visibility to spot power lines while using the crane.

Inspect the site to determine if it is possible to maintain a safe distance from any nearby power source or power lines. If the power source has not been de-energized and grounded, the crane must not come any closer than 20 feet to the source, as determined by OSHA in Regulations under 1926.1408(a)(2).

If you feel that any power source will pose a problem, make sure you plan ahead. You can prevent accidents related to electrocution by doing so. First, make sure you put together a crew that consists of plenty of spotters.

Spotters assist the operator in determining if they are nearing a power source. You can also plan ahead to ensure that the operator and spotters have enough 2-way radios on hand to communicate with one another. Communication is imperative when it comes to the safety of you and your crew members.

Performing an inspection also allows you to plan well enough ahead of time to ensure you have all of the proper safety measures and equipment in place. For example, you could set up proximity alarms that will advise the operator when the crane is within 20 feet of the power source.

Adhere to Weight Limits

Cranes must be operated within their specified weight limits for good reason. Failure to adhere to the crane's weight limits could create hazardous issues for you and your coworkers, ranging from tipping to crane collapse.

Again, while this may seem like common knowledge, keep in mind that crane accidents resulting from an overbearing load can and do happen. On August 11, 2015, a truck crane overturned in San Antonio, Texas, because the weight overloaded the crane's configuration. Similarly, a crane lost stability in Pembroke Pines, Florida on July 22, 2015, because of an overload issue.

There are many more instances in which an overloaded crane leads to the loss of crane stability. In some instances, the loss of crane stability can cause severe injury and even death. In order to ensure that crane operators adhere to weight limits, make sure they receive the proper training ahead of time.

Although the cost of proper training may seem like an unnecessary expense, keep in mind that it is far less expensive compared to the cost of an accident. You could be held responsible if an accident occurs, meaning you could face detrimental expenses as a result.

You should also ensure that the operator is familiar with the crane's weight limits before they are allowed to operate the machinery. Have your workers document everything in detail, which includes the weight limitation of the crane in use and the total weight of the load in need of lifting. This will help you ensure that you have the right equipment to use for the job.

Speak with a professional crane manufacturer or provider, such as Winslow Crane Service Co. They can assist you in determining which crane will work best based on the type of job you are performing and the maximum weight limit of your onsite loads.

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