Cranes do most of the heavy lifting in industrial and construction workspaces — literally. They’re some of the most essential equipment found in any production facility, job site or logistics hub. Multiple industries count on them to perform important tasks and keep businesses productive. As such, cranes have become a fact of life for many workers.
Yet even though they’re a constant presence in the workplace and we may take them for granted, that doesn’t mean we can ignore the dangers they pose. When operated with a focus on safety, cranes are vital pieces of equipment. When they’re used carelessly, they can be a serious hazard to people and property. The majority of accidents in the workplace could have been prevented. With that in mind, here are the top five crane safety tips to help you avoid disastrous incidents in your workplace.
1. Ensure crane equipment is only operated by qualified workers with the proper certifications and hours training on the equipment.
Complex, heavy machinery requires specialized knowledge to operate safely. That’s why an important element of crane lifting safety is confirming that employees who use it have the right expertise. Operators not only must know the equipment inside and out, but they also need to be well-versed in all of the proper safety procedures. These include knowing the appropriate hand signals.
2. Inspect both the equipment and the load before operation of lifting equipment.
Operators must take a close look at their equipment before lifting. For example, visually checking cables and booms for any cracks or other signs of wear. If equipment appears to be damaged or worn, it must be taken out of service and repaired. Additionally, the loads should be inspected to guarantee they are properly secured. Confirming that the load does not exceed the limits of the equipment also is crucial for crane operation safety.
3. Ensure ground workers are clear of the crane operation area and are nowhere beneath the load while the equipment is being operated.
A safe worksite is everyone’s responsibility. Workers on the ground should be reminded frequently to keep a safe perimeter around cranes at all times. This is one precaution that needs to be reinforced at daily safety briefings. Planning lifting operations well in advance also means the area will be clear of people at the designated time.
4. Ensure adequate time has been allocated for use of the crane to avoid rushing the task/project.
A common cause of accidents is carelessness. This frequently stems from workers who are trying to cut corners and rush through their tasks. It is critical to plan operations so operators will have enough time to thoroughly inspect equipment and follow proper safety procedures.
5. Review safety checklists or cards before operating the crane.
Because cranes can be so complicated, it’s easy for certain procedures to be forgotten. That is why it is necessary to provide all employees with cards or checklists detailing safety protocols. This is imperative not only for crane operators, but also for all other workers on the job site. Employees should be encouraged to review the safety cards before they begin every shift. These checklists should be posted in prominent locations around the job site, as well as provided to everyone there.
Cranes are a constant presence in most industrial or construction contexts. This means the right safety measures should be just as ubiquitous. Without a focus on safe operation, any type of heavy equipment can become more of a liability than a benefit. Follow the tips above to operate your cranes as safely and productively as possible.