Across manufacturing and construction industries, overhead cranes play a crucial role in helping many companies lift and transport material in order to realize their projects. Ideally serving to make the job of workers much easier and safer, it is critical that these systems are installed properly and used with caution.
Unfortunately, it is still the case that overhead cranes cause serious injuries and several fatalities every year. In order to avoid these tragedies, it is necessary that anyone working within close proximity to an overhead crane has the proper training they need to identity potential hazards.
Remember these eight overhead crane safety tips to avoid accidents:
Tip #1: Avoid common overhead crane safety hazards
The data on workplace accidents points to three main categories that result in most overhead crane-related injuries. These include electrical hazards, overloading, and falling materials. Another factor that contributes to many of the recorded accidents is also a lack of training or qualification.
In addition to ensuring that everyone who might potentially be operating an overhead crane is probably trained to do so, it is a good idea for staff and management to familiarize themselves with some of the key risks. You should also invest in the proper industrial equipment that can be relied upon. Crane attachments are absolutely necessary in order to protect the safety of everyone in the area.
Tip #2: Avoid electrical hazards
When it comes to overhead crane safety, reports suggest that upwards of 50 percent of overhead crane accidents happen because the machine encounters a power source while it is being used. Typically, this contact occurs because the crane is moving material within the vicinity of an energized power line and the operator does not take necessary precautions or is not fully informed.
This can result in the person operating the crane being electrocuted but can also pose a danger to other nearby. In order to avoid any accidents, it is crucial that hazardous areas are clearly marked off as danger zones and that anyone operating machinery within the area is fully aware of exactly where all potential risks are located. It is also a good idea to have support assistants available to help visually confirm that any necessary clearance is being maintained.
Tip #3: Avoid overloading hazards
Another common cause of overhead crane incident is overloading, which happens when the load exceeds the crane’s operational capacity. The problem with this one is that damage may be done when overloading that doesn’t fully appear until later, meaning that even if the current operator is following the recommended capacity, their load could still end up swinging or being suddenly dropped due to damage caused by previous overloading. Unfortunately,
overloading in generally the result of inadequately trained personnel being allowed to operate cranes. Although, it can also happen when experienced operators think they can trust instinct to tell them if they load is too heavy. Technological tools are now used on many work sites to make sure weight can be measured quickly and accurately.
Tip #4: Avoid falling material hazards
As you can likely imagine, the risk of material falling from overhead is a risk on pretty much any construction site, but definitely one where overhead cranes are in operation. From mechanical failure or slipping, to visual impairment of operator incompetency, these small mistakes can have serious, if not fatal, consequences.
Lack of maintenance is probably the biggest factor that these incidents occur, outside of human error. It really cannot be overstated how importance regular maintenance is when it comes to heavy machinery. Below you’ll find some addition safety tips that can help ensure everything runs smoothly when operating an overhead crane.
Tip #5: Inspect crane before use
Before using any kind of heavy machinery, it is also important to confirm it has appropriate travel, lift, and capacity for the upcoming task. Once the appropriate requirements have been established, the crane should also be visually checked for any unusual damage or wear, and full operation of all functions should be manually tested.
Tip #6: Confirm and select slings
In addition to double-checking the load weigh and equipment capacity of both the crane itself and any additional hardware, rope or slings, it is also important to make sure that the right sling is selected for each lift. No damaged or defective slings should be used, and everyone should agree about the conditions of the overhead crane safety.
Tip #7: Ensure safety communication
It is also important that the crane operator and anyone working in the surrounding area have a set of agreed upon signals that they can use to communicate once the job is underway. With the exception of the agreed upon stop signal, the crane operator should follow instructions from only one designated signaler throughout the entire execution of the job. It is crucial to eliminate ambiguity wherever possible.
Tip #8: Alert everyone in the surrounding area
All personnel currently working in the area should also be notified before the lift starts. The path needs to be cleared of any persons and obstructions, and the loads should never be carried over top of anyone.