According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, construction crane accidents were responsible for more than 800 deaths nationwide in the last decade. Although cranes are generally safe, it’s possible for serious injuries and even fatalities to occur when overhead cranes are not inspected or properly used. However, situations like these can be avoided by following a few simple safety tips.
How to Limit Construction Crane Accidents
1) Create a Safety Plan
Work zone safety planning should begin before the even crane arrives on site. You should review important details, such as load weight capacities, the integrity of the equipment and the possible effects of the wind. When planning out the job, include all key team members, like the operator and the riggers of the lift.
It’s also imperative to recognize potential hazards that could impact safety conditions. The three most common problem areas are electrical hazards, overloading and falling materials.
2) Use a Certified Operator
A certified crane operator is always recommended, because crane accidents are often the result of the actions of poorly trained personnel. Professional, experienced operators will be able to increase safety with their ability to make calculations, like determining the weight of a load and the capacity of the crane.
The Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) requires all crane operators to have formal training. However, certification is only required for operators who use equipment with a maximum manufacturer-rated capacity of 2,000 pounds or less.
3) Inspect Equipment Carefully
First and foremost, every construction crane must have an annual inspection. Secondly, it’s helpful to check the crane’s operating functions, including its hoist and boom, on a daily basis to prevent potential problems.
4) Use Cranes Properly
Cranes are powerful machines, but some tasks, like side loading, are not recommended. Construction crews who use cranes for anything but vertical lifting risk damage to the crane.
Your team can also improve its safety by following these simple recommendations:
- Barricade off the crane’s swing radius
- Only allow authorized personnel in the immediate area
- Ensure there are no objects, like power lines, your crane could possibly strike
5) Communicate with your Team
Just like any construction job, clear communication improves crane safety. Although you may assume co-workers know their instructions, the use of air horns, hand signals or radios always helps prevent confusion. Whether the operator is lifting or lowering a heavy object, everyone needs to be aware of their roles and responsibilities.
While not every crane accident can be prevented, you can lower the chances by taking the necessary precautions to keep your team out of harm’s way.