Having a detailed crane safety program in the workplace is an important step for all employers where cranes are used. This can start by identifying potential crane related hazards, and continues with finding ways to eliminate the hazards, or compensate for them in some way.
All workplace safety is important, but crane safety in particular is critical because of how devastating accidents related to cranes can be. The following are some key areas that should be included with any good crane safety plan.
Common Crane Hazards
Crane operators, and those working around them, should be taught what the most common crane hazards are. Being aware of these risks will help ensure that everyone is watching out for them, and taking steps to avoid them whenever possible. The following are some of the hazards that all crane safety plans should take into account because of how frequently they can occur, and how serious they can be:
Cranes operate at great heights, which puts them in a terrible position for accidently hitting electrical lines. The metal in the crane is an excellent conductor, and can cause fatal electrocution. Crane operators must be aware of where every electrical line is at all times.
Every load that a crane lifts needs to be properly secured. But even when the loads are secured, there is always a risk of something falling off. Those below the crane should avoid working in the area, and wear hard hats and other appropriate PPE when it is unavoidable.
Overloading a Crane
Cranes can lift an astounding amount of weight, but there are limits. Crane operators, and those that load cranes, need to know precisely how much weight it can handle, and exactly how much weight they have added at any given time. Overloading a crane can cause it to tip over, or to drop the load, which can have devastating consequences.
Crane Movement (pinch points)
Cranes often need to twist or move to get the load where it needs to go. This can create pinch or crush points where someone could be seriously injured.
If a crane drops its load, whatever is under it will be crushed. Even vehicles or structures can be crushed from the impact of a heavy load dropped from a significant height. Nobody should work directly under a crane load for any reason, even with PPE.