Sunday, June 1, 2014

Working around a mobile crane on a construction site

Safety: Proper Crane usage

Today’s construction industry is hyper sensitive when it comes to safety, not just general safety but all aspects of safety on and around the worksites. A workers safety today is more important than anything else that has to happen on a construction site.  Safety should be thought of before anything else when planning to erect anything.

Safety must be the first priority when using heavy equipment, heavy equipment such as Cranes.

Crane Safety and Proper Crane Safety Procedures

Cranes are very large and slow moving equipment and because of this require everyone on the worksite to understand what to do around them and what not to do around them. Safety training should be given to all employees’ that are onsite when a crane is working even if they are not directly interacting with it.

For workers that are working with the crane they should be given a training course on the proper procedures and signals to work with a crane. The person that is directly signalling the crane operator should be a competent individual that understands what they are doing and has the ability to stay alert at all times.

There are several things that you need to look out for when a crane is operating on a construction site, there are many things that can go wrong that can cause harm to workers;

Power lines. Power lines should be avoided at all costs. You must keep 10 ft away from power lines at a minimum all times when working with a crane, the higher the voltage of power lines the farther away you will need to stay.

12% of all accidents are from cranes tipping over, care and caution must be taken when cranes are lifting heavy loads or extending out a long way from the base.

Boom failure. If the machine is not well maintained or the weight is too great a boom on a crane can break. No one should ever stand directly under the boom.

Roll Over’s. When a crane is traveling or adjusting position it can be vulnerable to rolling over and workers must be kept clear of the area. Also if the operator fails to extend legs out to add support a roll over can take place because of the weight on the boom. 50 % of rollovers happen because the outriggers were not engaged.

Poorly compacted fill. Cranes need to be careful when setting up, if they are on fill that has not been compacted enough it can cause the crane to tip or roll over.

One of the key set ups for mobile cranes is there outriggers. They must set there outriggers on solid ground and have the crane body level, they also have to make sure that the outriggers left the crane body off the ground until the tires are not touching.

15% of accidents with cranes are from the rigging failing; slings, hooks or loads falling out of rigging.

15% of fatalities with cranes are from workers being struck by the loads or pulled off because of contact with the load.

7% of fatalities with cranes are from crushing, that means workers were caught between crane and carriage. When a crane swings the counter weight at the other end protrudes farther out from the tracks and can strike a worker if they are to close.

When communicating with a crane there are 6 main hand signals, these hand signals should be learned before anyone try’s to communicate with a crane. These signals should be learned even if you are communicating with the crane via radio, because sometimes the noise on a construction site does not allow for proper radio communication.

Before any slings, hooks or rigging is used it should be inspected by a supervisor and the crane operator to make sure that everything is working properly. Safety hooks and other safety straps need to be used at all times.

Remember that with a crane the weights that are being moved are unforgiving and dangerous and everyone must stay aware at all times.

Rob Abbott
Operations Manager
Village Builders Inc.

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