“Get over the idea that only children should spend their time in study. Be a student so long as you still have something to learn, and this will mean all your life”. ~Henry L. Doherty. Safety is so important in our industry, and we must never stop learning or get to a state of mind where we feel we don’t the need to ‘refresh’ our minds on what has become second nature for many of us. In the area of safety, a mental lapse could cost us our life or the life of a team member. Many crane accidents can be avoided before we leave the yard. We also need to be prepared ahead of a job so we know what we need to do once we arrive on-site.
According to OSHA, fatalities and serious injuries can occur if cranes are not inspected and used properly. Many fatalities can occur when the crane boom, load line or load contacts power lines and shorts electricity to ground. Other incidents happen when the load strikes workers, workers are caught inside the swing radius or fail to assemble/ disassembles the crane properly. Proper safety practices are essential to ensure the operator and all crewmembers are safe from start to finish on a job site. Safety is of utmost importance and the guidelines should be reviewed on a regular basis. Before you lift, make sure you:
1. Know the load
a. Weight of the item being lifted
b. Know the center of gravity
c. Load Composition/Considerations
1. Additional weight
2. Potential Movement of Load
ii. Components of Load
1. Number of pieces
2. Pieces properly attached
iii. Structural integrity of load
1. Lifting Points properly positioned and adequate
2. Consider the need to use a spreader bar
Encourage all workers to be particularly vigilant around electricity and overhead power lines, as this is a continuing area of concern. Contact with High Voltage lines is the leading cause of death when working around cranes. Lightning in Central Florida is also of great concern when operating or working around cranes.
Another area of risk is falling material. Be vigilant when loads are swung overhead. Confirm you have qualified riggers and proper rigging materials. Take care that all understand the importance of wearing the right P.P.E. and high visibility clothing.
Environment Concerns are in important issue in Florida, particularly in the summer. Winds and rain are a common occurrence and we need to be prepared to take the proper safety steps and make educated decisions as we proceed with projects. We need to verify that we account for:
a. No more than 20 MPH or manufacturer’s recommendation
b. Consider added surface area of load when considering speed
a. Operator must be able to see load to landing site or be under direction of rigger (voice or eye contact)
3. Added weight-considerations from:
Many workers have suffered severe injuries to the hands and/or amputations when
Caught underneath a load. Know the simple ways to reduce these injuries.
Crane Configuration and Set-Up
1. Solid ground or adequate matting
2. Level-within 1%
a. Barge work has special considerations and load charts
i. Crane is secure on barge
ii. Listing is within the acceptable limits
3. Proper counterweight configuration and secure placement
4. Proper Out rigging placement with pads or dunnage
5. Protected Swing Radius
6. Secure Landing Area, proper rigging and movement of load
7. Load Moment Indicator (LMI) properly used
a. All operator aids working properly
Last but not least, Tower Crane Awareness
Tower cranes are an important part aspect of high-rise construction. This equipment operates high overhead, so be alert and understand the signals. Operators are very dependent upon communications and many times; they are lifting in the blind.
Make sure your project perimeters secured to prevent unauthorized persons from entering your site. Make sure the perimeter secured to prevent persons from walking underneath a lift or overhead hazard. Lightning is also a critical factor to be aware of. Tower cranes are natural lightning rods and workers can be exposed when
Make certain you are aware of who knows the equipment, if the operator is inspecting the tower every day, and know where all documentation is. At height, the wind becomes and issue and swinging loads may require additional planning or stoppage altogether. Adjacent structures – swinging loads over streets, sidewalks and buildings must be carefully planned or avoided if possible.