defines ground conditions as the ability of the ground to support the equipment (including slope, compaction, and firmness). This guideline goes on to state that the equipment must not be assembled or used unless ground conditions are firm, drained, and graded to a sufficient extent so that, in conjunction (if necessary) with the use of supporting materials, the equipment manufacturer’s specifications for adequate support and degree of level of the equipment are met. One point to also note is that 1926.1402 also puts the responsibility of ground conditions on the controlling entity. If there is no controlling entity, ground condition requirements must then be met by the employer that has authority to make or arrange for ground preparations needed for safe operation of the crane.
Another important role performed by the controlling entity is to inform the operator and the user of the crane of hazards that could be underneath the crane. Examples are voids, utilities (piping, sewer lines, etc.) or underground parking garages. Not knowing the locations of these hazards can cause serious injuries.
Although the controlling entity has the responsibility for ground conditions, if the crane operator believes the current ground conditions are not safe for operation, he or she has the authority to halt the current lift until a qualified person states otherwise. (OSHA 1926.1418)
Always think safety before performing any lift, no matter the size or object. Remember ground conditions are just as important as any other factor while on the job site.