Cranes are a valuable items of equipment on many construction projects. They are used to lift heavy material and equipment. Offloading items from delivery trucks, then placing them in position, sometimes up on towering buildings. Cranes allow for prefabricated and modular sections to be positioned in place - often speeding up construction. Many projects would not be possible without using cranes, or would certainly require lots more effort and time to complete.
Unfortunately there are many accidents each year involving cranes. Most of these could be avoided if those using the cranes took better care. Below are a few pertinent and important points to consider when employing cranes on your construction project.
There is other lifting equipment such as forklifts, telehandlers, etc, which are also commonly used to lift and transport material around construction projects. These can also prove deadly when they over topple, or when loads are not properly secured.
Crane accidents result in:
Safety tips for cranes
The incorrect use of cranes and lifting equipment is often the cause of serious accidents. Lifting equipment must always have the outriggers fully deployed and the outriggers must be on firm ground and not near the edges of excavations. The outriggers should be on sturdy boards or beams to distribute the load. Cranes should never lift loads that are heavier, or at a greater reach, than their rated capacity. Always know the weight of heavy loads and ensure these are within the capabilities of the crane. The crane operator should not be overruled or forced to lift a load that they’re uncomfortable of lifting (if in doubt check with an expert). Cranes should never be used in gusty or windy conditions, nor should they be deployed when there’s lightning. Loads should never be lifted over people. Many a time loads have broken free and come crashing down to the ground. Anyone below could be fatally injured if this happens.
(Read crane company charged over crane collapse)
Always take extreme care when cranes are working in close proximity to structures or other cranes.
(Read: Buildings evacuated as crane smashes into office tower)
Cranes should never work near overhead live electrical cables. Coming in contact, or indeed even within a couple of metres, of live high voltage cables could result in a fatal accident, damage to the crane and a power outage.
(Read fatal accident when crane touches powerlines)
Items being lifted by the crane must always be properly secured. Loads should be balanced so they can’t topple over. Large loads and loads being manoeuvred in tight spaces should have tag lines attached so they can be safely guided into position by workers, who should never stand directly under the load. Workers holding tag lines must take care that swinging loads don’t pull them off buildings or into excavations.
(Read: 6 workers injured when crane drops reinforcing bars
and Death under load of scaffold)
Failure of a sling will result in the load being dropped, where it could cause serious damage to equipment and structures below and fatally injure people. (Read Pressure washer plunges 29 floors) In addition the loss of a heavy load has often resulted in the crane boom swinging back so rapidly that it’s caused the boom to break and even the crane to topple over.
Slings must always be properly secured to the crane hook and to the load in such a manner that they can’t accidently come loose. Crane hooks should be checked for cracks and deformation. Hooks have opened while lifting heavy loads, resulting in the load falling to the ground. Hooks should have working safety catches which prevent the lifting slings from accidently falling off.
Slings (chains, straps and cables) are of different load ratings. Always ensure that slings are rated for the weight being lifted. Slings must be checked regularly for wear, damage and deformities. Damaged slings must be clearly marked as nonconforming and removed from the project site so they aren’t accidently used. Multi-leg slings must be fixed in such a way that the legs are as close to vertical as possible, and not at an angle greater than 30 degrees from the vertical – the more horizontal the leg the greater the stress created in the sling, which could mean that the stress exceeds what the sling can carry, causing it to break.
Slings must always be stored where they won’t be damaged by other equipment and where they won’t become muddy and dirty.
Working with cranes
Cranes are an indispensable part of many construction projects.
Cranes are expensive to hire so they should be effectively utilized to minimize time and cost.
Regrettably, there are many crane accidents each year, which cause, injury, loss of life, and damage to structures and other equipment. With proper care cranes are valuable tools which can be safely used.
#constructionmanagement #constructionprojectmanagement #constructionequipment
Other useful articles
Become Great at Hiring Equipment for Your Construction Project
The Alarming Truth about Using Old Construction Equipment
Construction Equipment Productivity
This article is an extract from the book 'The Successful Construction Supervisor and Foreman'.
© 2021 This article is not to be reproduced for commercial purposes without written permission from the author.
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