Any industry, be it construction or warehousing, requires some amount of heavy machinery for its regular operations. But with heavy machinery comes great risk. Among the common heavy machines, the lorry crane is one of the most widely used and commonly available heavy machines. Its primary purpose is for material handling. These cranes have resulted in significant increase in productivity; however, they do come with a high risk of accidents and hazards.
Crane accidents can have various causes and can lead to severe injuries, as well as deaths. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, these causes include overhead electrocution, getting hit by crane parts such as loads or booms, crane collapses, and falling from cranes as some of the common causes of deaths. Most affected by these accidents are the construction workers, followed by machinery and crane operators. It is therefore important to take certain precautions while working, to prevent these accidents from occurring and reducing the risk exposure of the workers.
Here are some precautions that should be taken which can prevent these accidents, and can help reduce this risk.
While laws in most countries exist with respect to workplace safety, and strict enforcement of these laws is ensured, many construction companies tend to find loopholes in order to reduce their costs. These laws particularly call for the use of safety equipment. It must be ensured that the equipment is used properly and that it is up to date and well-maintained.
A lack of pre-job planning is one of the reasons for cranes to come into contact with power lines, resulting in electrocutions. Due to a large number of people involved in the process, pre-job planning is essential because it can prevent these accidents, by visual guidance, and through better planning.
Any forklift or lorry crane operator should be careful about the load they are putting on the crane. Training is usually given with particular instructions about overloading these cranes. Unbalanced load, prevention of swings, loading more than the capacity, and dropping the load suddenly can cause the crane to overload and result in the crane collapsing or turning over. The appropriate precautions to prevent this include proper supervision and training of employees to ensure that these risks are minimised.
Knowing your ground conditions, and ensuring the structure of the construction area is strong enough is essential. It is imperative to understand the conditions before allowing for heavy machinery to be set up, because in case the ground is soft and unable to support the weight, cranes overturn, and may even collapse.
Communicating with other workers on the ground can be essential for the prevention of accidents. In high-tech environments, radios and cameras can come in handy for this purpose, to accurately maneuver the crane. Even in regular environments, air horns and hand signals can help establish communications for the guidance of the crane operator.
Keeping in mind these precautions as a checklist, and following the recommendations as well as any laws and regulations pertaining to safety laws and regulations can help effectively curb the dangers of crane hazards.