Heavy Heights: Tackling Safety Issues Within Crane Operations
Cranes are unanimously, a core element of every construction project. Overhead and gantry cranes are machinery used to carry and transport heavy loads in many industries. With the rise in large-scale urban operations and magnificent sky scrapers outlining most developed nations, cranes have become a vital part of every construction firm. With this in mind, it is however necessary to understand the risks involved. As crane operations go up, so do the risk of injuries and fatalities of parties involved.
However, it’s a good thing that nearly 70% of these accidents can be preventable. With the right kind of training, procedures and co-operation among workers, every organization has the capability to carry out efficient crane operations. While tackling health and safety guidelines, it is also important to bear in mind local laws and regulations in order to avoid any complications. Usually, safety concerned with crane operations shouldn’t just be prioritized during the process, but at all times from; initiating the process to the aftermath.
Inspections and checks
Before initiating crane operations, it is important to consider conducting a few area and equipment checks. One must be absolutely certain that any mechanical failures are taken care of, and prior/regular maintenance is carried out. As part of on-going inspects, carrying out Human Error Identification assessments is a method being increasingly adopted world-wide. Human error is unavoidable, but somehow a large contributor to fatalities in crane operations. Thus, conducting a Human Error analysis can be a great addition to risk analysis of the operation. Often the nature of the task can vary in severity, in some cases, overhead operations also involve highly flammable and explosive items, by conducting an appropriate inspect of human error, a lot of these catastrophes can be avoided.
In addition to this, conducting prior area checks to identify any possible hazards in the vicinity of the operations should also be a part of the preventive measures taken.
Before the lift
The significance of an adequate lifting plan surmounts any exposure to accidents. The key role of taking out precautionary measures before the lift is that, it enables contractors and works to efficiently plan out the entire operation, and set up any contingencies when necessary. Having a clear plan or a schedule among workers leaves little time for delays and also minimizes human interaction if possible. In some cases, the use of telescopic cranes can be a great value for money, as they help reduce manual handling and exposure to workers.
Among some of the most obvious safety and health guidelines are ensuring the use safety wear or PPE, inspection soil or ground conditions, maintaining a safe working load (SWL). As per, commonly reinstated regulations, cranes must not used up to more than 75% of its capacity. Furthermore, the swinging radius must be barricaded, and persons involved must be limited. In terms of weather conditions, it is important to note any cases of rainy or windy days, and refrain from carrying out operations on that day. In the recent times, many organizations are making use of innovative safety devices in crane operations that improve machine-user interactions, and give detailed visual reports to the user in the form of smart technology. Studies conducted by Basel (2021), have indicated that this in fact, improves safety conditions and awareness within the job site.
The operations carried out after the lift, are just as important and significant as before and during the lift. It is important to document the process and any concerns during the lift and reported to the manufacturers. By doing so, it leaves room for proper maintenance and preventing any serious accidents in the future. The next best thing to having safety guidelines is having safety awareness. When employers are in a proactive mode, rather than a reactive one, there are much more likely to prevent accidents and creating a better and safer working zone.