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Overhead Crane Safety Tips

Almost 30% of fatal injuries in the construction industry involve the use of cranes. Review the following hazards and safety precautions to remain safe while working on or around these large machines.

Overhead Crane Safety Hazards

The three most common safety hazards are:

  1. Accidental contact with energized power lines
  2. Overloading crane capacity
  3. Materials falling

Take Safety Precautions During Crane Operation

Train employees who work around overhead cranes on all workplace safety precautions. To ensure a safe working environment, follow these guidelines when operating an overhead crane:

  • Move cranes into position when the area is free of workers
  • Position the crane so the boom or bucket doesn’t swing over workers
  • Post a traffic controller on crowded sites
  • Make sure boom stops are in place to keep the crane from flipping backward
  • Rope off or barricade the swing area of the crane and clearly mark it with warning signs
  • Shut off the power line current if possible and make repeated visual checks of your position in relation to power lines
  • Avoid raising the boom too high
  • Center the top block over the load to prevent load swinging
  • Make sure you have enough counterweight to prevent tipping
  • Position the boom to avoid long side-pulls and use tag lines to limit swinging when you move a load horizontally
  • Turn the crane slowly and smoothly to keep the boom from twisting
  • Use properly shored outriggers to prevent tilting, which can cause a side-bend in the boom
  • Rig hoisted materials to prevent unintentional displacement and use hooks with self-closing safety latches
  • Before workers move into the fall zone to handle a load, it must first be rigged by a qualified rigger
  • Avoid the quick release of a load on a near-vertical boom

Protect workers on the ground and complete overhead crane maintenance using these tips:

  • Inspect your crane daily, including the brakes, clutch, boom splices and braces
  • Stay out from under crane booms, buckets and suspended loads, and watch for falling objects
  • Wear a hard hat if you’re working anywhere near a crane
  • Wear gloves to protect your hands
  • Never enter a roped-off or barricaded area near a crane
  • Watch your hand and arm placement to prevent being pinched between the sling and the load or sling and the hook
  • Never attempt to adjust or turn a load while it’s suspended
  • Anticipate a crane’s swing radius when a lifting operation is taking place

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