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Working on a very busy construction site comes with many safety hazards. Whether you’re operating a crane, a bulldozer, or even a simple utility vehicle, the potential for a very serious accident is always a possibility.
On average there are 240 serious cases of crane accident claims in Australia every year. Whether you’re using your own machines or making use of the cranes Melbourne contractors can offer you, the safety rules remain the same. When it comes to operating cranes, there should never be any short cuts. The mantra of “safety first” should be the golden rule on any job site.
Steps to Ensure Crane Safety
Not only do crane accidents result in serious injuries to workers but they also cause costly equipment losses or damage to surrounding properties. There are however several steps that you can follow to safeguard workers, equipment and surroundings during any crane work process. Let’s discuss a few of these tips in a bit of detail.
Certified Crane Operators
The Australian Worksafe law requires any worker operating a crane to be trained and certified by a registered training organisation. After training is completed the necessary licenses can be obtained.
It’s important to ensure that all employees that will be operating the crane have the necessary training and licenses. An accident can occur because an untrained worker doesn’t know how to operate the crane or perform corrective actions when something appears to be going wrong.
It’s a good idea to have more than one employee trained in crane operation. That way you won’t be left in the lurch if your crane operator calls in sick. Don’t take a short cut and use an untrained person because you’re chasing a deadline.
You might be making use of the crane hire Melbourne contractors are offering. Perhaps you’ve purchased your own crane. Irrespective of which option applies to you, it’s critical to inspect each crane thoroughly before any planned use.
A few critical things to check include the following:
- Daily operating functions
- Latest service and maintenance records
- Make sure there are no worn or cracked pins, shafts, bearings, gears, and rollers
Assess the Surroundings
It’s not only important to check the crane but also the surroundings where it’ll be used. You have to assess the surface the crane will be standing and working on. Ensure that the ground can handle the weight of the crane load. The surface your crane is on needs to be stable.
Working on any unstable ground such as snow or excessive mud could cause the crane to be unstable and even potentially topple over. You can make use of outriggers to displace some of the weight and add some extra support.
Ensure that surrounding buildings and trees won’t cause any obstructions. The crane needs to be able to move around freely without the risk of hooking onto any overhead obstructions.
Plan the Work
Crane work is not something you do without any forethought. Plan the work in advance. Each crane lift is different and so are the risks. Consider the weather because wind can have a devastating effect on the swing of a load.
Review load capacities and ensure the crane you’re going to use will be able to lift, move and lower the load. Ensure the space around the crane as well as under the load is cleared and free of debris. It would be a good idea to clear a larger area, giving the crane operator space to get the load down safely.
Inform all workers of the planned crane operation. Have a spotter on the ground to keep workers away from the area where the load is being moved. A good idea would be to get an air horn to inform workers that the load is about to be moved or set down.
Communication is especially crucial when the load being moved obstructs the crane operator’s vision. Hand signals and radios are good options for the spotter to communicate with the crane operator. Clear and concise communication will ensure that the crane operator has total control of the lift process at all times.
Safety Rigging Equipment
Ensure that there’s a certified rigger on-site to check and test all of the safety equipment needed to perform the load safely. Certified riggers will make use of safety devices based on rigging capacity specified in the general rigging chart. That will make sure that the load limit is not exceeded. It’ll also minimise the risk of any slings breaking and accidently dropping the load.
Examples of the different types of rigging equipment that you might use include the following:
- Webbing slings
- Rope or chains
- Master links
A Final Thought on Crane Safety
Crane hire is often a more viable and cost-effective option for getting a machine for your job site. Certified contractors in Melbourne offers a wide variety of industry-certified cranes that will get any job done in no time! Once you have the crane on site, following our simple guidelines will ensure that everyone involved in the lift will be safe!