Overhead cranes are used in a variety of industries to accomplish all sorts of tasks. They may be used in the construction of buildings, bridges, and all manner of structures or they can be used to move large, heavy objects around shipping yards, including onto and off of boats, trucks, and other means of transportation. And they are often employed when other means of lifting and moving such items simply won’t meet the needs of a business. However, as with all heavy machinery, overhead cranes can pose a danger to operators and bystanders when they are not properly used, with safety in mind. It is the responsibility of the driver to ensure that no one comes to harm, either directly or indirectly, as a result of using an overhead crane. Here are just a few safety tips that every crane operator should practice in order to avoid accident and injury.
- Understand load capacity. Every piece of heavy machinery is rated for maximum loads, and you need to have a precise understanding of the weight your equipment is able to bear. This may require you to calculate specific weights for any load you plan to move with your crane. Even if you’re under pressure to accomplish tasks in a quick and efficient manner, you’ll likely get in a lot more trouble if you drop a load, damage your crane, or put others at risk because you failed to take the time to correctly calculate the weight of the load or you decided to overload the machinery for the sake of expedience.
- Check clearance. Ideally, you’ll operate the crane in a wide-open space without having to navigate around obstacles like buildings, trees, vehicles, other cranes, and so on. But even if that is the case, you’ll still have to take care in how you pick up, move, and place objects so that you don’t damage them or the surfaces around them, not to mention any other workers in the vicinity. For this reason it’s important to pre-plan your route and execution, ensuring the greatest level of safety every time you operate an overhead crane.
- Routine inspections. Submitting to routine inspections is a must when it comes to practicing proper safety. On the part of the driver, in particular, this could include daily checks of chains and hooks, operating mechanisms, and hydraulic parts to make sure that everything appears to be in ship shape before operation, as well as monthly (or possibly more frequent) inspections of the entire rig to check for wear, tear, or potential malfunctions. However, official inspections are also required periodically, including signatures affirming that the equipment is fit for use.
- Regular maintenance. Although most crane operators are not required to carry out maintenance on their equipment, they are responsible for safe operations, and therefor need to make sure that any problems do not get out of hand. They must therefore report any issues that arise immediately, as well as keep track of scheduled maintenance to ensure that their equipment is in good condition and ready to perform.
- Follow operating instructions. There is only one person responsible for the safe operation of an overhead crane, and that is the driver. Whether you buy your cranes from Bigge Los Angeles or rent them, the buck stops with the operator, so if you fail to follow instructions to the letter and there is an accident as a result, you’re the one who could lose a job or end up on the hook for damages. It is therefore in your best interest to be well aware of operating instructions and safety mandates so that you do all that you can to ensure the welfare of yourself and your coworkers, as well as avoid damaging your cargo and any surrounding structures.