Crane Safety in the Spotlight
You may have seen recent news reports about the Dutch guy who came a cropper when proposing to his girlfriend. The hapless Romeo had worked out the perfect proposal plan that would impress his beloved so much that she wouldn’t refuse. However, things didn’t go to plan when the unnamed min in the town of Ijsselstein near Utrecht hired a crane to lift him up to his loved one’s window so he could serenade her before popping the question. Instead of impressing his girlfriend, he impressed her neighbours, and not in a good way! The crane was not secured and toppled over, smashing a hole in the roof of the house next door. This seriously happened and you can watch the video right now – it is SFW and doesn’t last long.
On a more serious note, if you work around cranes, then you’re sure to know that they are dangerous to work with or near. The dangers are usually due to poor maintenance, mishandling of equipment or lack of care by those working with or near cranes and lifting machines.
There are a number of legal requirements in the operation of cranes and lifting gear and these include:
- All parts must be of good construction, free from defects and properly maintained at all times
- Before a crane is used for the first time it should be examined and tested by a competent person and a certificate should be obtained specifying the safe working load.
- The safe working load (SWL) must be marked clearly on the crane and no crane should be loaded beyond its limit.
- No person is allowed to work on wheeltracks within 20 feet of a crane.
- No person is allowed to work under a crane where they may be struck.
- Every part of the crane must undergo a thorough examination every 12 months, more frequently if possible. A log must be kept detailing the tests, dates of examinations, defects found and measure taken to remedy them
- The crane operator (or owner) should carry out weekly inspections for defects and report any found immediately.
As mobile cranes have become more complex, drivers need a greater degree of skill nowadays. Crane drivers will need to undergo specialist training which should cover the following points:
- Controls – crane operators must be totally familiar with the controls of the crane.
- Signals – crane operators must know the code used in the workplace and understand that signals should be accepted only from the slinger responsible for the lift, except in cases of emergency when a stop signal is given.
- Misuse – crane operators must avoid shock loads, lifting loads they cannot see without a signaller and fast slewing.
- Ground – crane operators must be able to make a sound assessment of the grounds on which the crane is operating so that they are aware when there is a risk of overturning due to slope or subsidence.