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6 OSHA Crane Safety Tips

6 OSHA Crane Safety Tips

Cranes are incredibly useful pieces of machinery, allowing for the transportation of weighty materials to heights and levels, which would be impossible for workers to ever perform by hand. 

However, when operating a crane, one of the most important things to remember is that you are controlling a very large piece of equipment that can cause great damage if used irresponsibly and incorrectly.

With this in mind, before operating a crane, you need to consider all possible safety concerns and ensure that these potential dangers are properly prevented. After all, as much as it can sometimes cost to have a project delayed, it is much more costly to have a project destroyed by reckless machinery usage.

Six Essential Crane Safety Tips To Help Keep You OSHA-Compliant

Crane operations on all job sites, from construction to manufacturing, have a specific set of safety rules in place by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). These guidelines ensure safe and healthful working conditions for workers by setting and enforcing standards and providing training.

To help make sure your crane operation is conducted in the safest way possible, we’ve provided six safety concerns you should keep in mind before you even begin operating a crane. Being prepared to tackle a project requiring a crane in advance can help keep your workers safe, timelines on schedule, and keep you OSHA compliant.

1) Provide Correct Personal Protective Equipment To All Personnel

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is essential to any work site safety plan. PPE goes beyond making sure workers are wearing hard hats or appropriate footwear. 

Environmental hazards like noise levels slowly become hazardous to workers. Ensure your personnel are provided with the appropriate PPE and are instructed on the proper use of PPE, including:

  • Ear plugs or hearing protection
  • Protective gloves, hats, and boots
  • Face shields or goggles
  • Masks and respiratory protection

2) Perform Frequent Site Hazard Analysis For High-Risk Hazards

Electrocution is one of the most common types of injuries across construction sites. It is important to note all the dangers on a work site, and high-voltage lines are no exception

The minimum clearance for any power line is ten feet, but the higher the voltage, the greater the clearance required. It is best to set cranes where they have no possibility, even when fully extended, of coming into contact with the power line. For most construction sites, that ideal may be impossible. Safe operation then relies on your operating personnel.

Management should perform daily risk and site hazard analyses to ensure that cranes operate within OSHA regulations. And it is always better to treat every power line as if it is fully powered and uninsulated.

3) Plan Appropriately For Weather Conditions

Construction is a year-round affair, meaning crews and machines are often required to work through less-than-ideal conditions. Severe storms, winds, or rain can often pop up with little notice throughout the year, exponentially increasing the risk of damage or injury on work sites.

The oncoming seasons of winter's adverse weather make your safety processes even more important. The three main components of inclement winter weather are low temperatures, high winds, and freezing precipitation. Even if you are only facing one at a time, extra care needs to be taken to operate a crane in winter safely.

4) Know Your Machine’s Limits And Avoid Risky Lifts

Every crane has a limit on the amount of weight it can lift; it is crucial these limits are taken into account before usage commences. Familiarize yourself with the crane you are using and be aware of the lift limit for that crane.

One of the biggest dangers involving cranes is the possibility of the load falling. This can happen for many reasons, but the most common causes are improper weight balance, damaged or incorrectly attached weight lines or taglines, and exceeded weight limits.

5) Prepare The Worksite For Crane Placement

Before operating a crane onsite, you need to look at the area where it will be working. OSHA standards for crane operation lay out numerous hazards to look out for and what precautions to take. Site issues can be part of the site’s terrain or manufactured hazards. Your site supervisor should ensure the area for the crane is prepared correctly for delivery, assembly, and operation.

Cranes should sit on firm ground that has been graded and drained for stability. While outriggers add significant balance, they cannot compensate for overly rough or unstable terrain underneath the crane. An unstable setting may cause a crane to tip over. Ensure your outrigger and crane are stable by checking the following:

  • Outriggers are extended following the manufacturer's specifications.
  • Support materials have been placed under the crane and outriggers to prevent sinking during lifts.
  • The ground has not been compromised by weather or ongoing construction.
  • Crane maintenance is checked regularly and repaired when needed.

6) Maintain Good Communication

Your operator might be in a fixed position, but it can be challenging to see the entirety of the surrounding area. They’ll need spotters for when they are moving materials so that they don’t risk hitting people or structures and can be told immediately if the balance begins to shift. 

When performing a lift, ensure that:

  • Safety zones are maintained.
  • There are open lines of communication between the operator and signalers.
  • The lift plan is always followed; if it needs to change, the lift doesn’t proceed.

Any workers near a crane on the site should be informed when a lift is occurring so they can stay out of harm’s way. All workers need to be versed in proper OSHA hand signals to ensure there is no confusion when the machinery is actually being operated.

Comprehensive, Safe Crane Rental Year Round

You need to know that you can rely on the equipment on site. Poorly maintained equipment can put project deadlines and personnel safety at risk. If you are in the market for a crane rental company for a residential, commercial, or telecommunications project in the southeast, pick a company you can trust.

The best tools for operating a crane safely are experience, communication, and proper training. With over 40 years of moving and using cranes, Parker’s Crane Service has the expertise you need for safe, reliable crane operations, no matter the job site or weather.

We pride ourselves on safety and our Zero Accident Philosophy and conduct many detailed safety measures when performing a job to ensure that no project carries unnecessary risk. We perform the following for every single job we take:

  • Pre-lift Job Assessments
  • Daily Risk Assessments
  • On-Site Hazard Analysis
  • Routine Management Audits

With a fleet of well-maintained hydraulic truck cranes, we offer not only the best equipment but can also help with site installation, maintenance, and operation. Our crew is OSHA and MSHA-compliant to ensure your site and crew safety.

Parker's Crane provides quality crane rental, rigging, and heavy hauling services throughout the Carolinas and the East Coast. Contact us if you would like to discuss your needs and whether or not our services and equipment will work for your construction project. We provide free on-site quotes and evaluations.