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Seven Safety Concerns When Operating a Crane

Seven Safety Concerns When Operating a Crane

Cranes are incredibly useful pieces of machinery, allowing for the transportation of extremely heavy 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 is able to cause a great deal of damage if used irresponsibly and incorrectly (here are just a few examples). 


With this in mind, before operating a crane, you need to consider all possible safety concerns and should be certain that all of 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 usage of machinery (which is often quite easily prevented!). 


Even more important than costly damages is the great risk to human life that is posed through improper crane use. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, from 2011-2017, there was an average of 42 deaths a year involving cranes. No project is worth someone’s life, so it is critical that you familiarize yourself with all safety concerns involving cranes before you make use of one.

To help make sure your operation is conducted in the safest way possible, below we’ve provided seven safety concerns you should keep in mind before you begin operating a crane.

Seven Crane-Related Safety Concerns 

1) Lack of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

As mentioned previously, a disheartening amount of individuals die every year from accidents involving cranes. To help prevent these needless deaths, it is vital that the operator be wearing all layers of PPE before ever getting behind the controls of a crane. 

Keep in mind that if the crane work is being conducted by an employee of a company, the employer is required to distribute this PPE at no cost to the employee

2) Exceeding Lift Limits

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

You’ll also need to estimate the amount of weight you are lifting in order to confirm that this does not exceed the limit of your crane.

3) Faulty Load Attachment

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 due to improper weight balance, damaged or incorrectly attached weight lines or taglines, exceeded weight limits (which we’ve already discussed), and two-blocking (which can occur if the operator does not provide enough slack when extending the boom, causing the lines to snap due to the excess amount of tension). 

4) Equipment Malfunction

Going along with the previous danger, a crane operator must always be aware of the various safety features included on a crane to prevent damage to equipment and persons. Never even turn on the crane until all safety measures and devices are in place!

5) Employees Struck by Loads

OSHA identifies being struck by equipment as one of the four most common causes of construction fatalities. If equipment is transferred via crane too quickly, the operator will not be able to control the swing of the load, as well as properly survey the dropzone in order to make sure that it is fully cleared. 

With all this in mind, the operator must be incredibly careful when moving the load from one zone to another. 

6) Site Hazards

Another one of OSHA’s four most common construction fatalities is electrocution. As cranes often reach great heights, there are huge risks in coming into contact with power lines and other exposed sources of electricity. 

Before actually doing any work on a site, a crane operator should make sure to survey the entire site to make sure that there are no possible hazards that could come into contact with equipment, either above ground or below it!

7) Issues With Transportation

A final danger to remember is the risk involved with transporting the crane itself. It is a sad reality that a large number of crane fatalities occur during the transportation process. 

As cranes are such heavy pieces of equipment, if they are not properly stowed and transported, they can burn out brakes and cause vehicle tipping. To avoid crane transportation issues, great caution must be taken when moving a crane. We have a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to crane safety.

With all of these dangers present, it is vital that these pieces of machinery be operated with great care and caution. At Parker’s Crane Service, we are more than happy to provide the cranes, as well as quality personnel who are OSHA-certified and have a great deal of experience in safely operating this specialty equipment. 

If you’re interested in obtaining a crane for your upcoming project, contact Parker’s Crane Service for more information about our cranes, crane rentals, and qualified operators!