Overhead Crane Safety Tips
“With great power, comes great responsibility” – Voltaire.
In the operation and maintenance of overhead cranes there is no margin for error; the slightest mistake or miscalculation could translate to life or death. When overhead cranes are not properly inspected or operated there exists a very real risk of workplace injury and even fatality. Workers being hit by moving loads or being pinched between loads and fixed surfaces are the leading causes of overhead crane related injuries and fatalities in the workplace. Some overall workplace safety tips for overhead crane operating employees include:
Do not engage in any potentially distracting activities while operating an overhead crane; this could include but isn’t limited to, actions such as listening to music on a portable device or chewing gum depending on the employee’s training and confidence level.
- Clear a path
Before lifting or moving any load it is the responsibility of the overhead crane operator as well as ground personnel to ensure there are no employees inhabiting the pathway above which the load will travel.
- Err on the side of caution
It is best to lift a load only marginally at first to ensure all systems are functioning correctly, rather than losing control of a load at a great height. Similarly it is in the best interest of workplace safety to lift and transfer loads with caution, being wary of quick changes in direction, especially without warning, as well as lifting or lowering a load at speed.
It is the responsibility of overhead crane operators to ensure that adequate warning systems are in place to alert ground staff to the status of operation of the overhead crane. Whether this is via direct communication with ground staff via walky-talkies or by warning systems technology integrated into the overhead crane model it is imperative to workplace safety that all employees are educated in overhead crane safety protocols and that all employees know what given warning signals mean.
- Driving without a license
In the same way that driving a motor vehicle without a valid license is a punishable offence, so is operating machinery for which you do not hold the relevant qualifications. In the interest of workplace safety and ethical practice; do not allow unqualified individuals to operate any heavy machinery.