The Dangers of Heavy Lifting with Cranes
In this article we cover some of the best ‘top tips’ when using cranes for lifting heavy loads. Firstly the most important tip to remember is – Safety is paramount!
Extend extra care not carelessness
For any kind of lifting due care and consideration of risks should never be disregarded; as loads increase so to do the risks and level of care required to manage safely with crane operation being one of the most precarious examples.
Heavy lifting operations are considered to be complex for a reason and will require specialist safe systems of work to be introduced in order to maintain the safety of people, equipment and property.
BS7121 safe use of cranes is an approved code of practice to ensure safe complex heavy lifting operations using cranes.
The following category of competent persons need to be employed to ensure that safe heavy lifting operations can be carried out such as;
- Appointed person.
- Crane operator.
- Crane supervisor.
Safe systems of work
The following safe systems of work must be in place prior to carrying out any lifting operation.
- Pre-site inspection – Ground stability conditions / access / egress, weather conditions ECT.
- Suitable cranes – Lifting accessories.
- Pre-Inspection of the lifting equipment / testing / examination / certification.
- Risk assessment / method statement.
- Lift plan.
- Competent lifting team trained to BS7121 / Construction Plant Competence Scheme standards
General tips for crane operation
Additionally, a few key points always worth keeping in mind during crane operation:
- Once a load is in the air, don’t leave the controls – While a load is suspended the operator should not leave the controls.
- Stay focused, stay on task – An operator should never multitask to fulfil other roles such as signalling or heed distractions such as a mobile phone.
- Stop means STOP – If an emergency stop signal is given the operator should do so regardless of who gives it.
- Keep it clear – Heavy loads should never be moved directly over people and all nearby personnel should be kept clear of areas they may be hit should it swing, shift or fall.
- Look around you – A broad awareness of surroundings should be maintained at all times with specific attention given to overhead hazards such as power lines and potentially dangerous weather conditions warranting suspension of operations.
Want to know more?
Kai Young CMIOSH