You might have watched those boring crane and hoist safety videos detailing measures that you believed were common sense. However, when it comes to operating heavy machinery such as cranes and hoists, safety is of the utmost importance. You can never be too safe because, without proper safety practices, you risk putting yourself, your equipment, and the welfare of others in jeopardy. This is the reason why you are required to go through days or weeks of training and even get licensed in all 50 states.
Employees working around heavy machinery such as cranes and hoists should have a basic knowledge of the safety standards associated with them. However, everyone could use a refresher course. Here are the top safety considerations for crane and hoist operators.
Safety Considerations for Hoist Use
Cranes and hoists are used to lift and move materials from one location to another. There are major hazards associated with crane and hoist use, so in all situations, precautions must be taken to ensure safety.
Never Skip Pre-operational Checks
Similarly to how a pilot does not take off without getting his plane checked, an operator should not begin working until a thorough inspection has been performed. If a hoist is not working properly, it is best to know before putting it to use so that it can be removed from service. The inspection includes some of the following:
- Checking hooks, ropes, brakes, and limit switches for damage daily.
- Checking the upper and lower hooks before lifting a load to check that they swivel
- Replacing items that are not operating properly
Use Appropriate Personal Protective Equipment
Before operating a hoist, operators should be equipped with proper protective gear. This includes safety boots, high visibility garments, hearing protection, head protection, and goggles. Each of these items is designed to protect you in the event of an accident. Construction sites are notoriously filled with potential hazards. There can be things flying and falling. The last thing you need is for dust or another irritant to get into your eyes in the middle of carrying a load. Personal protective equipment should be properly fitted and should not cause discomfort or limited mobility for the wearer.
Ensure the Safe Use of the Machinery
While using the hoist, it is imperative that overloading and poor rigging are avoided. In order to do this, operators should check the weight of the load before lifting to ensure that the load is under the hoist’s capacity. Operators should also be following these safe rigging procedures:
- Never lift people with a hoist
- Never lift a load over others
- When leaving the hoist unattended, land the attached loads
Safety Considerations for Crane Use
No matter the size or type of crane, all cranes present safety concerns that must be addressed in order to prevent injuries or fatalities.
Never Use Without a Qualified Operator
Operators of a crane should be qualified to do so. Not only should they have experience and knowledge about the equipment, but they also should also have significant background in the proper handling of the crane.
Cranes are not easy to use therefore, the person who is tasked with operating such complex machinery needs to have specialized knowledge in order to ensure safe operation.
Being attentive is a pivotal factor in operating a crane because everything in and around the machine will require your full attention. Distractions such as cellular devices can lead to unfortunate mishaps. Instead of using a cell phone, operators can use radios, air horns, and signal lights to communicate with those around them.
Make Sure the Operation Area Has Clear Visibility
Clutter is often a reason for workplace accidents. Although you cannot prevent some accidents from happening, something that you can do as a precaution is to ensure that there your working area is clear from obstacles and other people.
Cranes can be loud. Therefore, once you begin working, it can be difficult to hear your surroundings. For this reason, you might be too late if you run over something that you were not supposed to or place a load in the wrong place.
Ensure Adequate Work Time
Rushed work can be very dangerous when it comes to operating heavy machinery. Rushing through your work can cause an operator to forget essential safety precautions. Instead of rushing, the worker should ensure that there is enough time to complete a pre-operational inspection and complete all of their work without missing any crucial steps.
Why is Safety Important?
Health and safety are particularly important in construction because there are many opportunities for error. Reducing workplace injuries should be the goal of every organization because no one wants to see others get hurt, especially when it could have been prevented.
Construction can be a physically taxing job. Naturally, you want to produce the best results, but putting others and yourself in harm’s way has never been a strategy that worked. It is also important to remember that workers are not the only ones who can be placed in danger from a mishap. It is necessary that we remember the safety of the public as well. A common example is road construction. If workers do not follow the proper precautions and safety procedures, both the workers and drivers will be in danger.
Crane and hoist safety is a valid concern in the efforts to reduce accidents in the workplace. Taking the proper precautions could reduce occurrences of injuries in the workplace. We should never assume that someone should already knows these things. That could be the difference in a life-or-death situation.
Leading Crane and Hoist Services in St. Louis, MO
Shannahan Crane & Hoist offers the best crane and hoist solutions in St. Louis, MO. We also offer annual safety inspections, 24-hour emergency services through our Repair Program, as well as Operator Safety Training. If you’re looking for an industry-leading equipment provider for your growing material handling operations, please contact us today. You can also browse our website to see full lists of the equipment and services that we provide.