Shannahan Crane & Hoist

The Importance of Quality Crane Training

Crane accidents are a serious matter.

The sheer size and weight of the equipment involved mean that half of them with injuries end in death. At least 90 percent are the result of human error, the most common of which is operators exceeding the crane’s operational capacity.

Proper crane training should mean your operators know their machines and safety protocols inside and out. The impact on crane safety and risk reduction is the primary reason why operators need training.

Training them on specific equipment and doing regular evaluations should be a part of your regular protocol. Let’s take a look at what should be involved in the training and its importance for your company.

Improved Safety Record

Now always and forever, the goal of training is the safe operation of the equipment on the job site. Quality training starts with the basic safety rules:

  • Check the crane
  • Clear the area
  • Communicate with everyone around you

Beyond that, training should result in official certification to operate the specific crane type in use. The person behind the controls needs to be knowledgeable about the equipment, which means knowing those controls inside and out and learning about crane safety. That can be as basic as knowing what to do with a damaged wire rope or how to handle an emergency situation.

With training, an operator should understand when to refuse to make a lift for safety reasons, rather than relying on instincts. This reduces your risk, which helps with your company’s reputation, employee morale, and bottom line.

The newest OSHA guidelines for crane operators now call for certification for the type of crane. They also specify that employers have a duty to ensure the safe operation of cranes.

Part of your duty is to evaluate operators to make sure they have the right mix of skills and knowledge to operate the crane. These evaluations have to be documented as well.

The employer is responsible for training, especially for those not yet certified, known as operators-in-training. The duty extends to providing retraining as needed, and deciding how often operators need training.

Choosing a Trainer

A key part of what makes for quality training is having the right trainer. This starts with their certification and the standards their materials are based on.

For example, our training meets the ASME B30.2 standards for the safe operation of industrial machinery. The ASME standards serve as the basis of OSHA protocols for the industry.

Because training isn’t an optional thing, you want a trainer who can be flexible enough to work with your schedule. This includes allowing you to have new hires for training as they come on board.

Your trainer should be able to come to you to do refresher training annually or whatever schedule you’ve established. They should also cover all aspects of the certification tests required for your operators.

What Training Should Cover

If the operator is training to get certified, the training course will cover safety and operations in great depth. The course should cover everything that will be on the certification exam and be provided by an accredited trainer.

Because you’re responsible for training, you want to ensure your operators receive the proper instruction. This includes checking that everyone gets the same instruction. This ensures everyone’s on the same page and has the same level of knowledge.

The primary thing training should cover is loads and capacities. Most accidents happen because operators exceed capacity, so it’s critical to understand how to calculate the load before picking it up.

Safety measures of all types should also be covered, including how to inspect and maintain the equipment. While you likely have a dedicated mechanical team, a quality crane operator needs to know how to identify problems and how to take care of minor ones rather than slow down the job to wait for the mechanic. Checking machinery for wear and tear and inspecting to ensure loads are secured should become second nature for your team.

Safety training should also include how to deal with workers on the ground. Many accidents happen when cranes drop part of a load or tip over and hit other workers on the site. Your operators should learn about planning lift operations to be sure the area is clear when the crane is in use.

A large number of accidents result from cranes running into power lines and other overhead obstructions. Your operators should receive training on how to work around these obstacles and know when to change the work plan to avoid them altogether.

Who Needs Training

While the obvious answer would be any employee who will be sitting in the operator’s seat of the crane, you can improve your site safety if you expand that out a bit. Yes, the operators need training to get certified, but anyone working with them and supervising them can benefit from it as well.

A safety course should be required for everyone working with or around the cranes, including lift directors, engineers, and riggers. They don’t need full operation training, but it’s good for your people running the job site to understand what is required for safe crane operation.

This allows for an extra check on your crane operators while working. Your staff can also provide complete safety briefings for employees when cranes will be in use. Your managers charged with evaluating the work of your crane operators should be up-to-date on their training as well.

Get the Best Crane Training

Quality crane training ensures your operators are up on all the latest safety protocols and reduces the risk for your company. Proper crane training that follows OSHA protocols covers all the safety bases and operational instruction your team needs to do the assigned work.

When you need to get your crane operators trained, contact us to learn more about our crane training program. We cover all the safety procedures for your cranes and equipment.

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