Overhead cranes are powerful machines that lift and move heavyweight objects. There also can be an accident waiting to happen if the operators don’t know how to use an overhead crane safely and properly. Following these guidelines can help avert severe accidents and injuries.
- Crane Capacity: Know the crane’s load capacity. Any loads that are greater than the rated load capacity of the crane shouldn’t be moved. Test the hoist brakes, and if they fail to hold, slowly lower the load, report the situation immediately and do not operate the crane until repairs have been made.
- Daily exercise: Inspect equipment daily and don’t operate a crane if workings are worn or in disrepair. Move the crane in all directions to check for smooth movement. Listen for unfamiliar sounds and replace worn parts immediately.
- No loose parts: Remove any loose materials or parts prior to lifting a load. The sling and hoisting ropes should be free of slack and the lifting device should be sitting in the hook’s saddle.
- Stop the crane completely: Become familiar with the location of each of the crane’s controls, especially how to stop it in an emergency. Often that can be done by activating a disconnect switch, which should be within reach and in working order. Controls should be clearly marked as to their function.
- Prepare for an emergency: Operators and site workers should know what to do in case of electrical, mechanical or power failures. Procedures should be implemented for retrieving an operator from a cab in an emergency situation. All cabs must carry fire extinguishers.
- Shutdown before you leave: Switch all controls to the “Off” position prior to exiting the crane. Also, remove the load hanging on the crane’s hooks, hoist all hooks to a mid-position and spot your crane at a specified site.