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Cranes handle crucial construction activities from transporting large, heavyweight beams to raising tall buildings. Technological advancements may have improved productivity and thus profits, but hoist operators and nearby workers still face safety issues. Adverse events like oversights, mistakes, and malfunctioning equipment cause most crane accidents.

Major dangers are power line contact, overturned lifts, employee falls, and mechanical failures, notes the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Results may include property damage, injuries, deaths, crew shortages, higher insurance rates, lengthy accident investigations, OSHA fines, lost construction jobs, and legal fees. Brushing up on your industry’s best crane safety practices can help your team reduce unwelcome mishaps and outcomes.

Prioritizing Precautions

OSHA encourages construction companies to enact documented safety programs. State labor laws and your liability coverage may require hard copies of your safety policies. All hoists demand careful planning and thorough worksite precautions. Site managers, lift planners, riggers, crane operators, signalers, and onsite workers can help avoid destructive incidents by prioritizing caution as a routine job function and responsibility.

Training Personnel

Classroom and ground crane training sessions are essential for all operators. They also must be able to handle load charts, pre-inspections, and setups. Passing written as well as practical tests is necessary to demonstrate their equipment and operation knowledge. Licenses or other certifications, which may need periodic renewals, are mandatory.

All support personnel dealing with or near hoists need adequate lift operation training to enable competent assembly, maintenance, and repairs. Learning how to rig loads properly is key for riggers. Signalers have to use established methods from hand to radio signaling correctly. Through National PEO’s comprehensive safety compliance services, we provide safety programs, training, inspections, audits, and abatements to improve your safety and compliance records.

Choosing Equipment

Rent cranes from companies with wide-ranging options and the expertise to suggest the best types and capacities for your projects. Preferred firms control fleet maintenance to offer technically superior and safer lifts. They have strong commitments to protect their personnel, customers, and the public.

Select machinery with Crane Manufacturers Association of America (CMAA) approvals, indicating they reach or surpass minimum safety standards. Look for built-in safety requirements like boom angle indicators, emergency disconnects, plus hoists and hooks with safety latches. Make sure that lift ratings will support greater weights than typical loads. Cable ratings must be seven times load weights to raise personnel. Load test equipment regularly at 1.25 times cargo loads.

constructionbestpractices2Assessing Worksites for Potential Lift Incidents

Foreseeing various potential adversities can help curtail calamities. Before initiating hoisting operations, ensure adequate preparedness like appropriate soil preparation and sufficient space for crane assembly and disassembly. Identify hazardous sources from underground pipelines to power lines and appraise their dangers. Everyone from employees to pedestrians should remain far away from machinery during use.

Confirming Safety Plan Adherence

Appoint personnel to ensure that crews follow safety plans during all lifts. That involves verifying that thoroughly maintained cranes passed inspections per manufacturers’ specifications and have correct capacities for specific tasks. Every day before operating hoists, test all machinery and conduct safety inspections.

Assigning Competent Crane Overseers

According to OSHA, competent workers gain knowledge of pertinent standards and develop skills to identify workplace hazards regarding specific operations through training, qualifications, and experience. Your firm must grant such designated employees the authority to undertake appropriate actions like stopping all dangerous crane activities.

Loading and Rigging

Qualified operators know their hoists’ load ratings so they do not overload them. Instead of guessing load weights, they weigh them accurately. Rigging loads with properly sized slings and cables — not ropes that can fray and break — is crucial. It is also important to pad loads’ sharp edges to prevent rigging damage, and balance loads well before moving them. Radio contact between operators and ground crews is essential, even when signalers are directing lifts with hand signals.


Idle equipment can still pose hazards, so parking cranes safely is critical. Other key precautions include pressing emergency stops or kill switches and setting emergency brakes. Store slings and rigging. Raise hooks seven or more feet in the air, well above everyone at ground level.

Performing Maintenance

Appropriate upkeep is imperative to ensure reliability. Operators should inspect cranes plus associated slings and rigging regularly, following state requirements or manufacturers’ instructions. All defects demand repairs before use. No projects or deadlines are important or urgent enough to skip any vital safety measures.

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