Overhead Crane Operation Myths: How The Truth Can Improve Your Industry

16 October 2015
 Categories: Industrial & Manufacturing, Articles

Overhead cranes are important pieces of equipment for several industries thanks to their ability to lift and move heavy materials. For example, as a construction worker, you likely rely on overhead cranes to transport building materials for nearly every project. When it comes to crane operation, there are myths that can prove dangerous for both you and your fellow employees. Fortunately, busting those myths can help improve safety standards and job performance.

Myth #1: Weekly crane inspections are enough to improve safety standards and job performance.

Reality: If you are not inspecting your crane at least twice a day – once before you start your work day and again at the end of the work day – you are putting yourself and others at risk. In 2010, an employee was injured after a crane tipped over. There were many factors that caused the crane to tip over, but of notable importance was the fact that lighting conditions were poor aided by the fact that the lights on the crane did not work.

Daily inspections ensure that accidents are less likely to occur. Daily inspections can prevent instances similar to that mentioned above from occurring. It is important to inspect all aspects of the crane, including the lights. Just because a crane is operable at the time you end your work day does not mean that it will work properly by morning. Anything can happen from the time you leave the work site from the time you come back to work. Therefore, you need to inspect your equipment twice a day.

Myth #2: Thanks to the crane's secondary brake, there is no need to worry about a load falling and causing injuries.

Reality: Secondary brakes found on overhead cranes are certainly helpful. If the primary brake fails, the secondary brake prevents the load from falling at a rapid rate. The load will still lower, but typically at a rate similar to that of a somewhat controlled drop rate. However, since the load will still descent, it should never be assumed that you and your employees will remain safe from injury.

In order to prevent injuries that may occur from a falling load, it is best to steer clear of the area underneath the load. Even if a load drops at a somewhat controlled falling rate, it could still cause severe injury or even death. Pay attention to your surroundings and make sure you never walk or stand under a lifted load. Always instruct your employees to do the same in order to avoid the threat of injury.

Myth #3: Crane operators know to keep their eyes peeled when working a construction site, so employees are safe to move about unhindered.

Reality: Crane operators are certainly smart enough to keep their eyes open to the fact that there are plenty of workers on the ground moving around. However, it should never be assumed that an operator can see everyone. Cranes are rather large pieces of machinery. As such, it is difficult for the operator to get a great view of everyone on the ground. In fact, crane operators may often have several blind spots.

In 2009, an employee was walking along the job site when a gantry crane that was behind her struck and killed her. The unfortunate employee was not visible to the crane operator at the time the accident occurred. In order to avoid accidents, make sure workers know to steer clear of the crane's path. Furthermore, it is recommended that all employees working the job site have a radio on hand.

A radio allows all workers on the ground to communicate with the crane operator and vice versa. If someone on the ground realizes there is a potential safety problem regarding the use of the crane, they can let the operator know. You and your employees should always make note of where the crane is and which direction it is headed in order to avoid instances such as the one mentioned above.

By realizing the difference between myths and reality when it comes to overhead crane operation, it is possible to improve safety standards at each and every construction site you work. You can also improve job performance. When safety becomes a priority, workers are able to work more efficiently. Injuries can cause major delays that can seriously hurt job performance. Contact a crane supplier like American Equipment Inc to find out more about popular crane myths to further improve your construction business.