Industrial cranes have become indispensable

Cranes have become indispensable in industries such as construction and shipping and when used properly, are great tools. However, every week there are stories in the press regarding accidents involving cranes. Safety is paramount and operators must be correctly trained beforehand. The cranes themselves must be well maintained and have all the proper licences for use. They must only be used within their parameters so that they are not over stressed as this will lead to accidents. Don't forget that we can offer onsite testing on your hydraulic cranes, which means that you will not lose valuable work time.

The law link to external website says that all lifting operations involving lifting equipment must be properly planned by a competent person; appropriately supervised; and carried out in a safe manner.

Important statistic

Since 2001 there have been 61 accidents involving tower cranes. 9 people have died, and 25 have been seriously injured.

Cranes and lifting accessories such as slings must be of adequate strength, tested and subject to the required examinations and inspections.

All crane operators, and people involved in slinging loads and directing lifting operations, must be trained and competent.

There are four key aspects to the safe use of cranes:

What you need to know

Tower and mobile cranes are used extensively on construction projects and present two principal hazards:

  • Collapse of the crane – such incidents present significant potential for multiple fatal injuries, both on and off-site;
  • Falling of the load – these events also present a significant potential for death and major injury.

Other incidents have involved people being struck by moving loads, cranes contacting overhead conductors and cranes colliding with each other.

Important note for crane users: The legal responsibilities for safe lifting operations are usually shared between the crane hirer and crane user.

When a crane is hired the responsibility for planning, supervising and carrying out lifting operations rests with the user unless these responsibilities are explicitly assumed by the crane hire company under a ‘contract lift’.

People who hire cranes but do not have the necessary competencies for safe planning and use will need to opt for a ‘Contract Lift’ from the crane hire company.

Planning lifting operations

All lifting operations should be planned so they are carried out safely with foreseeable risks taken into account.

The person appointed to plan the lifting operation should have adequate practical and theoretical knowledge and experience of the lifts being undertaken.

The plan will need to address the risks identified by a risk assessment, the resources required, procedures and the responsibilities so that any lifting operation is carried out safely.

The plan should ensure that the lifting equipment remains safe for the range of lifting operations for which the equipment might be used.

British Standard BS 7121Part 1 2006 sets out an acceptable standard for managing lifting operations using cranes on construction projects. Click here to continue reading

Further reading

Cranes, derricks, hoists, elevators and conveyors

5 types of mobile cranes and what they are used for