The ability to move materials safely from one location to another is necessary for many activities all over the United States. Heavy hoists and cranes are used when materials are too bulky or heavy to be moved manually. While hoisting and rigging is an important part of our lives, improper rigging methods and wrong choice of equipment can cause burns, cuts, physical impairments, serious injuries, and fatalities.
Although OSHA heavily regulates the process of hoisting and rigging, all too often we read of hoisting and rigging accidents that cause extensive damage and even deaths. However, when your crane operators are sufficiently trained on how to use safe hoisting methods, they can prevent most hoisting and rigging accidents.
With almost 2,500,000 cranes operating in the United States alone, accidents are bound to happen. According to OSHA, there are several hazards that can arise during hoisting and rigging. However, some of the most common hazards that you should be aware of to keep your workers safe include:
Electrical Hazards: OSHA estimates that nearly 45 percent of all overhead cranes result from machinery encountering a power source. This often happens when safety planning isn’t conducted, and important preventative measures aren’t in place. Before your workers start working, it is important that trained professionals conduct a safety audit and hazardous areas.
The OSHA regulations recommend that hoisting and rigging workers maintain a 10-foot radius from power lines and it’s important to use insulated barriers, tape, fences and other indicators when working near power lines. You can help avoid power line contact by training your operators and providing additional workers to observe nearby areas in case it’s difficult to maintain visual clearance.
Materials Falling: This is a common hazard concern for any work site that uses overhead cranes. However, you can help reduce injuries and deaths from falling objects by performing regular maintenance checks of your hoists.
Additionally, routine load testing should be done to ensure that your workers are aware of how many pounds a hoist can handle. While the best way your workers can stay safe is by being aware of the job surroundings, wearing the proper personal protective equipment (PPE) is important. Trained employees know the correct PPE to wear after they have conducted a safety audit on the site.
Overloading: According to the CDC, there is one crane upset in every 10,000 hours of crane use. In most cases, these upsets are due to human error when operators exceed the crane lifting capacity. Sometimes operators rely on their experience or instincts to determine if a load is too heavy.
The high sophistication of cranes today has increased their ability to lift heavier loads, and it is easier to make a wrong estimation of the maximum weight a crane can handle. To avoid this mistake, ensure that your employees are well trained and they understand lifting capacities, load dynamics, and physical conditions when lifting capacities are valid.
Tip 1: Divide the total weight (in pounds) of the crane by 2.
Tip 2: Include the weight of the hoist and trolley (should also be in pounds)
Tip 3: Multiply the total load weight by the impact allowance factor.
Tip 4: Add your answers in tips 2 and 3
Tip 5: Divide your answer by 2 to get the crane’s maximum load.
To minimize the probability of your hoisting and rigging gear from failing, it is advisable that you inspect them before every shift. Other precautions that are related to machine handling include:
Apart from choosing the right sling and using it safely, ensure that your employees are properly trained on the following factors to ensure safety during lifting of loads:
Avoid stressing the string legs: Small angles between the horizontal position of the load and sling legs will cause stress, and this will decrease the capacity of the weight that can be lifted safely.
Making level lifts: Most of the weight of a load is at the center of gravity, and for your operator to make level lifts, they should ensure that the hoist hook is positioned above the center of gravity.
When it comes to the safety of your employees while handling hoisting and rigging equipment, there is no substitute to being vigilant and having adequate and proper training. Ensure you are OSHA compliant by signing up for the Hoisting & Rigging – On-Site Only Seminar by NTT Training. Connect with NTT today for more information!
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