Working on construction sites involves moving heavy loads of materials and resources around the job site. To get this type of moving done safely and effectively, it’s crucial to make use of a variety of cranes.
These days, the crawler crane hire that Australian construction companies are making use of has made it easier for more work to get done in shorter time frames. With that being said, many users are hiring cranes for the first time and might need a few tips to ensure these cranes are operated safely.
The Golden Rule – Safety First!
Research has shown that there are on average 240 serious injuries related to crane use every year in Australia. This is a clear indication that not everyone operating or working around a crane is familiar with safety protocols.
Our experts have compiled a list of the top safety tips to follow to ensure there’ll be no crane-related accidents around your job site this year!
Opt for the Correct Crane for the Job
The rule of thumb is to hire the right crane for the job. Never assume that all cranes can do whatever lifting and moving job is required.
Be upfront with the crane hire contractors about all the lifting jobs you need to be done. The contractors will then advise you about the types of cranes you need. Depending on the job you’re busy with, chances are one type of crane will easily get it done, so you don’t always have to spend money on multiple hires. You might just need to hire additional accessories.
Only Use Certified Crane Operators
Before you hire a crane, do some research regarding your state’s crane licensing requirements for operators. Establish if you have a qualified operator on-site or if you’ll need to hire one. Check with the hiring contractor if their service includes an operator.
If you need to hire your own contractor, ensure that this person is certified to operate the type of crane you’re hiring. It’s YOUR responsibility!
Remember, it’s not a “one size fits all” scenario. For example, being certified as a mobile crane operator doesn’t necessarily mean the operator can safely operate a crawler crane.
Perform Inspections Before Operations
The crane will arrive safely on the first day of work. Don’t assume that everything will still be in order the next time you switch the crane on. Safety inspections must be done every morning before doing that day’s work.
Clear the Area Where the Crane will Travel and Work
You might only need the crane to move heavy loads around on your job site. Alternatively, you might want to move loads from one site to another. This might require travel. No matter the scenario, you need to ensure the area where the crane will travel has been cleared.
Clearing surfaces includes removing debris on the road and surrounding area. The operator should travel the route in a regular vehicle to see if there are hazards or obstacles that could present a problem. If there are power lines or tall trees on the route, a new route will have to be drawn up.
Ensure Load Radius and Limits
Cranes, despite being powerful machines, do have capacity limits. It’s crucial for the operator and everyone involved to know the load capacity of every crane.
One of the key safety tips to be aware of centres around the load radius. The higher the load radius the less weight the crane will be able to lift. Speak to your hiring contractor to get a load chart that will explain the load radius and weight limit.
Learn the Appropriate Hand Signals
If you’ve ever worked around cranes on a job site, you may have seen operators using a series of hand signals to communicate with workers on the ground. The reason for this is that crane drivers can’t always see the loads they are lifting as they’re operating the crane. There might also be a lot of noise on the site, so speaking or shouting is never an option.
Ensure everyone who is working with the operator knows how to use and understand the hand signals. These signals are generally universal, so it won’t be too much of a learning curve!
Notify Everyone on The Job Site
Whether cranes are a regular occurrence on your job site, or you’re using one for the first time, it’s important for you to notify all employees that a crane is in operation.
Make use of an alarm that sounds when the crane is about to start moving loads. This will tell workers to avoid a certain area. Doing this will prevent workers from getting hurt if a load is accidentally dropped.
Many companies sound an alarm as the job starts and then sound it again when the crane is switched off.
The correct use of these powerful machines will make moving heavy loads around the job site so much easier!
It’s important to ensure that all the safety protocols surrounding crane operation are adhered to by everyone on the job site. Never take a shortcut just because it’s “only a small” job. Putting safety first will ensure you and your employees have a safe and successful project history!