The Importance of Crane Operator Safety

16Working with cranes, of any size, requires the utmost in safety and training. Crane operators bear the responsibility of their own safety, but also the safety of their co-workers, and those living and working in the areas where the cranes are being used. OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration), is doing its part by holding meetings that focus on just how effective the training and certifications of crane operators are, and if the certifications are meeting the level of safety and education requirements to keep the crane operators and those around them safe.

The Cranes, Derrick, and Hoist safety hazards rules and regulations, address the industry in general, including longshoring, construction, marine terminals, and gear certification. This standard of safety has become the rule in the industry since its conception in 2003 and completion in 2010. According to the Crane Derrick safety standards, all crane operators must be certified by November 2014.

The, an industry information website, mentions some of the most common safety mistakes made by crane operators:

Overloading overhead cranes – there is a misconception that cranes cannot be overloaded, and this is simply not true. This misconception has caused many dangerous situations.

Cranes are designed to lift straight up and lower straight down, not be pulled from the side- Side pulling causes major stress on cranes, weakening of ties and ropes, which can cause serious safety issues when heavy equipment falls to the ground.

The lack of daily inspections – It should never be assumed that just because a crane was functioning properly yesterday, that it means that it is in safe working condition today. Cranes should always be inspected daily, even if they were just used.

It is important that employers in the construction industry make certain that all employees are trained and certified in how to properly and safely use a crane for the protection of everyone involved in the project. The Occupational and Health Act of 1970 officially placed this responsibility on employers to make sure that employees are provided with a safe and healthy work environment. OSHA’s role is to enforce these rules and standards.