Common Crane Accidents And How To Avoid Them

Posted on: 14 December 2015


The Occupational Safety and Health Administration, also known as OSHA, feels that the majority of overhead crane accidents can be prevented if those operating and working with the crane are trained and proper precautions are taken at the job site. If you are renting an overhead crane for use at one of your job sites, educating yourself on the common types of crane accidents and how they can be avoided can help keep your workers safe and reduce the risk of accidents. Here are three common crane accidents and precautions you and your employees can take to avoid them.

Overhead Cranes Hitting Power Sources

According to OSHA, nearly 45 percent of all overhead crane accidents are attributed to the crane hitting a power source while it is being used. Typically, this power source is overhead power lines. When the crane hits the power line, the crane operator can be electrocuted. But, the crane can also knock the power line over, which can injure any people below the line and/or cause a fire.

The best way to prevent this problem is to carefully plan where you are placing and using an overhead crane. When the crane is delivered and set-up, try to position it away from overhead lines. If the crane must be operated near lines, always be sure the operator knows exactly where the lines are. This can prevent him from accidentally raising the arm too high or shifting the crane to the left or right and hitting these power lines. If there is no way around the power lines, work with the electrical company. The company may be able to turn off certain portions of the line, especially if they are pole to home wires, allowing your employees to safely work around the electrical wires without the risk of being electrocuted.

Overhead Cranes Breaking or Tipping

Another common cause of crane accidents is the crane breaking or even tipping over. OSHA estimates that 80 percent of these accidents are caused because the operational load capacity assigned to a crane is exceeded. For example, if a crane can only lift 10,000 pounds and an item weighing 12,000 pounds is loaded, a fracture can occur or the crane can tip. This can injure both those employees standing around the crane and the crane operator.

All overhead cranes are required to be visibly marked with a load chart that details the weight and size that the crane can move and hoist. When you are renting a crane or purchasing a crane, always pay close attention to how much the weight the crane can lift and move and ensure that fits the needs of your company. Then, when the crane is in use, ensure your employees know the weight of the items they are loading on the crane and don't overload it. It may take some extra time to weigh materials or ensure employees know their weight, but this can help ensure employees are safe.

Materials Falling From Overhead Cranes

The last common cause of crane accidents is materials falling from overhead cranes. The main reason why this happens is because materials are not properly secured to the crane, and when the crane begins to lift the item, the belts, straps or hooks holding the item loosen or break and the item comes tumbling to the ground below. This can injure anyone standing below the items being lifted.

The best way to prevent materials from falling from overhead cranes is to ensure the employees are properly loading and securing materials to the crane. Having one employee double-check loaded materials before they begin to move can be a great solution to this issue. The other way to prevent this issue is to ensure your belts, straps and hooks are equipped to support the weight of the material that they are holding in place. Once again, knowing how much the materials you are moving weighs, is important.

Overhead cranes can be an invaluable resource for those who have to lift and move heavy and large items. However, they can be dangerous at times. Luckily, the majority of crane accidents can be prevented by taking the time to learn about the crane, your surroundings and the materials that are being lifted. It may take some time to train employees and get them on the same page, but it can help to keep your employees safe on the job site.

For more information on overhead cranes, contact a company like American Equipment Inc.