Renting a Crane? Don't Forget About These Safety Tips

A crane rental can come in handy for any job that requires significant lifting capabilities. As with any other type of equipment, safety should always be the top priority when it comes to renting and operating cranes. The following safety tips should always be followed whenever there's a crane in operation.

Inspect Before Use

It's absolutely crucial to inspect your lifting equipment each and every day before it's put into use. Never assume that a crane is in the same state today as it was yesterday, since problems can appear during periods of downtime. Prior to the start of any shift, operators should always conduct a walk-around of their equipment, checking for a variety of issues that could prevent the crane from functioning safely.

When conducting an inspection, it's important to thoroughly check the crane's mechanical, electrical, structural and hydraulic components. There should also be a checklist thoroughly outlining everything that should be checked and signed off by the operator or a supervisor.

Don't Overload It

The biggest mistake an operator can make when controlling a crane is to lift more than what the crane was originally designed to lift. Every crane has a specific lifting capacity and exceeding that capacity could prove disastrous for the operator and nearby workers. Unfortunately, overloading remains an all-too-common phenomenon - a whopping 80 percent of crane accidents occur due to operators lifting loads that are in excess of the equipment's operational capacity.

Following these tips can help prevent tip-overs and other severe accidents from occurring:

  • Know about the loads you're lifting. If you're not sure about how heavy a particular load is, refrain from lifting it until you can verify its weight.
  • Make sure the crane is sized for the job. Using a relatively small crane to lift large, heavy loads could lead to an accident.
  • Make smooth operation a priority. Jerky, sudden movement could lead to swinging, which can unbalance loads and cause a crane to become momentarily overloaded.

Don't Get Slack

Slack ropes can always cause trouble when lifting or lowering a load. If a load is lowered too quickly, it can cause the hoist ropes to slacken and cause the load to tumble over. A slack rope can also slip out of the drum and chafe against the lifting mechanisms, resulting in significant damage to the rope and lifting mechanisms.

Many cranes feature over-travel restraints and slack detection devices that help prevent slack ropes and load chains from damaging the crane or its load. However, operator vigilance is the key to preventing rope slack from occurring.

Always Use the Proper Pads, Cribbing and Blocking

If you have a mobile crane rental onsite, you should always remember to have the proper pads, blocks and cribbing available whenever the outriggers are in use. Failure to use these support materials could cause the outriggers to sink into the ground, unbalancing the crane enough to put it at risk of tip-over. Here are a few tips to keep in mind when using your equipment:

  • Inspect the pads and cribbing on a regular basis for cracks, bends, slippage and signs of settling, crushing or shear failure.
  • Make sure there's no debris underneath your supports that could prevent it from resting evenly on the surface.
  • Avoid using outrigger pads, blocks and cribbing on surfaces with depressions, voids, slopes and other signs of poor ground conditions.
  • Center the supports directly underneath the outrigger to avoid slippage and promote good weight distribution across the entire pad.

Know Your Surroundings

There are plenty of dangers lurking around the worksite, especially when operating any type of crane. In addition to obstacles and uneven terrain, there are also overhead power lines to watch out for. Operators should have good knowledge of the surroundings and take special precautions when dealing with the hazards around them. 

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