Understanding Construction Costs

Crane Operation Safety And Inspection Guidelines

Like many pieces of equipment in the construction and contractor trade, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration requires cranes to be regularly inspected. It's extremely important you know the guidelines to ensure you are not only in compliance but avoid potentially costly litigation, workers compensation claims, government fines, or even a wrongful death suit in the future. Here is what you need to know about caring for and operating your cranes.

Crane Safety Starts With The Operator

Just as a professional semi-truck driver should do a pre-trip inspection before he heads out on the road each time, a crane operator should do a thorough crane inspection before beginning the day. An operator should check to make sure all controls are in working order. The brake system and the hoisting limit switch should be tested. All safety warnings and notices should be in place. A crane operator should be extremely familiar with the machine he is operating, and the machine's manual should be readily available in the cab. The operator should also know the common hand signals used when operating the machinery.

No work should be done on a crane if it has a suspended load, nor should anyone walk under a suspended load. A physical inspection should be made of the wire rope. The operator is looking for any kinks, broken strands, or anything that looks like a weakened spot in the wire. The hook should be checked over for any gouges, cracks, or deformities. It's also extremely important the employer follows OSHA guidelines for providing continuing education to support the ongoing certification of their crane operators.

Why Does OSHA Require Crane Inspections?

Cranes do a lot of heavy-duty lifting. In some operations, cranes are busy working 24/7, 365 days a year. It should be expected that parts are going to eventually wear out from this kind of use. While OSHA only requires an annual crane inspection to make sure it is safe and in good condition, the savvy business owner will implement his own safety and maintenance program in addition to expecting daily operator inspections. Repairing or replacing parts before they cause an accident or shutdown should be the goal of every employer.

Who Performs An OSHA-Approved Crane Inspection?

The National Commission for the Certification of Crane Operators (NCCCO) oversees not only the training and continuing education of crane operators but crane inspectors as well. While OSHA only requires an inspector is "qualified," many contractors choose one who is certified by the NCCCO.


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