A Guide to Safely Operating a Crane

A Guide to Safely Operating a Crane
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    Whether you own or manage a construction company, manufacturing facility, shipyard, or forestry business, there's a good chance you rely on cranes for daily operations.


While cranes are crucial for rigging and hoisting efficiently, there are many hazards involved with operating cranes.

As the owner or manager of the business, you’re responsible for employee safety. To keep yourself and employees safe, follow our guide to safely operating a crane below.

Certify all crane operators

Under no circumstances should an individual without a certification operate the crane; this would be both dangerous and an OSHA violation. In 2014, OSHA passed a regulation that requires all U.S. crane operators to receive a certification.

While there are several organizations operators can receive their certification from, the most common is the National Commission for the Certification of Crane Operators––better known as the NCCCO.

A certified operator will understand the fundamentals of crane operation while maintaining safety measures.

Don’t make the operator rush

Few metrics are more important than efficiency and productivity in industrial businesses—naturally, this means that owners and managers want employees to work harder and faster.

Unfortunately, many crane-related accidents and injuries occur because the operator is rushed by timelines.

Of course, employees must meet deadlines, but the deadlines set also need to be realistic. Always allocate additional time to the crane operator then they need; worst-case scenario, they complete the job on time or early—all while doing it safely.

Always run a general inspection prior to lifting

As with any industrial company, you probably have numerous checklists to go through before proceeding with the task at hand—the same goes for crane operation. Before lifting anything with the crane, the operator should perform an inspection. You want to inspect the load and ensure it’s secure, but you also need to inspect the crane itself.

Cranes, like any other piece of heavy equipment, require regular maintenance. If you keep up with maintenance, your inspection should be much easier. Even if you’re on top of your maintenance, though, that doesn’t give you a pass on inspecting the crane before operation.

You should keep an eye out for any dents, corrosion, or cracks throughout the crane’s frame. Additionally, you don’t want to find any loose belts, bolts, gears, or bearings. Lastly, you need to run an environment check which includes the weather and ensuring ground workers are clear when operating the crane.

Ensure you’re using the correct rigging equipment

While the environment, load, and crane itself are all equally important when lifting materials, so is the rigging equipment you’re using. Every load is different, and your rigging hardware should be too.

other valuable tips:

If you’re lifting something extremely heavy, you should use a chain sling as opposed to something like a wire rope. During your inspection, you should know what your load limit is; in fact, this is one of the factors to consider when selecting the best rigging hardware for your lift.

We put together a guide to safely operating a crane because we want to help businesses reduce the risk of preventable accidents. By implementing our tips, we hope your crane operators begin to take safety even more seriously because they’re in full control of accidents and injuries. Additionally, you can be a stronger leader for your crew by understanding and identifying safe and unsafe crane practices.

Image Credit: safely operating a crane by envato.com

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