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Crane Usage and Safety Tips: A Guide

It will be impossible not to notice a crane when visiting a construction site. A crane is a machine used to lift and move heavy objects and is often used in construction, mining, and shipbuilding.

In the earliest days, men-powered cranes and crane operators would typically wear a harness and rope to control their movements. Nowadays, the most common type of modern crane is powered by an engine or motor. This engine powers the electric motors that move the crane lifting attachments, which are devices attached to a crane to perform a specific task.

Safety Is a Priority

Cranes are one of the most critical pieces of machinery in construction. However, they can be dangerous if not handled with care. Therefore, operators need to know the safety rules to prevent accidents from happening. So, aside from clearing obstacles and proper communication using hand signals, you can read through these additional safety tips to consider when using cranes:

1. Choosing the Right Crane

The first things you have to consider are the weight of the load, height, and distance it will travel.

There are different types of cranes but here are some to name a few:

  • Suspended Mobile Crane – these cranes are used in industries with limited space or need to work at height. These can be used for lifting heavy objects, such as steel beams and machinery, which would be too heavy for a tower-based crane to lift.
  • Portable Crawler Crane – is a machine used in construction, mining, and demolition work. It is a type of crawler crane.
  • Fixed Tower Crane – they are installed in a restricted location, can lift heavy loads, and require less space than other types of cranes. Its design is simple, and the operation is easy to learn, making it suitable for new operators.
  • Tower Crane – this is the most popular type of crane. They are used for building construction, shipyards, major projects, and heavy manufacturing facilities. Meanwhile, the main difference between tower cranes and other types of cranes is that they have a much longer arm than different crane types, allowing them to reach higher into the air, and thus, making them more useful for construction jobs that require lifting taller materials or objects than regular-sized cranes can reach.
  • Jib Crane – they commonly operate overhead lifting operations in smaller work areas. Jib cranes are highly versatile and can be used with overhead bridge cranes to increase productivity.
  • Gantry Crane – they are well-suited to high-volume lifts and provide a quick and effective way to move big loads through a yard, fabrication shop, or general manufacturing/warehousing environment. These are the cranes that usually uses crane lifting attachments.

2. Hire a Well-Trained Operator

Having a well-trained lift team on hand can assist in lessening, if not eliminating, some of the risks involved with crane use. As such, it should be a top responsibility to ensure that everyone is qualified to accomplish their duties.

3. Always Read Your Manuals and Build a Routine of Daily Checks

Anyone who operates or works with cranes should know that it’s crucial to remember that cranes from different manufacturers have distinctive controls, failsafe mechanisms, and elements. It is also essential that the crane operator utilise a daily inspection checklist to verify the crane is safe before operation. Pre-start, engine start-up, and safety system inspections are all part of this process.

Overall, it is the responsibility of operators and workers to follow standard protocols in construction areas. Meanwhile, cranes have advanced to the point that they can carry heavier loads further and quicker. Therefore, it is also crucial that anyone aligns with cranes’ modern methods and specifications.

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