Hazard of Cranes on a Construction Site

Source: Graham Richardson

Cranes are as common on a construction site as any other machinery or equipment. Workers should be trained and certified to operate a crane on a construction site before they are requested to do so by the contractor. This is important because operating a crane can be tricky and can result in a number of incidents.

Perhaps cranes are made even more dangerous by the fact that each of its part’s presents a separate hazard which operators must be mindful of and prepared for.

One of these components is the hoist which lifts the load. Any failure with this component could result in injury and even death of workers on the site below.

Another component that may become problematic is the control panel. This part of the crane contains the electrical components and controls the operation of the crane.

Operators need to be trained in the hand signals to use when communicating with ground crew in order to be able to communicate regarding the direction the crane should move.

One of the most common accidents that occur due to crane mishaps is when an overhead cranes load falls and crushes people below. Because the crane’s load is usually very large and heavy it can cause huge damage to property, the site, equipment and people below.  For this reason it is important to inspect the area where the crane is about to operate to ensure that any falling objects or debris will not injure or kill a person in the area below.

Another risk that operators should avoid is dragging heavy items across the ground for a far distance. This action can cause a side pull which may result in injury if the load capsizes. It is important that the load be balanced evenly and lifted slowly and steadily to avoid toppling.Operators should keep the cables in the view, making sure that it does not become frayed or knotted during lifting.

There is another hazard that we have not yet mentioned but is just as deadly as the previous ones. That is the hazard presented by overhead crane operation. This can result in the crane coming into contact with overhead power lines and electrocuting the operator.  Many workers have been electrocuted in this way. Some of the injuries that workers can suffer include electric shocks and burns when the crane makes contact with live overhead lines.

The risk of a fire or explosion breaking out is also present that may immobilise mobile plant and cause great injury or death to the operator.

Planning is crucial when it comes to crane operation and avoiding incidents. By being prepared and identifying power lines in advance, conducting a risk assessment prior to work beginning and ensuring the machinery is in good working order before beginning work, many of the incidents involving cranes can be avoided.