Countless companies in the manufacturing and construction industries rely on overhead cranes to lift and transport materials.
When installed and used properly, these systems make operations easier and safer. But, overhead crane accidents cause severe injuries and fatalities every year.
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Preventing these disasters requires workers to recognize certain hazards that occur during operation and follow safety procedures to avoid them.
There are multiple hazards that can arise regarding cranes in general. Many accidents involve large lift systems like tower cranes and mobile cranes. But hazards do exist with all types of cranes—including overhead cranes—and in all facets of crane operation.
(Overhead cranes are defined by OSHA 1910.179(a)(8) as a crane with a movable bridge carrying a movable or fixed hoisting mechanism, and traveling on an overhead fixed runway structure.) Analysis of overhead crane accidents reveals three common safety hazards that every company using overhead lift systems should be aware of to keep their workers safe.
It’s important to be familiar with these hazards and learn to recognize them in the workplace in order to avoid them. The three most common hazards involving overhead cranes include electrical hazards, overloading, and materials falling/slipping from overhead hoists.
The following analysis of each hazard provides a description, potential risks, reasons why accidents occur, preventative measures to avoid them, and applicable OSHA requirements. One commonality that all three hazards share is the qualifications of crane operators.
It is the responsibility of the crane owner and job supervisor to ensure that crane operators are competent and qualified to do the job. Click here to read more about training requirements and minimum competent personnel guidelines outlined by OSHA.