OSHA Programs: A Guide to Cranes and Derricks

Cranes and derricks
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Cranes and Derrics

A Guide to Cranes and Derricks was originally prepared by David V. MacCollum, president of David V. MacCollum, Ltd., of Sierra Vista, Ariz. NCDOL recognizes with much appreciation the contributing organizations that offered and supplied the material and information used in this guide. Wire Rope Slings Pocket Reference Guide extracts shown in the PDF version of this document are provided on behalf of union ironworkers and their employers by the Institute of the Ironworking Industry.

This guide is intended to be consistent with all existing OSHA standards; therefore, if an area is considered by the reader to be inconsistent with a standard, then the OSHA standard should be followed.

Also Read: Lifting Calc 3

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Reasons for Crane Accidents and Preventive Measures

In our highly mechanized world, cranes are the workhorses that have increased productivity and economic growth in construction, mining, logging, maritime operations, and maintenance of production and service facilities. It is not unusual
in large metropolitan areas to see several crane booms outlined against the skyline within a few blocks of each other and in rural areas to see cranes performing a great variety of jobs.
Statistics show, however, that there are inherent hazards that occur during normal working circumstances. A crane can be a very dangerous piece of equipment. Most crippling injuries and deaths from crane accidents can be attributed to several basic hazards.
Those supervising the use of cranes can greatly improve workplace safety by targeting the craning hazards that cause the most injury and death. Basic hazard prevention measures can be taken to eliminate these hazards. It is important to ensure the safety of all personnel who may be in the immediate areas where cranes are being operated, not just the riggers, signalers, and operators.
Workplace safety is more than complying with a few safety rules. Everyone must be involved in management, supervisors, and the work crew. Each has specific safety responsibilities, and a mutual understanding of who is responsible for what is essential. A fact that is often overlooked is that hazards are the primary cause of most accidents, so hazard prevention is what brings about a safe workplace. But, what is a hazard? How can a hazard be controlled?

Also Read: Handbook of Rigging, Lifting, hoisting and scaffolding for construction and industrial operations

As it relates to cranes, a hazard may be thought of as an unsafe condition. Hazards may be present in three forms:

  • Dormant: A dormant hazard is an undetected hazard created either by design or crane use.
  • Armed: An armed hazard is a dormant hazard that has become armed and ready to cause harm during certain work circumstances.
  • Active: An active hazard is an armed hazard triggered into action by the right combination of factors. At this point, it is too late to take any preventive action to escape injury or avoid death.

To change the design of a crane on a Jobsite to make it safer is almost impossible, but there are measures within the control of every crane owner or user that can be taken to prevent a hazard from becoming armed and active. In decreasing order of importance, the most effective ways to control hazards are:

  1. Eliminate or minimize the hazard. The major effort during the planning phase of any project must be to select appropriate
    work methods for cranes to eliminate hazards created by particular work circumstances.
  2. Guard the hazard. Hazards that cannot be totally eliminated through planning must be reduced to an acceptable level of risk by the use of appropriate safety devices to guard, isolate or otherwise render the hazard effectively inert or inaccessible.
    If this cannot be done, then nearby personnel should be protected from the hazard. For example, the employer should ask the manufacturer to assist in installing guards to provide physical protection against moving parts. Listed below are other methods of guarding particular hazards or the danger zone they create.
    a. Install screens or covers over moving parts.
    b. To prevent electrocution when cranes are to be used in the vicinity of overhead energized power lines, have the local electric utility install line guards or covers on the lines. Use an insulated link on the hoist line to prevent the passage of electric current from the hook through the load to the person guiding the load on the ground.
    c. Install fences, guardrails, or other barriers to prevent entry into the danger zone created by the rotating crane cab.
    d. Ask the manufacturer to install a crush-resistant cab and restraint system that encloses the operator in a protective frame to give the operator a place of safety if an upset occurs.
  3. Give warning. When a hazard cannot be controlled by applying either the first or second method, an active, intercessory warning device should be installed that detects a hazard and emits a timely, audible, and/or visual warning signal.
    Examples are alarms, horns, and flashing lights. Warning systems must emit the standard variety of sounds or flashes so the meaning of the warning will be understood. Some hazard detection systems not only give audible or visual warnings but are wired to stop or prohibit movement. On cranes, this is especially important so the boom can be stopped before it reaches a hazardous position. There are numerous suppliers of such items.

Also Read: Books: OSHA-Is it Safe to Enter Confined Space?

The content of the Book

  • Foreword . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1iiv
  • 1 Reasons for Crane Accidents and Preventive Measures . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .ivi1
  • 2 Types of Cranes Generally Used in the Workplace . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ii14
  • 3 Analysis of Eight Hazards Common to Most Cranes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ii19
  • 4 Crane Safety Programs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ii23
  • References, Requirements and Standards . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ii28

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