How to Prevent Crane Accidents at the Worksite

Evelyn Long

Mar 9, 2022


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One thing that employers and employees want most in their workplace is safety. Any job requires a level of safety so the company can operate smoothly and without any concerns. However, accidents do happen. 

In construction sites, the use of cranes is sometimes necessary to complete a job. On job sites, one of the leading causes of injury and death among workers is crane accidents. With the proper guidelines, these accidents could decrease. 

Importance of Worksite Safety

Safety is the most important thing to consider at a workplace. It pays in multiple ways to have a safe and healthy place of employment. When someone is injured or gets ill at work, it can alter their lives and their family’s lives. Without safety or health at a workplace, workers could lose their lives, be in pain, lose income, have increased stress, lose their job, or have health bills that are too much to afford.

For employers, safety is also essential. A safe and healthy workplace can lower costs for injuries or illness. Plus, employees will feel better about working in a safe place. It’s good for business since turnover will be low, and workers can increase their productivity. 

These are some things that may happen to a business without safety precautions:

  • Damage to equipment
  • Higher turnover of employees
  • Insufficient product quality
  • Production loss
  • Cost to hire and train new employees

Injury prevention costs less in so many ways than the cost of an actual injury or illness. That’s why crane accident prevention is critical in construction zones.

Causes of Crane Accidents

There could be many possible reasons why crane accidents occur — that’s why they are called accidents. On many occasions, the people who are involved in crane accidents tend to be construction laborers, welders, electricians, cutters and solderers. Those who operate the crane or tower usually aren’t the ones who get hurt or end up in a fatal accident. 

Common causes of crane accidents include:

  • The crane or boom hitting overhead power lines, which accounts for the majority of accidents
  • The crane turning on its side while in use
  • The boom collapsing
  • A dropped load from the crane
  • Workers getting crushed or stuck in the crane’s counterweight

Unfortunately, these can cause serious injuries or even death. Most of these can be prevented by looking around the area for potential hazards, like power lines, heavy loads, improper support and low visibility.

Prevention and Safety Tips for Crane Use 

Prevention is key to keeping workers safe in a construction zone, especially where cranes are used. Below are some prevention and safety tips to steer clear of crane accidents to ensure every employee returns home without injury every day.

1. Inspect the Crane

Thoroughly inspecting the crane every day before use is key in preventing accidents. Additionally, verify that the crane has had its annual inspection by a professional. Sometimes, an operator may push the crane to its limits and damage it unknowingly. Always do a complete inspection before operation.

2. Fix Any Damages

If you do notice damage, fix it immediately. These could be mechanical problems, cracks, worn wires or rope and anything else that looks abnormal. The person repairing damages should be qualified.

3. Complete a Ground Assessment

Cranes must be on level ground for operation. It should be flat and free of any obstructions. If there are electrical cables nearby, place the crane far enough away from them so no parts of the crane come in contact. 

Once you know what kind of ground the crane is sitting on, adjust the load accordingly and clear any obstacles. Make sure there is a fence around the site so no one else enters the work area.

4. Communicate, Complete and Follow a Plan

Communication and understanding of a plan are two of the most important things when a crane is in use. Everyone involved should meet before a lift to ensure the same information is communicated across the board. Agree and sign off on the plan, then follow it to completion.

5. Watch the Load

Before a lift, make sure the team knows the load weight and that the crane is equipped to handle it. Do not load it above its capacity to ensure it doesn’t tip over. 

6. Ensure Only a Qualified Person Operates the Crane

Only those who are licensed to operate a crane should do so. If that person on your team is out for the day, do not allow anyone else to operate the machinery. Doing so could result in improper use, which is dangerous for the crew.

7. Use the Equipment Properly

Finally, make sure to use the crane for its intent, which is lifting items vertically. Some people have tried to drag things using a crane or for improper activities. Doing anything that the crane is not meant to do can cause damage to the equipment that may lead to failure, and eventually, may result in injury or fatalities.

Stay Safe by Taking Preventative Steps

Staying focused on the task at hand when operating a crane and knowing these preventative tips will keep the crew safe. It’s better to take extra time inspecting the site and communicating rather than trying to get a job done quickly and potentially injuring someone or losing a life. 

Human error is often the cause of crane accidents, but education and awareness of safety in the workplace will lead to a better, healthier and safer work environment.

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