Safety has always been a top priority at DICA, as it is with all the best utility, construction, crane and rigging, mining and tree care companies. In the past we’ve discussed the best ways to ensure a successful crane setup, and there’s never a bad time to re-up these helpful safety tips.
No question, the stakes are too high to ignore proper procedure. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that between 1997 and 2006 an average of 82 people died in crane-related accidents every year. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the North Carolina Department of Labor estimates the rate of crane overturns in the U.S. is 1 for every 10,000 hours of use. Mobile cranes are especially likely to tip while they’re being used, especially if they’re overloaded by human error.
So how can accidents like these be prevented? Check out DICA’s 10 steps to a safe crane setup. The condensed version is below, for additional information see our “10 Tips for a Successful Crane Setup” page.
Follow Official Requirements: Always take care to follow any relevant OSHA or ASME guidelines when setting up a crane. For instance, OSHA has said that cranes must be setup on firm ground that’s been sufficiently drained and graded, while also using supporting gear like blocking, pads, and crane mats. For more, see OSHA 1926.1402.
Always Use the Right Equipment: Improper use or neglect of blocking, cribbing, outrigger pads, crane pads, crane mats, and other crucial gear is a sure-fire-way to ensure a dangerous accident on the job. Always ensure that the blocking and/or cribbing are strong enough to transmit the load to the supporting surface.
Check the Ground: While some people consult a geotechnical engineer, others use a portable Dynamic Cone Penetrometer to check soil conditions. In any case, always check the bearing strength of the ground and soil before setting up the crane. Always look for any sub-surface hazards before work begins.
Make Necessary Improvements: Make time to improve soil conditions through compaction, draining, or any other necessary improvements.
Identify Maximum Pressure: Double check the maximum pressure exerted on your outrigger pads or crane pads during operation, then cross reference to ensure you are using the right pads.
Select the Right Size Outrigger Pads and Crane Pads: You can get away with oversized pads in some cases, but undersized pads are likely to cause unstable conditions. Remember: DICA suggests using a size selection method that accounts for ground conditions.
Choose the Right Pads for the Job: Once you’ve identified the right dimensions, choose the engineered outrigger pads or crane pads that are designed for load distribution.
Double Check Proper Placement: Outrigger pads and mats are little use if they aren’t placed correctly.
Monitor Every Job: Many crane accidents are caused because of unmonitored lifts. Monitor every lift and immediately stop if a problem occurs.
Gut Check: Finally, use common sense. This is otherwise known as the “See Something, Say Something,” policy. If something looks, feels, sounds, or even smells off, stop work until the problem is solved.