Overhead cranes or hoists are widely used in building and construction industries and they are highly efficient in moving heavy and massive loads that are otherwise immovable by human strength. These machines are very useful regarding load lifting and thus are utilized in a lot of industries for the same purpose. But operating these machines is not exactly a cakewalk and there are a lot of hazards related to using and operating such heavy machines. Statistics reveal that a good number of people get injured every year, and in some cases even lose their lives in accidents. Safety measures thus become imperative while using overhead hoists. 

A few common hazards that are related to overhead hoist usage:

Following are some risk factors that are involved with overhead cranes and make them high-risk machinery:

  • Falling objects: There are a number of other factors like mechanical failure, visual obstacles, incompetent operator, accidental slippage etc. which always contributes to the common problem of falling objects from above at the work site where overhead cranes are used. Load dropping is a very dangerous hazard related to crane operation and it can be fatal.
  • Overloading: Ideally overhead cranes must never be loaded beyond their rated capacity of taking weight. Whenever they are overloaded the risk of collapsing or toppling of the entire machine becomes high. Operators often tend to overload the cranes to finish off their work sooner, which give rise to such mishaps.
  • Electrical complexities: The danger posed by high tension power lines are sometimes ignored and cranes have come into contact due to lack of appropriate attention to the threat. The operator must maintain a safe distance from all power lines live or not. If the situation demands to operate a crane in close proximity to power lines, then appropriate authorities should be intimated and ensured that power supply through that area is cut off until work is completed so that there is no danger even if the crane comes into contact with the cables inadvertently.
  • Braking problem: Overhead cranes often rely on secondary breaks which lead to the improper holding of loads and due to the malfunctioning of such breaks, materials often fall down. Electrical cranes must come with fail-safe brakes to prevent the brake problem and to ensure that the crane works fine in case of sudden power outages.
  • Side pull: Cranes are designed in such a way that they lift objects straight vertically up and down. But in case a side pull occurs it becomes extremely hazardous as it causes the rope to detach from its groove and cause further damage and stress by getting entangled.

A few common safety tips that can prevent accidents:

Following are few safety measures practicing which can reduce the risk factors related to overhead crane and can prevent a lot of accidents:

  • Do not overload the crane: A key safety measure is to never overload the crane for whatsoever reason. Always stick to the prescribed weight capacity.
  • Ensure daily maintenance: Daily maintenance is a key safety protocol. Make sure your overhead cranes are in good working condition and all parts are functional.

  • Secure all parts of the crane properly: Make sure all the ropes and breaks are properly secured at their relevant places when working with cranes. Nothing should go out of balance. Make no room for slippage.
  • Ensure people working with and around the crane are protected: Crane operators and other people working around the crane must be protected and should always wear protective gears such as commercial helmets and other things. They must understand and acknowledge the risk factors related to working with and around overhead hoists.
  • Let the most educated and experienced operator drive the machine: Only the trained operators understand the overhead cranes well. So, crane operators must be skilled, educated, licensed and properly trained. Experience is an added benefit. 

Published by Jack Louis