Cranes of many types are standard pieces of equipment in most precast operations. Anyone who has used a crane knows that working with and around them can be dangerous. Fortunately, crane accidents are preventable, and the rewards can be significant. Some of the primary causes of crane accidents include inexperience, neglecting to preplan a lift, failure to inspect the crane and rigging before beginning a lift, not setting up properly for a lift, an improperly rigged load, and not knowing how to read a load chart. Although these guidelines are not all-inclusive, they can help in developing a crane safety program.
General principles: hand signals--don't begin any lift unless everyone involved understands accepted crane hand signals. During the lift--every crane operator should understand and know how to use a crane's load chart. All loads should be properly rigged. Don't lift, swing, lower, or stop a load too fast.
Overhead Cranes: at the start of each day or shift, visually check the crane for any damage. Next operate the crane through all of its functions. Never attempt to pull or slide a load along the floor or ground with a crane. The operator should always know the weight of the object to be lifted and how to properly rig it for lifting. On cranes equipped with a pendant control, instruct workers not to let go of the control box unless the pendant line is in a vertical position.
Rough-terrain and truck cranes: at the start of each day, inspect the condition of the crane before starting the engine. As you walk around the machine, look for any signs of physical damage. Look for fluid leaks. Check the crane's major components, such as outriggers, wire rope, boom and sheaves, and hook. Also check all rigging and other lifting devices. Inside the cab, check that the soles of your shoes and the machine's foot pedals are clean and dry. See that the load chart and other instructions are visible. After the engine has warmed up, check the operation of all significant systems.