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Most construction and warehousing industries now use overhead cranes.  They are found in shipyards, the mining industry, steel factories, on construction sites, and more. An overhead crane is a vital tool in a wealth of different activities, being used to move extremely heavy items, which simply cannot be carried by manual labor alone. While these cranes are very common, it is incredibly important that only skilled operatives use them, as there is a very real risk of loss of life if they are not used properly.

Safety Regulations

The OSHA regulates the safety of overhead crane operations in this country. What these regulations stipulate is that a crane operator is responsible for everything that they do. However, they have to be supported in this by their employers. Key safety regulations include:

  • That both operators and their employers are 100% familiar with the machine.
  • That the operator is trained specifically on the type of crane they work on.
  • That operators have acceptable eyesight levels.
  • That operators have both hands and feet and that they are operational.
  • That the operator is of the right height.
  • That operators do not suffer from convulsive disorders.

In 2010, new rules were developed, which required crane operators to receive training accredited by the National Commission for the Certification of Crane Operators. During this training, they learn not just about crane operation, but also about the hazards associated with these machines, and the associated safety measures. Furthermore, they learn how to inspect a crane before every use.

There are many other requirements to ensure that someone can work safely with an overhead crane. All cranes now have to be equipped with audible signals, and both the operator and anyone else in the vicinity must fully understand what each signal means. Operators are also trained in giving certain hand signals, which other operatives must learn, so that they can communicate from a height and above certain noise levels.

Last but not least, operators must be fully trained in evacuation procedures, both in terms of getting themselves off the crane, and getting others away from it. This is vital to ensure the safety of everyone who works on a construction site or other industry. To achieve this, risk assessments must be conducted on a daily basis.

While this looks as if the overhead crane operator holds responsibility for everything, the reality is that it is actually the company and its management team that holds this. They must make sure that their operatives are properly trained and experienced, and that they stick to the rules. It is their responsibility to ensure every worker on their site is safe at all times. They should run regular inspections to ensure that rules and guidelines are being followed.

Overhead cranes are incredibly useful pieces of equipment. By their very nature, however, they are also very dangerous. Only if all the appropriate safety measures are put in place and adhered to, should these cranes be used.