One of the most serious hazards that cranes present is collapse of the equipment caused by exceeding the crane's rated capacity. The term "rated capacity" is defined as:
the maximum working load permitted by the manufacturer under specified working conditions. Such working conditions typically include a specific combination of factors such as equipment configuration, radii, boom length, and other parameters of use.
The combination of factors that enter into rated capacity is set forth in a load chart that must be on the equipment. In general, the load chart states the weight of the load that the crane can lift at different boom radii. The longer the radius at which the lift occurs, the smaller amount of weight the crane can lift.
Cranes must not be operated in excess of its rated capacity. Some crane users believe they can safely exceed the rated capacity because the manufacturer includes a safety factor in the load chart. However, any safety factor included by the manufacturer is not intended to be treated as excess capacity. It is included because a variety of variable worksite conditions, such as swinging of the load caused by wind or other factors, can reduce the capacity of the crane from that which exists under ideal conditions.
To comply with the rated capacity, the weight of the load must be known. Before beginning a lift, you must determine the load weight by using a reliable means.
In addition to complying with the rated capacity, the operator must comply with all other manufacturer procedures applicable to the operation of the equipment. If the manufacturer's procedures are unavailable, procedures for the operational controls must be developed by a qualified person. Procedures related to the capacity of the equipment must be developed and signed by a registered professional engineer familiar with the equipment.
All procedures applicable to the operation of the equipment, including rated capacities (load charts), recommended operating speeds, special hazard warnings, instructions, and operator's manual, must be readily available in the cab at all times for use by the operator.
The operator must not engage in any practice or activity that diverts their attention while engaged in operating the equipment, such as the use of a cell phone (except when used for signal communications).
The operator must not leave the controls while the load is suspended except where ALL of the following criteria are met:
The four criteria immediately above do not apply to working gear (such as slings, spreader bars, ladders, and welding machines) where the weight of the working gear is negligible relative to the lifting capacity of the equipment as positioned, and the working gear is suspended over an area other than an entrance or exit.
When the equipment is out of service, a tag must be placed in the cab stating that the equipment is out of service and is not to be used. Where a function is out of service, a tag must be placed in a conspicuous position stating that the function is out of service and is not to be used. The equipment or function may not be used until the tag is removed by an authorized person.
Before starting the engine, the operator must verify that all controls are in the proper starting position and that all personnel are in the clear.
When a local storm warning has been issued, the competent person must determine whether it is necessary to implement manufacturer recommendations for securing the equipment. The competent person must adjust the equipment and/or operations to address the effect of wind, ice, and snow on equipment stability and rated capacity.
The equipment must not be used to drag or pull loads sideways.
The operator must test the brakes each time a load that is 90% or more of the maximum line pull is handled by lifting the load a few inches and applying the brakes. In duty cycle and repetitive lifts where each lift is 90% or more of the maximum line pull, this requirement applies to the first lift but not to successive lifts.
To prevent rope from becoming detached from a drum, neither the load nor the boom must be lowered below the point where less than two full wraps of rope remain on their respective drums.
Traveling with a load is prohibited if the practice is prohibited by the manufacturer. Where it is not prohibited, you must take precautions to prevent hazardous movement of the load and avoid excessive movement of the load that could overload the crane.
Section 1418 provides that, whenever there is a concern about safety, the operator must have the authority to stop and refuse to handle loads until a qualified person has determined that safety has been assured.
A crane operator often needs a signal person to operate safely. A signal person must be provided:
During operations requiring signals, the ability to transmit signals between the operator and signal person must be maintained. If that ability is interrupted at any time, the operator must safely stop operations until signal transmission is reestablished and a proper signal is given and understood.
Only one person may give signals to a crane/derrick at a time, though any person may give an emergency stop signal.
Hand, voice, audible, or new signals are allowed. The type of signals used and means of transmitting the signals to the operator (such as direct line of sight, video, radio, etc.), must be appropriate for the site conditions. All directions given to the operator by the signal person must be given from the operator's perspective.
This is the most common method of signaling on worksites. When using hand signals, the Standard Method must be used.
Hand signal charts must be either posted on the equipment or conspicuously posted in the vicinity of the hoisting operation.
These are signals given by oral communication, with or without amplification or electronic transmission. If this type of signal is used, the operator, signal person, and lift director (if there is one) must, before beginning operations, contact each other and agree on the voice signals that will be used.
These are signals made by a distinct sound or series of sounds, such as sounds made by a bell, horn, or whistle. As with other types of signals, the signal person and operator must clearly understand the meaning of the signals being used.
If appropriate, new methods for signaling may be used such as video monitoring, as long as it meets all OSHA requirements for signaling.
Section 1424 is designed to protect employees who work near a crane from being struck or crushed by the crane's rotating superstructure. To prevent employees from entering an area where they could be struck/crushed, the employer must:
Before an employee goes to a location in the hazard area that is out of view of the operator, the employee (or someone instructed by the employee) must ensure that the operator is informed that he/she is going to that location.
Where the operator knows that an employee went to such a location, the operator must not rotate the superstructure until the operator is informed in accord with a pre-arranged system of communication that the employee is in a safe position.
Section 1425 seeks to protect employees against being struck by a moving or falling load.
Where available, hoisting routes that minimize the exposure of employees to hoisted loads must be used, to the extent consistent with public safety.
While the operator is not moving a suspended load, no employee may be within the fall zone, except for employees:
When employees in the fall zone are engaged in hooking, unhooking, or guiding the load, or are connecting a load to a component or structure, all of the following criteria must be met:
Only employees needed to receive a load are permitted to be within the fall zone when a load is being landed.
Employers may not use cranes and derricks to hoist employees, unless:
A personnel platform is not required for hoisting employees:
A pre-lift meeting must be held before the trial lift to review the applicable requirements of Section 1431 and the procedures that will be followed. The meeting must be attended by the equipment operator, signal person (if used for the lift), employees to be hoisted, and the person responsible for the task to be performed.
A trial lift with the unoccupied personnel platform loaded at least to the anticipated lift weight must be made from ground level, or any other location where employees will enter the platform, to each location at which the platform is to be hoisted and positioned.
Where there is more than one location to be reached from a single set-up position, either individual trial lifts for each location, or a single trial lift, in which the platform is moved sequentially to each location, must be performed; the method selected must be the same as the method that will be used to hoist the personnel.
Immediately after the trial lift, a competent person must visually inspect the equipment, base support or ground, and personnel platform to determine whether the trial lift has exposed any defect or problem or produced any adverse effect. Any condition found during the trial lift and subsequent inspection that fails to meet a requirement of this standard or otherwise creates a safety hazard must be corrected before hoisting personnel.
Prior to hoisting employees on the personnel platform, and after any repair or modification, the platform and rigging must be proof tested to 125 percent of the platform's rated capacity. The proof test may be done concurrently with the trial lift. Personnel hoisting must not be conducted until a competent person determines that the platform and rigging have successfully passed the proof test.
Hoisting personnel within 20 feet of a power line that is up to 350 kV, and hoisting personnel within 50 feet of a power line that is more than 350 kV, is prohibited (except for power transmission and distribution work).
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Watch this Mega Cranes video that took an employee up 200 ft to the top of their tower crane on a construction site in Burnaby, BC. For him to be able to climb the tower he had to have to have his Fall Protection Certificate, which he took online prior to climbing the crane.