Training to be a good Crane operator can be quite straight forward, all you need to do is jump on a training course but there are a number of things to also take into consideration to be a good crane operator. Here is our guide to safe lifting and crane operations.
1. Safe lifting using a crane
If you are an employer or a self-employed person providing lifting equipment for use at work, or if you have control of the use of lifting equipment, you must make sure that the work is carried out safely and the right equipment for the task is used.
Think about what risks there may be and how they can be managed. For example:
- damage or deterioration of the equipment or attachments caused by wet, abrasive or corrosive environments;
- equipment failure;
- untrained workers planning the lift or using the equipment;
- trying to move loads that exceed the load limit of the machine;
- uncontrolled movement of the load or the equipment.
Safe lifting needs to be properly planned by a competent person, appropriately supervised, and carried out safely taking into account the environment and operating conditions. Any equipment you use must have been properly designed, manufactured and tested.
Don’t forget maintenance.
Why is equipment maintenance important?
Lifting equipment must be maintained to ensure it is safe for use. The frequency of maintenance is determined by a number of factors, including:
- the environment in which it is used;
- the frequency of use;
- the consequences of failure;
- the people using the equipment.
2. What can go wrong?
Using lifting equipment can present a number of hazards:
- people can be hit and injured by:
– moving parts;
– dropped loads;
– unplanned or unintended movement or release of loads;
- people can be crushed between moving loads and parts of the machine, walls or other objects;
- parts of the body can be drawn in or trapped between rollers, belts, chains and pulley drives;
- lifting equipment or accessories for lifting can become unreliable and develop faults due to poor maintenance, or machines may be used improperly through inexperience or lack of training;
- parts of the equipment may fail and loads may drop.
When deciding how to reduce the risks from using a particular piece of lifting equipment, you need to consider the:
- type of load being lifted, its weight, shape and what it consists of;
- risk of a load falling, moving, breaking up or striking a person or object and the consequences;
- risk of the lifting equipment striking a person or an object and the consequences;
- risk of the lifting equipment failing or falling over while in use and the consequences; and
- risk of damage to the lifting equipment that could result in failure.
3. Factors you should consider
- What are you lifting and what problems does it present?
- How heavy is it and is this within the safe limits for the lifting equipment and accessories?
- Where is its centre of gravity?
- How will you attach it to the lifting machinery?
- Who is in control of the lift?
- Could you rehearse the lift if necessary?
- Are there any additional risks, eg from high winds or other weather conditions?
- The route of the lift – will the load be lifted over an occupied area?
4. Dos and don’ts of lifting safely
- Use equipment that is marked with it’s safe working load, which is not overdue for examination, or is new with an EC Declaration of Conformity less than one year old, and was not assembled on site for this lift.
- Plan the lifting work, identifying the equipment, people and method of lifting.
- Make sure the load is properly attached to the lifting equipment. If necessary, securely bind the load to prevent it slipping or falling off.
- Before lifting an unbalanced load, find out it’s centre of gravity. Raise it a few inches off the ground and pause – there will be little harm if it drops.
- Use packing to prevent sharp edges of the load from damaging slings and do not allow equipment to be damaged by being dropped, dragged from under loads or subjected to sudden loads.
- When using jib cranes, make sure any indicators for safe loads are working properly and set correctly for the job and the way the machine is configured.
- Use outriggers where necessary.
- When using multi-leg slings make sure the sling angle is taken into account.
- Have a responsible slinger or banksman and use a recognised signalling system.
- Check weather conditions where the lift could be affected.
- Keep the reports of thorough examination as well as any declarations of conformity or test certificates (see ‘Thorough examination’ section).
- Use unsuitable equipment, eg makeshift, damaged, badly worn chains shortened with knots, kinked or twisted wire ropes, frayed or rotted fibre ropes.
- Exceed the safe working load of machinery or accessories like chains, slings and grabs. Remember that the load in the legs of a sling increases as the angle between the legs widens.
- Lift a load if you doubt its weight or the adequacy of the equipment.
5. Safe use of Cranes
There are four key aspects to the safe use of cranes:
Planning lifting operations
All lifting operations should be planned by an Appointed Person so they are carried out safely with foreseeable risks taken into account. The plan will need to address the risks identified by a risk assessment, the resources required, procedures and the responsibilities so that any lifting operation is carried out safely.
Safe systems of work
You must plan lifting operations carefully to ensure safety, which should result in a safe system of work and this information should be recorded. The record is sometimes known as a method statement and you must ensure that everyone involved understands it.
Key elements include:
- planning – including site preparation, crane erection and dismantling;
- selection, provision and use of a suitable crane and work equipment including safe slinging and signalling arrangements;
- maintenance and examination of the crane and equipment;
- provision of properly trained and competent personnel;
- supervision of operations by personnel having the necessary authority;
- thorough examinations, reports and other documents;
- preventing unauthorised movement or use of the crane; and
- measures to secure safety of persons not involved in the lifting.
Supervision of lifting
The right level of supervision must be in place for lifting operations, reflecting the degree of risk and personnel involved in the particular lifting operation. The crane supervisor should direct and supervise the lifting operation to make sure it is carried out in accordance with the method statement.
There are strict legal requirements concerning the thorough examination of all cranes. The Lifting equipment must be thoroughly examined at the prescribed intervals by a competent person.
The examination will usually be arranged by the crane hire company, although it is the responsibility of the crane user to ensure that all necessary examinations are carried out and that the required reports are in order and readily available to enforcing authorities in written form.
Those are our 5 things about training to be a good crane operator which we think are important. Tower and mobile cranes are used extensively on construction projects and present two principal hazards:
- Collapse of the crane – such incidents present significant potential for multiple fatal injuries, both on and off-site;
- Falling of the load – these events also present a significant potential for death and major injury.
Other incidents have involved people being struck by moving loads, cranes contacting overhead conductors and cranes colliding with each other. An Important note for crane operators: The legal responsibilities for safe lifting operations are usually shared between the crane hirer and crane user.
Crane operator and Slinger training
Kentra Training can deliver a number of different Cranes and lifting courses, become a crane operator with us and we can teach you to operate any of these types of lifting machines.
- Mobile Crane
- Crawler Crane
- Overhead Crane
- Compact Mini and Spider Crane
In addition to the lifting roles of
- The Appointed Person
- Crane and Lift Supervisor
- Slinger and Signaller
With all the risks mentioned above it is so important to refresh your crane operator training and slinger on a regular basis. The HSE recommend this every 3 to 5 years. Appointed person courses are not able to be renewed with NPORS and a 1 day course will be required to continue with your membership.
If you would like any details about the above courses or any of our other training please get in touch or call on 01606 832 556, we are waiting to help you through the minefield of courses and information on Lifting Training.