New To Operating An Overhead Crane? Stay Safe With These 4 Tips

Posted on: 10 July 2017

If you have recently met all of OSHA requirements for operating an overhead crane, you may still be concerned about running the machine at your factory for the first time. If so, use the following tips to prevent accidents and mishaps while you are new to operating an industrial overhead crane.

Stay Close to the Power Disconnect Switch

Before you do anything, make sure you know where the crane's power disconnect switch is located. This switch cuts the electrical current to the overhead crane instantly.

If something happens while you are operating the crane, you may need to power down the machine in a hurry. For example, if the cargo load shifts and is in danger of coming detached, you need to be able to stop the crane at a faster speed than the brakes allow.

Once you have located the power disconnect switch, make sure you stay close to it at all times while the crane is running. If the location of the control panel makes this difficult, have an assistant stand near the switch with a radio so you can signal them to hit the switch in an emergency.

Inspect the Rigging Before Attaching Each Load

Although you or your supervisor will be inspecting the crane at the beginning of each shift, a good habit to get into is to check the rigging before you attach each and every load. You never know if the cable or hook has become damaged throughout the day.

During this quick inspection, check the cables to make sure there are no obvious signs of breakage or fraying. Then, make sure the hook has not cracked or become bent after transporting a particularly heavy cargo load.

Make Sure the Crane Will Clear Electrical Lines

Before you turn on the crane and start transporting the cargo, carefully check the path to make sure no electrical power lines are in the way. Since the main components of the crane are metal, they serve as a perfect conductor of electricity, even when you do not want them to do so.

If the crane were to come into contact with an electrical line, one of two things could happen. First, the crane may conduct the electricity down to your or another worker's position, electrocuting you or them. 

Second, the movement of the crane could break the line. If the electrical line becomes severed, it could fall on someone standing nearby or strike another piece of metal machinery. Either situation could result in electrocution. Also, depending on what the line lands on, there is the risk of a fire breaking out.

Let Everyone Know Before Transporting a Load

Even if you have taken every precaution to ensure the rigging is intact and the load is perfectly balanced, there is always the risk of the cargo shifting during transport. This change in weight distribution could cause the load to come crashing to the floor, possibly causing serious injury to anyone standing underneath the falling cargo.

As a precautionary measure, let everyone know that the crane will be in operation before you start transporting a load. This gives them the heads up to stay out of the crane's path. The alert could be delivered via the radio, or a distinctive audible bell or buzzer could be used.

Remembering to follow the above tips along with your training can help reduce the risk of accidents while operating an overhead crane. For more information on the crane's operation, contact the manufacturer from which the factory purchased the industrial crane to find out about specific safety features and tips associated with the model you are using.

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