Overhead cranes, including gantry cranes, are essential in many manufacturing, maintenance and industrial work environments when efficiency is required for lifting and moving heavy loads. Crane operators, riggers and employees that work near overhead cranes need to be aware of the unique hazards of these large machines.
Caught-in/Between, Struck-by/Against, Crane Overloading and Falling Materials are the most common industrial overhead crane hazards.
OSHA General Industry Standard 1910 Subpart N covers Materials Handling and Storage - Overhead and Gantry Cranes.
To ensure everyone stays safe when cranes are in operation, only trained and authorized workers should be allowed to operate any overhead crane.
Employees who work in the vicinity of the overhead crane must be trained in workplace general safety awareness to ensure all safety precautions are taken during the course of the work day to keep all workers safe.
Visitors should not be allowed near overhead cranes when they are in use.
OSHA General Industry Standard 1910.179(b)(8) Only designated personnel shall be permitted to operate a crane covered by this section.
Perform a basic crane inspection at the beginning of every shift or before using the crane for the first time each work day. At minimum, look for the following:
If any defects or issues are found during any inspection do not operate the crane and report immediately.
A crane inspection process should be implemented to document a more comprehensive periodic check of all cranes with written records maintained.
All crane operators, riggers and employees who work in the area where overhead cranes are in operation must wear the appropriate PPE, such as hard hats, safety glasses, work gloves and hard-toe boots.
The hoist operator and rigger should be trained in common crane operation hand signals, especially if there could ever be a situation when voice communications cannot be heard.
It is important that crane operators and riggers know the load rate. Load markings should be posted on the crane and hoist block. Before the lift, verify that the load is not heavier than the maximum load capacity.
Hoist operators and riggers should not engage in any other behavior while operating the crane that will divert their attention from the lift.
OSHA General Industry Standard 1910.179(n)(1) Size of load. The crane shall not be loaded beyond its rated load.
Do not attempt to perform maintenance or repairs on any crane unless you have been trained.
Before any maintenance is performed on a crane, follow lockout/tagout procedures.
OSHA General Industry Standard 1910.179(n)(3)(x) The employer shall insure that the operator does not leave his position at the controls while the load is suspended.
If overhead or gantry cranes are used in your shop, warehouse or workplace, then make sure you don't skip the safety meeting! All employees who work in the area should be familiar with the unique hazards associated with industrial overhead cranes and the safe work practices expected.
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