Mobile cranes have revolutionized the construction and heavy equipment industries with such impact that they have become one of the most fundamental utilities to be employed in those fields. As a result, they have diversified in form and function, creating employment opportunities, and improving efficiency and safety in a variety of work sites. The safe operation of any heavy utility in a work site is an essential component in preventing harm to people and surrounding structures, making safety protocols a must-have before carrying out any operation. Mobile crane operators are required to know all these safety protocols, that not only apply during the operation of the crane but also steps taken before and after, to ensure safe operation.
Before the operation, the mobile crane operator must go through several steps before going ahead using the mobile crane. Below are some areas of note that the mobile crane operator, site safety manager, and site workers should be aware of when getting ready to begin mobile crane operation.
Avoid Common Mobile Crane Mistakes – Start With a Plan
Avoid common mobile crane mistakes by coming up with a plan before ever starting the engine. Draw a plan that overviews your intended activities for the day. Creating a plan makes it less likely for injury and to visualize your processes.
For example, it would be very time-consuming to move loads in the morning onto an intended path for trucks and have to remove said loads again, simply because of a lack of proper planning.
A setup plan also entails doing an assessment of the mobile crane’s placement position, accounting for hazards like air pockets underneath the surface, powered overhead lines, proximity to building structures, and the nature of the surface (loose gravel, concrete, etc.) the mobile crane is to be deployed on. The weather analysis is also included as part of the plan, as it can prepare the crane operator to accommodate for changing environmental conditions.
Know Your Mobile Crane Equipment Thoroughly
It is essential for the mobile crane operator to have a deep understanding of the crane they intend to operate. Cranes are complex machines, with several moving parts and components that transfer weight and stress as they move. Understanding how these parts relate to each other is crucial in operating the crane safely and efficiently. Manufacturer manuals come with diagrams and explanations showing all parts of the machine, and should be thoroughly read through on a frequent basis, and kept close at hand for reference. Areas to pay attention to include the crane’s stabilizers, the load-bearing, and lifting components, and the controls used to get a job done.
Secure the Heavy Equipment Site
Making sure the site is secure involves taking measures to eliminate or minimize any potential harm that could come to the crane, its operator, any site workers, structures in close proximity, and the ground on which the crane is set up. Some of these mobile crane security procedures may require the input of external personnel, (such as geotechnical engineers to assess the ground composition and necessary stability) so the crane operator and/or their employer may need to work together with others to secure the site. If need be, sections can be cordoned off to prevent movement through the crane’s operation area.
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Conduct a Mobile Crane Inspection
This essential step should never be skipped, as it serves as the crane operator’s best baseline for determining the current state of the mobile crane. Crane inspections are a full spectrum analysis platform the crane operator uses to individually check for damage and wear of the crane’s components. Thanks to their training, certified crane operators have earned themselves the skills they need to carry out thorough checks on the mobile crane, making certification an important factor to consider when hiring or advancing one’s skill.
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Test Everything Before Starting a Mobile Crane
Before deploying the mobile crane, carry out a full range test of its parts, without any loads attached. A full test is different from an inspection in that the mobile crane is switched on, and its components are free to move. This adds a new perspective to problem identification, as the mobile crane operator can visually notice abnormal movements and hear any inappropriate sounds or noises.
Once all these steps have been taken, it is now much safer to deploy the crane and begin site operations. A last bit of advice, which is often overlooked, would be to use common sense. If something about the crane feels or looks off, it is better to be safe and stop all operations, until the crane can be confidently operated.