On Feb. 5, the boom of a massive crawler crane was overtaken by the force of high winds in the middle of New York City.
As the operator tried to safely lower the crane back towards the city street below, the crane tipped, and the 565-foot boom began its horrifying descent, leaving destruction and a lost life in its wake.
A major accident is every crane operator’s worst nightmare, and while accidents like the recent tragedy in New York don’t make the news every day, accidents are one of the primary causes of work-related deaths in the construction industry, according to Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) data.
The majority of these incidents are caused by human error.
In the wake of the accident in New York, Mayor Bill DeBlasio has introduced a series of new policies governing the use of construction booms. In addition, he has ordered that the 376 crawler cranes and 53 tower cranes operating in the city need to be checked, and secured.
Fatal accidents like the one in New York highlight the importance of having an effective risk mitigation strategy in place to ensure any on-site risks, or faults with the equipment are identified, and corrected before an accident occurs.
Here are some crane accident risk mitigation tips to remember at your job site.
- Regularly survey all areas of your crane site for possible risk factors. Safeguard crane sites for lifting operations, and identify all potential hazards. Also make sure there’s adequate space for assembling and disassembling the crane. Assess all dangers, ranging from existing infrastructure, nearby power lines, gas pipelines, and other hidden threats.
- Develop a detailed crane safety plan for every lift. A detailed crane safety plan can ensure a new or existing problem isn’t overlooked.Delegate crane safety to a competent worker, and make sure the safety procedures are followed. An inspector should check the crane before the machine is used, to identify any mechanical problems that could result in a potential accident.
- Recruit a capable professional to supervise crane operations and safety. Your supervisors should be competent people capable of identifying any hazards within a specific workplace operation. They should also have the authority to stop unsafe operations quickly, if needed.
- Employ qualified operators and technicians. Human error is unfortunately one of the major causes of crane accidents. Crane operators must be qualified, and competent with all aspects of a crane’s operation. If any part of a crane is in need of repair, it should be fixed by a qualified professional.
- Protect your most important asset. Cab reinforcement can help reduce the likelihood of an operator being injured, or even killed, if something strikes the crane’s cab. This may not be an appropriate strategy for tower cranes due to their elevation, but for mobile cranes, this strategy could be crucial.
- Service your equipment regularly. Cranes have to undergo a comprehensive inspection on a regular basis to check for any damaged parts that could lead to accidents, like cracked, worn-out ropes, or faulty wiring. Here at Larry Collier Crane Parts we offer same-day shipping for many U.S. cities and our parts catalog includes Demag, American, Comedil, P&H and Terex, as well as Kessler Axle, PAT, Greer, rebuilt Liebherr & Krupp parts, Mercedes Benz engines, and Quick Disconnect couplings.
- Mind the elements. The wind, as well as other variable elements, should be considered a major safety concern. In a recent OSHA study, wind was found to be one of the primary causes of crane accidents in the United States.
Larry Collier Crane Parts & Services offers crane repair services, and diagnostic assistance that can help you keep your job site safe. Request a quote today!