If you are planning on hiring a crane to do some on site lifting it is important you are aware of the legal requirements of safely operating cranes.
This is governed by The Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998. The act covers not only how to position the crane and lift the goods, but also how to keep records, examine the equipment, and reporting defects. You can find the full act here.
In this blog, we break down the basics of safely operating cranes and some tips for general site safety.
WHAT ARE THE RISKS?
According to the HSE, there have been 61 accidents since 2001 involving cranes. Sadly, 9 people have died and 25 have been seriously injured.
Unsurprisingly, construction, agriculture, and manufacturing are the riskiest industries to work in, with 61% of workplace fatalities occurring these three industries in 2017/2018, according to RIDDOR.
Generally speaking, there are two main hazards of operating cranes; the crane collapsing and the load falling.
The risk and impact are affected by the site itself. For example, a city centre crane is likely to pose a risk to more people than a crane in a farm building.
But that’s not to say that you need to prepare any less for a crane that is around fewer people.
FOUR KEY ASPECTS OF SAFELY OPERATING CRANES
1) PLANNING THE LIFTING OPERATION
The British Standard BS 7121 Part 1 2006 sets out the standard for managing lifting operations on construction jobs.
The law and standard asserts that the lifting job should be properly planned by a competent person. Risk assessments should be carried out. The hazards specific to that job and site should be identified and control measure should be put in place and acted upon. It isn’t enough to just state a control method-the hazard must be demonstrably controlled.
The plan should also identify the resources and procedures required to ensure the lift is safe, as well as recognising responsible people. It should also include plans to ensure the equipment remains in safe and proper working order throughout the lift.
2) SAFE SYSTEMS OF WORK
You should plan a safe method of working the lift. If the operation is particularly complicated, you should write it down in a method statement. You should also ensure everyone involved understands it.
The key elements of the method statement include:
-Site preparation and crane erection
-Selecting the correct equipment and crane
-Maintaining and examining the crane equipment
-Having properly trained and competent people involved and supervising the lift
-Maintaining proper records and reports
-Ensuring the safety of the people involved
-Preventing any unauthorised people from operating the crane.
3) SUPERVISION OF LIFTING
The lifting operation should be properly supervised by a person with the appropriate level of training, responsibility, and experience.
The crane supervisor should monitor all aspect of the lift and should be prepared to stop the lift if circumstances become unsafe.
4) THOROUGH EXAMINATION
The examination of the lifting equipment is governed by strict laws. It states specific times and circumstances under which the cranes need to be examined, how the records should be kept and details the need for a competent person.
Here at Altida, we will carry out all the necessary examinations with our competent persons and ensure all documentation is ready for inspection.
OTHER SAFETY MEASURES TO CONSIDER
Safely operating cranes is only part of the story, and there are other elements of on-site safety to consider.
For example, all staff should have had the relevant health and safety training and should be wearing suitable PPE.
It is also a good idea if your staff are working without supervision or across a large site to have some lone worker safety equipment. This will make sure that if they have an accident and need the emergency services or require assistance from a colleague, they can easily call for it.
OUR APPOINTED PERSONS
At Altida, we are experts in everything to do with lifting.
Whether you are lifting heavy loads on an uneven terrain or operating in a city centre with a small footprint available, we have the right crane for you.
Our most recent addition to the Altida fleet is an array of brand new tower cranes of varying capacity.
Our competent person would be happy to come out on site and do a free, no obligation site survey. We can also generate a thorough and detailed method statement for you. We will do all we can to ensure the safety of your lifting operations.