If you commonly work in construction zones, then you know that safety is one of the most important considerations on the work site. While you may already be aware of the way to use a skid steer, bulldozer, or dump truck safely, you may not know about the best ways to stay safe when using an overhead crane. Overhead cranes may sometimes be needed to move the heaviest and biggest pieces of construction materials from one space to another. If you are new to using a crane, then make sure that you avoid electrical hazards that may cause electrocution. While safety and general crane usage training may touch on a variety of safety concerns, make sure to keep the following tips in mind as well to keep first time crane usage mistakes at bay.
Set Up a Danger Zone
If you usually work on the ground with loaders and dozers, then electrical lines are likely not a consideration of yours. This is especially true since most of the wires will sit between 10 and 12 feet above your head. This height may be the same or a bit lower than your overhead crane, especially if you are using a boom truck or moving materials several stories above ground level. This means that close electrical lines on your work site are an electrocution hazard. To keep electrocution concerns at bay, you will need to set up a danger zone around the electrical lines. According to OSHA, a 10 foot perimeter must be set around electrical line areas.
It can be difficult or impossible to secure a barrier that is tall enough to prevent the passing of the overhead crane near electrical lines. You should make sure the danger zone is clearly marked though with a regulation OSHA danger sign that is red, white, and black. This sign, as well as yellow and black hazard tape should be secured to construction fencing. This will help to make sure that the danger zone is clear and properly marked so you can avoid it when using the crane.
Use Wireless Controls
Overhead cranes allow you to use a variety of different controls to move booms, the crane itself, and attachments that grip, lower, and raise loads. Typically, the controls are wired to the actual crane to allow for quick and accurate movements. However, this wire provides a direct route for electricity to flow from the power lines, to the crane, and directly to your body. This will happen since the electricity will seek a path to a grounded or stable space. This space is the earth, and your body will let the electricity move there. While rubber gloves and boots can prevent an issue like this from occurring, these items can easily be forgotten. You should instead invest in wireless controls for the crane you are using. This way, there is no path for the electricity and electrocution will not be an issue.
Wireless controls usually come with the handheld digital remote control as well as a receiving assembly. The assembly along with the antenna are attached to the electrical components of the crane and a digital signal is sent from the antenna to the remote control. These devices usually have quite a long range. Typically, you can stand several hundred yards away from the crane and expect the controls to work properly.
Use a Crew
If for some reason you need to control the overhead crane at an angle that makes it difficult to determine how close the crane moves to nearby electrical lines, then it is wise to ask several different workers to observe you and the crane movements to make sure you do not come too close. This is also a good idea if you need to work within 50 feet or less of the 10 foot danger zone.
Ask four or five workers to stand in different areas around the work zone to observe you. Use headsets or other wireless communication devices so you and the crew can remain in constant contact while you work with the crane. Ask every member to give an all clear signal as you work and a danger signal while the crane is moving to indicate that the crane is coming close to the electrical lines.
For more information on crane usage and rentals, talk with professional rental companies, such as A C Jones Trucking Inc.