Determining Crane Load Capacity
One of the most important tasks a crane operator must perform is checking on crane load capacity before attempting a lift. Trying to lift a load beyond the crane's limitations can cause a disaster by tipping the crane over and causing serious injuries. The important keys to ensure lifting safety and work efficiency are understanding of the crane load capacity.
Understanding Load Charts
Every crane has its own load chart issued by the manufacturer which indicates the maximum amount of weight the crane is capable of lifting. It's important for the operator to study the load chart in the planning stages of the lift. Others who should be aware of crane load capacity include project managers and sales representatives.
The chart will list data on crane dimensions and weight and lift capacity. Additionally, it will provide diagrams for lift ranges and lift angles. The ability to properly read a load chart is crucial, especially when lifting in a confined space.
Selecting a Crane and Operator
It's important for rigging experts to study the work site and load charts before determining what type of crane to use. The type of crane needed must be able to safely lift a specific load type and limit. The operator must also take into account the type of surface involved, since asphalt can sometimes cause slippage in warm weather. Use of outriggers can also be a factor that affects load capacity.
Since 2017 OSHA has required that crane operators be certified through accredited training programs. The primary reason for this move was to reduce crane accidents, which are often caused by operator error. Many unnecessary accidents have occurred due to employees not taking time to read the load charts or just taking chances, while being aware of the risks. This is why it's important to hire an experienced crane operator who has a clean track record.
Taking Extra Precautions
The more you plan for safety, the better the chances of a smooth operation.A few extra steps can continue to reduce safety risks. In some cases, placing cribbing under the outriggers can help maintain stability, as long as the cribbing can handle the load over a strong surface.
You should also establish a control zone which takes into account the swing radius, so you can use barricades around the area. It's essential to keep the boom away from power lines, which can cause electric shock. Keep in mind that cranes were designed for vertical lifting. Clear communication with other workers will help ensure that the work is done safely and correctly.
The reason crane load capacity is at the core of understanding how a crane works is because a crane, like all machines, has limitations. Ignoring these limitations can cause death and property damage from a falling crane. Always be aware that trying to lift too much weight at one time can cause an imbalance in the crane's center of gravity. So know the crane's lifting capacity and plan jobs in advance.
When you need a crane for your next project, be sure to hire an experienced operator at Southwest Industrial Rigging.