Hazards Posed by Cranes and How to Use Them Safely

Cranes provide a number of essential services in many industries such as construction, manufacturing, maritime, and transportation. Although they greatly increase efficiency, they also carry a significant danger to their operators and those nearby. The Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) cites that around 70 fatalities each year are caused by cranes and other hoisting machines in the workplace.

These fatalities are caused by a range of incidents, from falling loads to tipped over machinery or fires caused by malfunctions. In light of the high percentage of incidents in relation to the number of workers exposed to the machinery, OSHA listed crane and hoist safety as a high priority topic of discussion in 1994. This distinction has led to the development and implementation of a number of safety measures for crane operators.

Safety measures to reduce crane accidents include:

  • Automatic alarm if fire is detected
  • Automatic crane shutdown if fire is detected
  • Boom tip camera to increase visibility and minimize blind spots
  • Brake redundancy, with an extra brake in place in the case that one should fail
  • Fail-safe brakes which automatically brake if the control system fails
  • Hands-off communication system to keep both hands on controls
  • Hydraulic system which enables maintenance of hydraulic refilling
  • Load holding valves which protect against movement if a hose should rupture
  • Manual emergency stop command which overrides all other commands
  • Two-way communication systems

Training and communication are key in maintaining a safe environment around a working crane. Workers must be able to communicate any issues, plans for executing work, and hazards that may arise. Signage is also important to warn other employees of any areas inside the danger zone of an operating crane. Blind spots and low visibility can make it difficult for operators to see other workers, so it is imperative that all workers understand the risks involved with cranes, even if they are not operators themselves.

If you have been injured in an accident involving a crane, you may have grounds to seek compensation. The attorneys of Arnold & Itkin have helped dockworkers, mariners, and other workers across the U.S. to recover from serious incidents and seek compensation for the negligence that contributed to their injuries on the job. Contact our work injury attorneys today for a free case evaluation.


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