Crane Safety

This talk applies to all types of cranes, including mobile cranes, overhead or gantry cranes and jib cranes. It is important to understand the characteristics and methods to operate your crane safely. The U.S. Department of Labor cites an average of 82 deaths per year due to crane accidents at construction sites alone.

Crane Safety Tips

  • Know the load limitations of your crane and the weight of the load to be lifted. Do not move the load if the weight is uncertain.
  • When calculating the weight of the load, consider internal fluids or objects within the load that could increase the weight.
  • Evaluate the center of gravity of the load when attaching rigging.  A load with an offset center of gravity may not lift level or be stable and may exceed the capacity of the rigging.
  • Inspect the load for additional forces applied to it other than the vertical upward force of the crane, such as water, mud and wind. Unforeseen forces on the load could create a sudden jerk or impact on the crane and introduce more safety hazards.
  • Ensure rigging and cribbing is adequate to support the crane and the load.
  •  Ensure the crane able to move the load without tipping.  Inspect ground conditions, outriggers and weather before lifting a load.
  • Understand the reach and travel limits of the crane before moving the load to avoid extra handling, sudden stops and uncontrolled load swings.When lifting a load, avoid placing side loads on the crane.  This can cause the crane to be unstable and /or cause the load to swing.Never use the crane to pull or drag a load. This introduces frictional forces that could exceed the rated crane load capacity.
  • For heavy,  awkwardly-shaped loads or when conditions warrant, use tag lines to help guide the load.

Presenter tips

  • Pre-read the Toolbox Talk. Your comfort level and confidence will be higher if you know your topic.
  • Discuss related tasks, work areas or events that make the Toolbox Talk relevant to your job site.
  • Involve the workers by asking questions and input that drives discussion.

Questions for Discussion

  • What is the difference between a static and dynamic load? Which load is safer? 
  • What is the most dangerous safety hazard related to mobile cranes on this site?