In 2016, the U.S. private sector reported 2.9 million cases of workplace injuries and illnesses. That means these hazards occurred in almost three out of 100 full-time employees.
Sadly, many of these injuries were preventable.
This is especially true in the construction industry. Of almost the 4,700 worker fatalities that occurred in 2016, more than 21% happened in this sector.
Because of this, regulations surrounding crane inspections have become more rigorous. After all, these inspections are key to safe operation of these heavy machines. They help reduce the dangers that more than 250,000 crane operators in the country face on-site.
There are ways to ensure your cranes meet regulatory compliance inspections though. This is through carrying out your own preventative maintenance and inspections.
Keep reading to learn more about these preventative crane maintenance strategies!
Understand the OSHA Inspection Checklist
Whether it’s for mobile or overhead crane safety, there are OSHA regulations you need to master.
OSHA classifies crane inspection in three levels. There are daily, monthly, and periodic inspections. Make sure everyone who accesses and operates the machines understands these.
Use the OSHA crane inspection checklist as your basis for preventative maintenance.
For example, daily crane inspections mean checking for visible hook cracks and damages. Ensuring proper adjustment of operating mechanisms are also under daily crane inspection requirements. The same goes true for checking leaks in drain pumps, valves, and tanks.
Keep records of all the daily, monthly, and periodic crane inspections you carry out. This’ll help you figure out which parts need repairs or replacements ASAP. Once you have a better idea of what needs fixing or changing, do so right away.
That way, you can lessen the stress placed on your cranes. This then results in both enhanced crane safety and construction productivity.
Use Specific Cranes for Specific Jobs
There are five different types of cranes, each with their specific uses. For starters, there’s the truck crane that has a lift and can also serve as a means of transportation. That’s right – you can drive these machines on public highways.
Then, there’s the tower crane, the base of which is (most often) attached to the ground. As their name suggests, they have impressive height spans and reaches. That makes them a must in tall building construction.
Our point is, you wouldn’t use a truck crane for a job that needs a tower crane, would you? That’s the first step to proper crane use, which then ensures the safety of machine operation.
Preventing machine failures that put lives at risk starts with using the right type of crane.
Follow Your Crane Manufacturer’s Maintenance Recommendations
Preventative maintenance is the best way to protect your crane operators. It’s also the best protection from productivity- and income-reducing downtime.
The ideal place to start is with your heavy equipment’s manufacturer recommendations. All crane operators should, at the very least, familiarize themselves with these guidelines.
That’s advice coming from the OEMs, who have the best idea of each crane part’s lifespan. Follow their advice, and you can boost crane safety and lower the risks of crane failures.
Create a Strict Maintenance Program Based on Your Crane’s Use
When creating this program, consider the following factors:
- The type of crane
- The crane’s age
- Environmental conditions where you operate the equipment
- How often the machine sees use
These are all factors that affect the lifespan of each part of your heavy equipment. For instance, daily maintenance may be best for steel plant cranes. Whereas cranes you don’t use that often may only need maintenance twice a year.
The most important thing is to base your maintenance program on these considerations. However, be sure to also factor in OEM recommendations. It should also go without saying that you should be strict in its enforcement!
Make Sure All Operators Have Had Proper Training
Anyone who goes behind the wheel or in any way uses the crane should have had proper training. That includes all crane operators, inspectors, and appointed maintenance personnel.
Inspectors and maintenance staff should know the workings of the equipment they handle. The crane inspection checklist is a long one, but they should have a firm grasp of everything in it.
Whereas crane operators should have mastery of proper crane usage. Keep in mind that the misuse of cranes is one of the most common causes of preventable accidents. Improper use is also a common culprit behind pricey equipment damage.
As you can see, comprehensive training is a must to keep your cranes in great working condition. It’s key to a successful preventative crane maintenance plan.
Invest in Technological Crane Upgrades
Upgrades, like Variable Frequency Drive (VFD), increase crane safety and lengthens machine life. This technology allows for electronic control and programming of these heavy machines. It allows you to track the crane’s status through electronic displays.
Thanks to innovations like this, it’s easier to spot potential problems. The earlier you discover signs of a faulty crane, the sooner you can have it repaired. This then lets you reduce possible downtime, but more importantly, keep operators safe.
Upgrades like VFD can also help you save on energy costs. They also lessen stress on the machine’s inner workings. All these contribute to longer equipment life, which also means lower repair costs.
Hire the Right People for Crane Inspections
All the above-discussed tips are for preventative crane maintenance. Following these strategies will help keep your construction site safe and productive.
Keep in mind that you still need to meet OSHA-approved crane inspections though. For that make sure you hire only qualified crane inspectors! They should have extensive experience in carrying out OSHA-approved crane inspections.
It’s important you look into their credentials and qualifications, as it’s your people’s safety on the line. That’s where we can help. Connect with us now so we can help you ensure optimal crane safety and operations!