Cranes have a crucial role in a number of industries such as construction, manufacturing, marine terminals, long shoring and others. In fact, these are the industries that make our daily lives possible. The safety of cranes and operators is an important concern. It is regulated by rules from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). A number of factors can affect the safety of operations: weather, overloading, instability of the rig. Steel crane mats and outrigger pads are the basis of crane safety and stability, and can help to prevent tragic accidents.
Crane accidents cause tragic losses
Cranes are used to move and lift large and heavy loads. The very nature of the work demands careful attention to safety guidelines in order to avoid accidents. Yet accidents occur with almost dismal regularity. And between 1997 and 2006, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported around 82 crane-related fatalities.
There are many possible causes for accidents. Weather, overloading, lack of precautions in operating, and inadequate training of operators can all causes tragic losses. Mobile cranes in particular are apt to “flip” while in use. The risk of a crane tipping over is increased if it is overloaded. The CDC estimates that cranes upset at the rate of one for every 10,000 hours of use. That’s an unacceptably high level of risk. Some very simple precautions in setting up and operating the equipment can help prevent many accidents.
Strong assembly prevents the risk of accidents
Given the frequency of tipping accidents, OSHA guidelines provide details about the assembly. These state that the rig must be placed on ground that is firm, drained and sufficiently graded. Supporting materials like blocking, cribbing, crane pads, and ground mats should be used for support and to create a level surface from which the crane operates.
Ground mats in particular are essential to stabilize the crane while it is in operation. The quality and design of the ground mats is an important factor in reducing the risk of accidents and fatalities.
Crane pads are essential for safe operation
Outrigger pads met be chosen keeping in mind the ground conditions, the size of the outrigger foot and the load to be carried. If the ground is sloping, this must be leveled using ground pads. If the ground is wet, it may be slippery and the rig may sink into the mud.
Crane pads and ground mats come in several types, depending on the material used to make them. They can be made of wood, steel or engineered thermoplastic. Steel crane mats are very heavy, and wooden pads can be unstable.
Engineered thermoplastics are dense and strong and crane mats made from this material offer stable support. Engineered thermoplastic material is seven times lighter than steel and four times lighter than aluminum. This makes it a more practical choice than steel crane mats.
With proper training and careful observance of workplace precautions, crane accidents can be minimized or eliminated altogether. The safety of operators and equipment should always take precedence over any other considerations.