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Safety rules for mobile cranes

Safe operation of all-terrain mobile cranes

If you are planning to hire a mobile crane to do some on-site lifting it is important you are aware of the legal requirements of operating cranes safely. This is governed by The Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998 (LOLER). The act covers not only how to position the crane and lift the goods, but also how to keep records, examine the equipment, and report defects. You can find the full act here. In this blog, we break down the basics of safely operating mobile cranes and add in some tips for general site safety.

Planning the lifting operation Generally speaking, there are two main hazards of operating cranes – the crane collapsing and the load falling. The risk and potential impact are affected by the site itself: for example, a city centre crane is likely to pose a risk to more people than a crane on a rural site – but that’s not to say that less preparation is needed because fewer people will be near it. It is therefore important to properly resource, plan and organise each lifting operation so that it is carried out safely. Each of these actions requires someone to be involved that has sufficient technical and practical knowledge of the equipment, as well as the legal requirements. The British Standard BS 7121 Part 1 2016 sets out the standard for managing lifting operations on construction jobs. The full document can be obtained here. The law says that:

  • The lifting operation should be properly planned by a qualified, competent person;

  • A risk assessment must be undertaken;

  • A method statement must be completed;

  • Hazards specific to that job and site should be identified;

  • Control measures should be put in place and the hazard must be demonstrably controlled.

The plan should also identify resources and procedures required to ensure the lift is safe, as well as recognizing the people responsible for each aspect of the lift. The degree of planning and complexity of the plan will vary and should be proportionate to the foreseeable risks involved. There should also be plans to ensure the equipment remains in safe and proper working order throughout the lift. Carter Crane Hire can help you pull all of this information together – it is called a Contract Lift – just get in touch. If you already have trained personnel able to compile a full Lift Plan, we are happy to supply just the mobile crane and operator – we call this a Standard Lift. Safe Systems of Work As mentioned, there should always be a Lift Plan to ensure a safe method of managing the lift and everyone involved must understand it – and follow it for every lifting operation. In order to implement the Lift Plan effectively, one individual (known as the Appointed Person), is given overall control of the lifting operation and must have the authority to stop the operation if they believe that danger is likely to arise. The Appointed Person’s responsibilities include approval of all risk assessments, lift categorizations and method statements, selection of the crane and lifting accessories, instruction and supervision, and consultation with other responsible bodies.

They are also responsible for:

  • Preparing a Lift Plan;

  • Choice of the correct crane and work equipment;

  • Site preparation, including entry or exit routes for the crane;

  • Rigging/de-rigging of the crane;

  • Inspection, maintenance and testing of the crane and equipment (including reports);

  • Supervision of properly trained personnel who have been fully briefed and are aware of their H&S responsibilities;

  • Coordination of crane movements;

  • Safety of persons not involved in the installation or lifting operation.

The position of the mobile crane can have an effect on the risks involved. It is vital to take all practical steps to avoid people being struck by loads or the equipment itself during use. Measures should be taken to reduce the risk of load drift (e.g. spinning, swinging, etc.); and of the load falling freely or being released unintentionally. When siting a crane, the Appointed Person should take account of all the factors that could affect safe operation, particularly the following:

  • Standing and support conditions;

  • Proximity of hazards (coming into contact with overhead power lines, buildings or structures; coming too close to trenches, excavations or other operations; and coming into contact with buried underground services, such as drains and sewers);

  • Hazards associated with working on or adjacent to a highway or railway;

  • The effect of wind when in-service and out-of-service;

  • Site access – to allow positioning and rigging of the crane.

Where it can be avoided, loads should not be suspended over occupied areas. Where it cannot be avoided the risks to people must be minimized by taking appropriate precautions. Where loads are suspended for significant periods, the area below them should have restricted access. Supervising the lift The lifting operation should be properly supervised by a person with the appropriate level of training, responsibility and experience. The crane supervisor should monitor all aspect of the lift and should be prepared to stop the lift if circumstances become unsafe. Equipment safety and maintenance The examination of the lifting equipment is governed by strict laws, which state specific times and circumstances under which the cranes need to be examined, how the records should be kept and details the need for a competent person.

Here at Carter Crane Hire our Competent Person will carry out all the necessary examinations and ensure all documentation is ready for inspection. Other Safety Measures To Consider Safely operating cranes is only part of the story, and there are other elements of on-site safety to consider. For example, all staff should have had the relevant health and safety training and should be wearing suitable PPE. They should be aware that a crane lift is taking place and that their movements around the site could be restricted. Carter Plant Hire Appointed Persons At Carter Crane Hire, we are experts in all aspects of mobile crane lifting.

Whether you want to lift heavy loads on uneven terrain or are building in a city centre with a small footprint available, we have the right mobile crane for you. We also specialize in mobile home and boat lifting, which requires a different approach in order to protect the object from damage. Our most recent addition to the Carter Group fleet is a small heavy goods vehicle with a rear mounted knuckle-boom crane, which can be hired with or without a trailer – this is a highly versatile piece of machinery, about the size of a transit truck – meaning it can get into tight spaces where a conventional goods vehicle is too large. Its primary purpose is to eliminate Health & Safety issues on manual handling. Our Competent Person would be happy to come out to your site and do a free, no obligation lift survey. We can also generate a thorough and detailed Lift Plan for you if required. We will do all we can to ensure the safety of your lifting operations. Please contact us or telephone 01395 446446

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