When preparing EHS and/or occupational health and safety policy, procedure and guidance documents, remember to keep it simple. Avoid boilerplate cut and paste documents that may not apply as accurately to your specific environment as could be. The goal is to have a library of functional, applicable living reference and guidance documents; you don’t get extra points for the wright of the paper you use. We frequently encounter program documents that are outdated, have not been regularly updated and/or contain a surprising number of typos, bloopers and incorrect references. Call us and we will be sure to examine your EHS program documents carefully. We are here to help you… to become more effective and efficient.
Whether it is daily or weekly safety meetings or regular employee training, document what you do. List the training topic(s), the trainer or session leader, date and have employees sign the document. Now you have a record of training.
Crane operators and their assistants (commonly known as riggers) have to work as a team – and an excellent one at that lest their work end up on YouTube with some awful crane accident. Despite crane operation rules and operator training, things too often go wrong. In our mind, knowledge is one aspect of a “triangle” that helps make for safe and effective crane operation. The other two sides of the triangle are experience and equipment. If you have the wrong equipment or the equipment is not suited for the task, failure can occur. Likewise, operator experience certainly comes in when assessing the terrain and environment too. Some crane accidents occur because of error in placement of the unit and/or failure to account for soil type and other ground conditions. Outriggers can sink into unstable and/or wet soil and the result is probably going to be a tipped crane. Of great importance is pre-job inspection of the crane and components. Also knowing a crane’s load capacity and how that number changes based on distance and angle is critical. Consulting and applying load chart information is an additional important aspect of crane operation. Here are the key things a load chart will tell you:
- Lift Capacity –This number represents the maximum lift capacity the crane can handle with the shortest lift and with the outriggers fully extended.
- Lift Angle – This is the maximum lift if a fixed or luffing jib is used. A higher angle lowers the lift capacity.
- Lift Range – This number tells you how long the boom needs to be to lift a load at a given height and distance.
- Dimensions and Weight – means to assess the load being flown for size and weight.
- Crane in Motion – This shows the maximum weight a crane can pick up and carry, as well as the weight that can be supported by moving and other capacities.
Besides consulting the load chart, industry standards and the manufacturer’s recommendations, OSHA has guidelines and requirements for crane, derrick, and hoist safety.
We have seen things go wrong in the field from personnel on the ground standing under suspended loads; to riggers trying to heavy maneuver a load with tag lines; to failing to follow critical lift guidelines; to operating equipment that has not passed inspection; to having too many “helpers” on the ground giving competing hand signals to the crane operator; to using non-engineered lifting points on objects; to catastrophic crane failures; and more.
When using cranes to fly materials, being hasty and/or unprepared can and too often does result in problematic consequences. Refresh crane safety rules with your personnel. Ensure that operators and equipment are suited for the task.
As with all of our blog posts, the content is informational only and is not intended as instruction or legal advice.
Most companies embrace the EHS function and understand the value of compliance and workplace safety. They appreciate the added value of a well-functioning EHS management system However, some companies do not operate that way. Besides the few newsworthy accounts of companies flagrantly ignoring regulatory requirements or of company managers being indicted for criminal conduct, other companies have not yet made the headlines but may be headed that direction as well. Why, because perhaps they tend to treat the EHS function as something abstractly required but not value added. In that environment, the effectiveness of the program surely suffers.
If your EHS management system is not producing positive indicators as you would like, don’t give up, but press on and be willing to modify both your system and your expectations. That does not mean to stop shooting for the moon, but rather to keep expectations in line with the maturity of your management system. Otherwise it is easy to become discouraged. Speaking of which, we once encountered a senior company executive that advised how after a serious workplace injury occurred, upset that his investment has seemingly failed, he withdrew from a positive advocacy role and did nothing proactive for months. While he tried to sooth his ego, the program floundered. Management in particular has to be a consistent, visible and positive force for change and improvement. That sort of mentality is of course counter-productive. If they had been an accountant had had run into difficulty balancing the books, would one just quit trying?
The message is simple: stay adaptable, manage change well, seek constant modes of improvement and maintain visible and positive support for your company EHS management system. Of course, if performance is an issue, ask for our assistance. We will assess your program elements and help get you on a trajectory that works for your company.