Ten Tips for Operating a Crane

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Crane operators command a large piece of heavy equipment that regularly make high-profile lifts. Not only are these operators expected to know the best and safest way to execute lifts, they also need to know how to best handle the equipment that is entrusted to them. Crane operation evolves like any other industry, and now, it’s more important than ever to keep up-to-date with regulations, best practices, and safety guidelines. To ensure that you’re always successful when operating this equipment, we’ve put together ten tips for operating cranes.

  1. Don’t override the crane
    This one seems pretty self explanatory. Overloading the crane can cause severe problems, especially if the line is too strained, which could cause it to snap and break.
  2. Be aware of overhead hazards
    Specifically, be aware of nearby buildings and power lines that are within the operating zone. The operating zone can expand farther above and out from where it may seem, due to how the cranes move, meaning that those buildings and power lines could be in the way.
  3. Read the load charts
    Prior to turning the key in any crane, be sure to read up on its charts and how it operates to ensure you know how to handle it.
  4. Cell Phone usage
    Just like with cars, cell phones should not be used while in the cab of the crane or while operating crane equipment. Turn off your mobile device before you even step foot into the cab. There are other ways to communicate with those you’re working with during operation and everyone else can most likely wait.
  5. Changing conditions on the job site
    Be aware of your surroundings always. Even the slightest change to the job site can cause a change of operation to your crane. From personnel to weather, make sure you know what’s going on.
  6. Your plans can and probably will change
    The longer you work any job, the more you know that things don’t always go as you plan them. Sometimes, you’ll need to stop, evaluate the situation, and find a safer lift plan before proceeding with the job.
  7. Check ground conditions
    Before setup, you should ensure that the site is suitable to support crane and the future suspended loads.
  8. Use appropriate pads and cribbing
    As a crane operator, you’ll need to ensure you use correct pads and cribbing to avoid having an outrigger fail or sink while making a lift. Checking to ensure these are right before you begin the job can avoid problems later on.
  9. Check the basics
    Gas, oil, and other fluid levels need to be checked regularly to ensure that they are filled and ready to go. This may seem obvious, but those are the things that tend to be overlooked most often.
  10. Inspect your equipment
    Before beginning your job or shift, you should always walk around your crane and check for any mechanical, electrical, structural, or hydraulic issues. You know your machine best, so you should know what it needs.

Avoiding simple operating errors can go a long way in avoiding an incident on the job site. Be sure to check out our full list of available crane equipment today.