Crane Rigging Safety is Not a Luxury – It is a Necessity

Construction has always been one of the most dangerous professions; unfortunately, this inherent danger becomes even greater when a building site is particularly lofty or the building materials are exceptionally heavy.

In these very difficult situations cranes provide the lift needed to move these heaviest of building materials into their proper locations, but crane rigging safety must always be considered so that the work is assured to be completed in a timely and safe manner.

While they are thankfully rare, crane accidents make the headlines because of their cataclysmic nature. One of the most infamous crane collapses occurred in Manhattan in 2008. When riggers were hoisting a six-ton steel collar at a job site, the rigging gave way. Six construction workers and one bystander were killed when the collar and the crane fell on a brownstone below, crushing the building flat. The event was so catastrophic that twenty-four others were injured and 18 homes in the area were evacuated. This event caused a lengthy series of court cases against both the construction company, the crane company, and the rigger.

While faulty rigging and a repaired turntable in the Manhattan crane in question was at the heart of the litigation, there are many who argue that the malfunctions should have been recognized prior to ever becoming an issue.

The sheer magnitude of the equipment and the weight of the building materials lifted require that all riggers intimately understand the specifics associated with each type of crane. The most widely used crane model is a steel truss or telescopic boom that is affixed to a mobile base. The boom is hinged at the base and is raised or lowered with cables or hydraulic cylinders.

A telescopic crane is built by a series of tubes that fit one inside the other. Hydraulics extend or retract the tubes as needed to acquire the necessary height.

A tower crane perfects the principles of the historic balance crane, offering the lifting capacity and height necessary for such challenging building projects as bridges and tall buildings. 

Rough terrain and loader cranes both provide the essential lift required in more rugged building sites. These cranes are typically powered by the same motor that runs the undercarriage, providing much more self-contained units.

Suspended cranes, typically used in factories, will move over a trolley so that the hoist can travel to wherever other equipment or material must be moved.

The diversity of this rigging makes all construction easier, but it also demands very specific expertise for proper operation. Make certain that your riggers possess the necessarily detailed understanding of proper crane rigging to ensure the safety of your workers and those around your building site. Our eTraining courses meet the requirements set forth by the OSHA standard for Cranes and Derricks so that your riggers can safely and properly perform their jobs.


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