Working on the water can amplify the amount of risk one takes when operating a Crane or Derrick. The possibility for a sudden burst of wind or the wake from a passing vessel can suddenly cause the barge to tilt to one side causing it to suddenly become a 30,000 lb. load swinging uncontrollably over water.
For this reason, safety must be our first consideration. Here are some basic safe work practices one might want to follow when operating such equipment:
1. Comply With Any Crane Or Derrick Manufacturer’s Specifications And Limitations.
Consider the rated load capacities and recommended operating speeds as well as any special hazard warnings or instructions. Employers should make any instructions or warnings visible from the operator’s station.
2. Regularly Inspect Any Equipment.
Equipment should be inspected before each and during use ensuring all deficiencies are corrected before further use. It is also critical to perform an annual inspection of the hoisting machinery. Records shall be kept of the dates and results of each inspection.
3. Keep The Area Barricaded.
Accessible areas within the swing radius of the rear of the rotating superstructure should be properly barricaded to prevent employees from being struck or crushed by the crane.
4. Electricity Safety Offshore.
While generally not encountered offshore, when one is working on a residential or municipal dock, pier or marina, one may encounter Electrical Poles/Lines. Do not operate or its load within 10 feet of aline rated 50 kV or below and add 0.4 inches for each kV over 50 kV. Except where electrical lines have been de-energized and visibly grounded at point of work, or where insulating barriers, not a part of or an attachment to the equipment or machinery have been erected to prevent physical contact with the lines.
5. Using A Crane Or Derrick For Personnel.
The practice of using a crane or derrick to hoist employees on a personnel platform is prohibited. The only exception is when the erection, use, and dismantling of conventional means of reaching the worksite (personnel hoist, ladder, stairway, aerial lift, elevating work platform or scaffold) would be more hazardous or is not possible because of the structural design or worksite conditions.
6. Keep the following documentation in the cab body.
Every crane should keep a copy of the manufacturer’s operating manual for the crane as well as any operator aids with which the crane is equipped in its cab. The load rating chart for the crane with the make and model, serial number, year of manufacture, load ratings for all operating configurations, recommended reeving for the hoist line; and operating limits in windy or cold weather conditions.
7. Keep a record.
The Crane’s Log Book should also be kept in the cab body at all times. This, of course, shall be used to record operating hours and all crane inspections, tests, maintenance, and repair. The log shall be updated daily as the crane is used and shall be signed by the operator and supervisor. Additionally, any service mechanics shall sign the log after conducting maintenance or repairs on the crane.
8. Preform inspection of cranes and derricks.
Inspections shall be in completed by a trained professional in accordance with the manufacturer’s recommendations. It is vital to perform an initial inspection before use of all new and altered cranes. A copy of the checklist used for the inspection should be maintained at the project site.
9. Before work begins preform a start-up inspection.
Pre-operational inspections should be conducted by the operator before every operation of the crane. If checklists are used for pre-operational inspections, a copy of the checklist shall be maintained at the project site; if checklists are not used, the operator shall indicate the successful completion of the inspection, in accordance with the manufacturer’s recommendations, in the operator’s log.
10. Always engage.
The operator should never engage in any activity that will divert his/her attention while operating the crane. It is also critical that no one ever leaves the controls while a load is suspended. Before leaving the crane unattended, the operator should at all times:
Land any load, bucket, lifting magnet, or other devices:
- Dis-engage the master clutch
- Set travel, swing, boom brakes, and other locking devices
- Place all controls in the off or neutral position
- Secure the crane against accidental travel and
- Stop the engine