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Hazards When Using Overhead Cranes and How to Prevent Them

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Overhead cranes are used to lift, move, and lower extremely heavy or bulky construction materials and equipment on a construction site. When installed and used correctly, overhead cranes make operations easier and safer. However, overhead crane accidents can lead to fatalities and injuries, or even death. Preventing these disasters requires the operators and other workers to recognize certain hazards that can occur during operation.

Electrical hazards

One of the hazards associated with overhead cranes is contact with power lines. When any metallic part of the crane such as the hoist comes into contact with a high-voltage power line, electric current is conducted by the equipment. The operator of the crane and any other persons in the vicinity can be electrocuted. Electric shock can cause severe injuries or even death of many workers on the construction site.

Prior assessment of the location is necessary when operating mobile cranes, particularly when construction is done near high-voltage power lines. Overhead cranes should not work within proximity to power lines. Also, the contractor can ask the electric company to de-energize or insulate power lines to prevent electrocution.

Falling loads

If materials, debris, and heavy loads fall off a mobile crane, they can seriously injure workers on the ground or damage to equipment. Mechanical failure of the crane is a primary cause of materials falling off a mobile crane. If any moving parts of the crane are damaged or worn out, the crane can malfunction unexpectedly and drop a heavy load. Also, if leads are not secured properly to the sling, they can slip and crash to the ground.

Regular maintenance of cranes is necessary to avoid mechanical failure. Also, it is essential that loads are properly secured to the sling before lifting. It's important to clear the ground below the crane to prevent any fatalities in case materials fall off during operation. If a crane has any signs of mechanical malfunction, it should not be used until the parts have been repaired or replaced.


The hoist has a specified amount of load which it can lift at a time. If the amount of weight exceeds this limit, structural stress can occur, causing mechanical failure of the crane. If a crane fails during operation, the load can swing, or slip and fall, causing injuries and damage to property.

Operators should know the maximum lifting capacity of the crane and the size of the loads. Load-measuring systems can be used if one cannot competently estimate the size of the loads.

Safety is paramount when working with mobile cranes on construction sites. By understanding the common hazards when using mobile cranes, one can avoid them and prevent fatalities and property damage on the site. Keep this information in mind when getting mobile crane quotes.