Wednesday, February 1, 2012
One key ingredient in creating a safety oriented culture is by providing ongoing safety training. Refreshing employees on safety steps they can take in the facility to make their work day safer will help keep safety in the forefront if their minds daily. Ongoing safety training would include daily and weekly safety talks, monthly safety meetings, and annual training on major safety issues. One major safety issue in your facility is your cranes. Out of all the regulations required by OSHA and ANSI the one that get missed the most would have to be qualifying crane operators. Many companies know to inspect their cranes but they fail to think about the people who are actually operating them. Many will even put an operator on a crane that doesn’t even have any experience operating one. A company will invest in inspections and repairs but will then fail to take that next step to ensure their employees are fully trained in operating the equipment. Not only is this against various codes, and regulations set forth by governing bodies, it is also a great liability.
Barclays California Code of Regulations Section 5006 qualifies an operator by stating, “Only employees authorized by the employer and trained, or known to be qualified, in the safe operation of cranes or hoisting apparatus shall be permitted to operate such equipment.” It is also written in the regulations, “Trainees may be authorized to operate cranes or hoisting apparatus provided they are under the supervision of a qualified operator.”
ASME B.30.2 regulations are what OSHA will reference for crane operator training requirements. ASME requires that cranes be operated by ONLY designated persons, trainees under the direct supervision of a designated person, maintenance and test personnel, when it is necessary in the performance of their duties, and inspectors. Now to be considered qualified by ASME, they required that the crane operator SHALL be required by the employer to pass a practical operating examination. Qualifications shall be limited to the specific type of equipment for which the operator is being examined.
There are many things to consider when providing crane operator training for your employees. For one you need to ensure that it is adequate for the type of equipment you have in your facility. You don’t want to provide a basic 15 minute video on crane safety and a test for a facility that has several bridge cranes. The higher the capacity and more complex the operation the longer you should expect the class to be. Minimally, there are FIVE items you want to discuss and test on in the training class that you’re going to be providing for your employees.
1. Daily Crane and Hoist Inspections
2. Components of a Crane
3. Safe Operation of a Crane
Do your operators know how to stop a load swing if it was to occur in your facility? Do they know what to do if they have a runaway crane? Do all your employees know where the main crane disconnect is located in your facility? These are all important questions and if your training does not incorporate any of these items in your training then you do not have the appropriate training program.
4. Hands On crane operation of a crane in the facility
This part is where they take what they learnt in the class and incorporate into some hands on that the crane operators can try out and get confident while you have a professional crane operator instructor in your facility. If you go back to the OSHA and ASME regulations you will see that the regulations require you to pass a “practical operating exam”. This test will suffice for this part of the regulation.
5. Basic Rigging
In 2011 the Konecranes Training Institute conducted a study that analyzed crane accidents and the fatalities from those accidents. The information from this study was taken from 10 years of public OSHA Inspection Reports. The findings were very alarming if you are a crane operator. This study found that 58% of people injured or killed were crane operators. 37% of crane incidents a person were crushed by a load. This was the result of load drops, or load swings. You can see how serious these findings are. If there is a crane accident, there is a great chance the crane operator will be hurt or killed. This study analyzed that 70% of these accidents were preventable with proper operator safety training.
In closing, it is the crane operators’ responsibility to ensure that they are operating the crane safely; however it is the employer’s responsibility to train their employees with the knowledge to operate the cranes in a safe and efficient manner. When you’re incorporating crane operator training into your safety program, ensure that you have the appropriate material for your employees. Look into a training program that will discuss your equipment, and all five important items to discuss during training.