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Essential safety tips for mobile cranes
04 July 2018
Essential safety tips for mobile cranes

Operating a mobile crane can be a hazardous position, especially if you are working in and around a mining site. You will need to practise basic safety protocol as well as implement safety measures that are specific to mobile cranes, such as ensuring that only appropriately qualified people operate the cranes, inspecting the equipment on a regular basis and ensuring all workers are wearing the correct safety gear. Below are some essential tips for operating mobile cranes on a mining site. 

 

Only qualified people my operate cranes

One of the most important safety protocols to follow when operating a mobile crane on a mining site is that only qualified workers may operate the cranes. This is because they are trained in how the machinery works, and will be able to spot any issues with the crane and its functioning. 

In the hands of a trained professional, a mobile crane is a safe and effective tool for any mining site. It is important to respect and recognise the fact that it is a highly specialised piece of equipment which needs to be used correctly at all times. In order to keep your job site as safe as possible, ensure that only qualified workers operate the mobile and crawler cranes. 

 

Prior inspections before operation

A vital part of keeping your mine site safe is to perform prior inspections of all machinery, including the mobile cranes you have on the site. The inspection should include the checking of any cables, booms, bolts, controls, pins, signal lights and outriggers for any cracks or deformities before your workers use the crane. 

Prior inspection allows you to find any damages and repair them as soon as possible, ensuring that all workers are safe on the job site. You should have one to three people performing this inspection, as one person might miss something that another person notices. These workers will then have to give a full report on the condition of the vehicle to the foreman so they are aware of any damages and necessary repairs before the working day begins. 

 

Know what lies below

The effectiveness of a mobile crane on a mining site is only as solid as the surface it is on, which means that you have to ensure that the surface it is on is stable and level. You need to know the classification of the soil or material under the crane and adjust your load accordingly. 

While many cranes offer outriggers for an extension, this does not necessarily mean that the surface is now level. The pad and float at the end of the outrigger carry a great deal of compression force when the crane only carries a light load, which can cause the entire crane to tip if they punch into the ground. Knowing what surface is below the crane can help you to prepare the crane in advance. 

 

Ensure there is enough space for the crane to operate

While it is true that mobile cranes require less space to operate than static cranes, you will still need to be sure that your mine site has enough space for it to operate effectively. It is important to allow enough space for the parts of the crane such as the length of the boom and the height of the lift. 

When it comes to clearance for a mobile crane, more is always better. If you find that your mine site does not have sufficient space then you should speak to the crane provider about what the minimum required space for the model is. It is not advisable to operate a crane in a small space, as this can cause damages to the site and injuries to those around it. Having enough space for the crane to move around in ensures the safety not only of the operator but of the staff as well. 

 

Ensure clear visibility

You will need to ensure that the crane operator has clear visibility of the ground ahead of him and of the site in general. This means that you should not drive the crane behind a mining dump truck or operate it on days where there is fog or mist. 

Make sure that there are no blind spots and that the crane operator has full visibility at all times. If there are powerlines near the site, be sure that you have a signaler to alert the crane operator as to when they are too close to the powerlines. Having clear visibility will ensure that the crane operators do not drive into any unsafe areas of the mine and do not accidentally hit any powerlines. 

 

Always be alert

When using cranes on a mine site,  not only should the operator stay aware, but the entire team  too. A crane is a large piece of machinery which requires a trained professional to operate, so it is vital to ensure that only someone who is a qualified crane operator uses it. Be sure to perform prior inspections before each use, and know exactly what the surface material is made up of underneath the crane. 
 

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