Crane Safety

I would like to talk a little about crane safety. I know that what I am enclosing is common knowledge to you, and hopefully they are things you use in your everyday duties. I just want to give you a refresher on some things, and maybe a few things you don’t know.

The hazards are many, being alert and aware of your surrounding are so important, following hand signals, watching for power lines and people, always check and double check before lowering and lifting the boom and hook. These are just a few things that come to mind. I am enclosing a list of safety suggestions and guidelines. I hope they are helpful and you can use them as you do your job. I have much more information available, so drop me a line if I can be of more help to you.

Make sure all cranes are safe for operation. Use rail clamps and wind indicators. Make sure the rated load markings are on the cranes. Maintain the proper clearances. Provide safe access to the cranes. Provide stops for all cranes. Provide stops, bumpers, and rail sweeps for top-running bridgestyle cranes. Provide adequate guards on cranes. Make sure electrical equipment is safe. Use proper controllers. Have a warning device on the crane. Provide fire extinguishers. Provide safe switches. Store personal and work materials properly on bridgestyle cranes.

Make sure outdoor cranes with a top-running bridge have both automatic and remotely operated rail clamps, and parking brakes, or other equivalent devices capable of holding the crane against a wind pressure of thirty pounds per square foot. There must be a wind-indicating device that gives a visible or audible alarm to the crane operator at a specified wind velocity.

Make sure a crane’s rated load is plainly marked and legible from the ground or floor on each side of the crane, or component attached to the girder. Make sure the rated load is marked and legible from the ground or floor on each hoisting unit, or load block when more than one hoisting unit is used. The rated load must be visible at all times from the ground or floor.

Photo by Ronnie Bergeron

Maintain clearances between the crane, any obstructions, and all cranes operating on parallel runways.

Provide safe access to the cab or service platform by means of a ladder, stairs, and a platform. Service platforms have an anti-slip walking surface, such as unfinished wood or a surface with nonskid paint must have at least eighteen inches of clear passage space. Platforms are required to provide a safety factor of four times the imposed maximum load. The platform must be kept clear of obstructions and have toeboards and handrails.

Provide stops for bridgestyle crane trolleys and carriers. Stops must be at the limits of travel of the trolleys and carriers and be able to resist the force that is applied when contacted by the crane.

Photo by Derek Benjamin Lilly

Provide bridge bumpers or other automatic means for top-running bridgestyle cranes. They must be able to stop the bridge when it is traveling at forty percent of the rated load speed, stop the bridge (when not carrying a load and after power is cut) without decelerating faster than an average of three feet per second squared from twenty percent of the rated load speed, and retain the bumper in case of broken or loose mounting connections.

Companies must also provide trolley bumpers or other automatic means to provide the same effect. They must be on adjacent ends of all trolleys operating on the same bridge and be able to stop the trolley when it is traveling at fifty percent of the rated load speed, stop the trolley (when not carrying a load and after power is cut) without decelerating faster than an average of 4.7 feet per second squared from one third of the rated load speed, and retain the bumper in case of broken or loose mounting connections.

Photo by Grafixar

Provide bridge rail sweeps that extend below the top surface of the rail in front of the leading wheels on both ends. Make sure that guards are used to prevent contact between bridge conductors and hoisting ropes, when they could otherwise come into contact during normal operations. Make sure open runway conductors are guarded for prevention of accidental contact with hoisting ropes.

Ensure all electrical equipment is safe. Make sure any pendant controls do not exceed voltage of 150 volts for AC and 300 volts for DC. Make sure all electrical equipment is supported to protect the electrical conductors against strain and are constructed to prevent electrical shock. They must be clearly marked to identify their functions.

Make sure all top-running bridgestyle cranes have a device that disconnects all motors from the line when a power failure occurs.

Make sure any lever operated controller in a cab, or pulpit operated crane, has a notch or latch that prevents the handle from being accidentally moved to the “ON” position. Make sure rope-operated controllers automatically return to the “OFF” position when released by the operator. Make sure the push buttons in the pendant stations automatically return to the “OFF” position when the pressure is released.

Conclusion: All bridgestyle crane operators need to pass an operating exam. Please follow these safety guidelines, and most of all be alert. Watch and listen to your surroundings. If you would like some more information please let me know.

Related Links:

OSHA Responds to Crane Accidents

OSHA New York City’s Top Cited Violations: Fall Hazards Top the List

Top 7 Tips on Using the 2006 Census to Improve Workplace Safety

Dallas Crane Topples at a Dallas Pump Station, Injuring Two Workers


6 thoughts on “Crane Safety

  1. Bill White says:

    What determines wind velocity when to stop working with a crane. Are OSHA MSHA regs on this?

  2. eric says:

    hi, Bill. What kind of crane do you have in your worksite? While OSHA does not mention specific measurements for wind velocity that are safe for crane operations, it does have some standards related to it. It requires employers to equip cranes outside enclosed structures with a wind gauge or anemometer. The wind gauge must have a visible and audible signal to warn the operator of high wind conditions.

    The placement of the wind gauge depends on the type of crane you have. In general, OSHA regulates that operators not exceed the crane manufacturer’s recommended wind speed. This rating, along with the crane’s manuals, must be placed inside the cab of the crane. This way, the operator will be reminded of the rating and they can immediately shut down the crane in high wind conditions.

    While a lot of manuals out there say that you must never operate equipment at or above 40mph, some crane operators are instructed to shut down their cranes between 30-35 mph. winds.


    I work in Saudi Arabia at the national Oil Company Aramco and they shut there mobile cranes down at 32kmh.
    Please give me some words of wisdom and tell me that this is nonsense and cranes are safe up to 35mph or 56kmh?
    Please reply to my email with any excerts from international standards that may help me persuade my Saudi colleagues that cranes are safe to operate up to 56kmph??

  4. George Davis says:

    Graham, I can’t really say for you what your national standards are, but OSHA has some pretty specific standards you can view here :

    I would suggest following the OSHA standards

  5. syadhu says:

    I found today one of rigger sitting outside and riding with moving crane.I stopped the unsafe operation.
    Please send some details regarding the above unsafe and how to prevent infuture (it will help to explain the workers)

    Looking for your mail reply

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