While the construction industry is inherently risky, employers have a number of effective, affordable methods to prevent on-the-job accidents and limit the amount of workers' compensation insurance claims.
One of the most valuable tools in construction - and also one of the most dangerous - is the crane or derrick. Many work sites across the country rely on these machines to complete important tasks on a daily basis, but due to their size, height, load capacity and other factors, problems can quickly mount should occupational safety become an afterthought.
To prevent this from becoming the case, you need to emphasize comprehensive risk management practices in your construction company. That includes operator certification, education and training seminars, among other vital elements.
OSHA alters certification requirements
The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration views crane safety as an incredibly important topic among today's industries as well. Back in 2010, the government organization passed the Cranes and Derricks in Construction final rule, which clarified details surrounding the use and operation of this machinery.
On Sept. 25, 2014, OSHA announced that it was reevaluating a key part of that final rule - the deadline for operator certification compliance. Now, all construction crane operators in the U.S. will have to be certified by Nov. 10, 2017, three years later than the initial date. This postponement will allow OSHA to review the qualification requirements included in the final rule, with the possibility of making certification stricter to ensure proper operation of cranes and derricks.
The responsibility for a safe, secure workplace falls on each employer's shoulders. Even so, OSHA is closely looking at this certification requirement to best help construction firms meet safety standards and prevent workplace accidents.
Improve crane use with training, education
Ahead of the OSHA crane operator certification deadline, now is the perfect time to focus on construction workplace safety. One of the best ways to prevent accidents involving cranes and derricks is to first improve training and education.
For starters, your workplace must be in compliance with all federal and state regulations and safety requirements. Your staff members should also be aware of these rules and understand what needs to be done to avoid issues. Crane operator training is equally important - educate your employees on safe use of cranes and derricks, including the steps involved in setting up this equipment, moving loads and other aspects of operation.
Training is just as vital on the ground. Construction workers near cranes have to be aware of load weights, nearby power lines and other obstacles, as well as any other risk that could impact occupational safety. A momentary lapse of focus could directly lead to an accident, regardless of the operator at the helm.
Institute detailed lift plans
While a risk management plan is necessary at all times when using cranes and derricks, a detailed strategy is that much more important when moving critical lifts.
Once your staff has a strong foundation of education and training, you can move on to develop detailed lift plans for those essential jobs. There are several considerations to keep in mind here, including:
All of these are worth analyzing for every crane operation, but especially so for the most critical ones. Load weight must be accurately measured - no figures can be assumed, or you risk the chance of a miscalculation - and you have to place one senior employee in charge of running the proceedings. That person can oversee all events and facilitate communication between the crane operator and the staff on the ground.
Most of all, you must never take any crane operation for granted. With a comprehensive plan and a focused approach, you can mitigate many occupational hazards on construction sites.
Don't take safety for granted, keep your jobsite secure with Amerisure's risk managment services.