There are numerous companies in the manufacturing and construction industry that rely on heavy machines for moving bulky loads from point A to point B. Especially, the heavy loads that are transferred through the aisles or placed on the floor take a significant amount of time, and if not done properly, can result in injury. This is the reason overhead cranes are used to transport heavy materials, making operations convenient, efficient and safer. On the other hand, however, these overhead cranes cause several accidents in the warehouses of industries every year, costing lives and loss of valuable goods. And to prevent these unwelcomed accidents, the safety management and the workers must recognize these hazards and follow measures to counter them.
Analysis of overhead crane accidents over the years has helped in revealing the three most common safety hazards. These include overloading, electrical hazard and material falling. It is very important to get familiar with these terms and get insights into these safety issues for a better understanding. We will briefly describe each below.
Overloading - As per OSHA (Occupational Safety and Hazard Administration), about 80 percent of overall crane upsets and structural failures can be ascribed to the exceeding operational capacity of a crane. An overloaded crane puts structural stress and causes irreparable damage.
Electrical hazard – According to OSHA, about 50 percent of overhead crane accidents can be attributed to machinery coming in contact with a power source during operation. The accidents often occur when the nearby material is in motion, and the power lines underneath touch the crane, while the operator or personnel is in the proximity of the crane, it can cause fatal injury or even electrocution. An area inside a 10-foot radius is considered an unsafe zone for pedestrians.
Material falling – At any job site irrespective of the industry, falling material is a major concern. And out of many accidents related to overhead cranes, some are attributed to slipping, visual impairment, improper sling attachment, weak hoist, mechanical failure, or the incompetency of the operator, causing serious injuries to the people next to the crane.
Thanks to the latest technologies in the market, the overhead crane hazards can be greatly reduced and enhance production processes. There are several types of equipment that can be used to eliminate the chances of accidents. Some of those countermeasures are mentioned below.
1. Buzzers, Sirens and Horns: According to OSHA, cranes with radio or cab controls should have horns, buzzers, or sirens to give an audible warning to the pedestrians while the crane is under operation. The use of buzzers, sound or any such loud device act as an effective warning that helps maximize safety in the vicinity.
2. Collision Avoidance System: As we are in the age of technology, these automated devices have become more popular. The devices automatically control the movement of the crane to reduce accidents. These automated equipment are typically used in places where multiple cranes are operated on a single runaway or where there is a multiple runaway system, or where confined spaces have several obstacles blocking the movement of the crane.
3. Warning and indicator lights: Another useful piece of equipment that can be attached to the overhead crane is the combination of blue, red and white lights. Often buzzers and horns can be overshadowed by loud noises in the warehouse, increasing the chances of mishaps. The overhead crane warning light with multiple LEDs provides bright exposure near the crane.
Some warning and indicator lights come inbuilt into the overhead crane design to give an idea to the personnel on the ground of the location of the crane bridge and the hook. These lights come with adjustable mounting brackets and can be mounted on the hoist or bridge of the crane projecting directly on the surface. Whenever the crane equipment turns on, these lights also automatically switch on, helping in reducing operator error and accidents. The lights act as an additional visual alert to the pedestrian or any motorized traffic in the proximity of the crane. These overhead crane warning lights can brighten up an area up to 20 feet from approaching hooks or crane equipment in operation. The warning lights can also be used by the operator as a point of reference to accurately position the hook and hoist and gain stability during loads.
Whether you are planning to upgrade or modernize an older crane system, your primary objective should be to offer enhanced safety to the operator and the pedestrians. Installing overhead crane warning lights can be a very useful step to provide a safe working environment. These lights grab the instant attention of the pedestrians or bystanders and help them keep a safe distance. SharpEagle specializes in industrial safety devices, with safety lights being one of its fortes. Call us today to know more about overhead warning lights. Our support team will help you in figuring out your requirement.
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