Cranes and other rigging equipment are important pieces of machinery within the construction and related industries. As such, there are strict guidelines for proper assembly and operation. In order to ensure worker safety, certification is required to operate these and other lifting devices.
According to the Occupations Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), employers need to ensure that each rigger is qualified to perform his or her assigned job. While riggers don’t have to be qualified to do all types of rigging jobs, they should be prepared to handle specific challenges. These would include, but not be limited to,different types of loads and situations:
- Rigging unstable loads
- Rigging unusually heavy loads
- Rigging loads that need a tandem lift
- Rigging loads that need multiple lifts
- Rigging loads that need custom equipment
Crane Operator Certification Update
The most recent final rule was published by OSHA in September of 2014. In brief, this ruling extends the deadline for employers to have all of their crane operators certified by November 10, 2017. Given this 3-year extension, OSHA stresses the importance of employers ensuring their current operators have the skills necessary to safely operate this equipment.
OSHA has specific guidelines for crane assembly. First of all, cranes need to be assembled on firm ground that has been sufficiently drained and graded. Secondly, they need to be assembled with the appropriate supportive materials:
- Crane pads or mats
Materials such as crane pads, or stabilizer pads for cranes, provide the support necessary to assemble cranes. In addition, they provide a level surface, which is also extremely important for safe assembly and operation.
In order to prevent crushing, bending, or shear failure, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers reports that outrigger blocking, or cribbing, needs to have sufficient strength. It also needs to have enough thickness, width, and length so it is able to perform the following tasks:
- Support the float
- Transfer the load to a supportive surface
- Prevent the load from shifting
- Prevent the load from toppling
- Prevent excessive settlement beneath the load
Types of Ground Mats
In order to protect surfaces, there are different types of ground mats that can be used. Much depends, however, on the ground conditions and other factors. DICA crane pads and DICA outrigger pads are both commonly used.
When following these and other safety guidelines as specified by OSHA, riggers and crane operators will be better equipped to perform their jobs within the construction and other vital industries.