A young construction worker was killed the same day his wife was coming home from the hospital with their first child. How did this occur? A heavy, bulky section was being transported by a crane, which had to carry it six or seven feet in the air to clear other objects. The load was equipped with tag lines, which were being used to guide it by all of the workers except this young man. Although warned by his foreman to use the line, he didn't. A lifting pad gave way and he was killed instantly.
This incident reminds me of a slogan I once saw: "if it's in the air, it's dangerous." This is something to remember even if the mechanical equipment seems to be in good condition.
Let's review some of the rules that can help keep us from getting injured by failing loads:
A load that can be carried close to the ground can be stabilized by a person at each end. These individuals must stay in the clear at all times, and the ground surface must be unobstructed and reasonably level. Taglines should always be used where needed. And definitely where the load is to be carried more than five feet above the ground. In some cases, ten-foot taglines should be used to guide loads being raised and lowered, rather than using extremely long lines that drag around the job and can snag on something.
On all jobs, only one person, generally the lead person, should give signals to the crane operator. If you are assigned the job of directing the crane, follow these basic rules:
1. Always use standard hand signals to direct the crane operator.
2. Stand in the clear and place yourself where the operator can plainly see you and you can see the operator.
3. If you can't see the load and another person is signaling to you, be sure every-one is in the clear before you give the signal to the operator. Remember, it takes time to relay signals.
4. Never permit a load to be lowered, raised, or swung over a worker's head. If the operator can see the load, it's the operator's responsibility -without exception -to see that this rule is followed.
REMEMBER : "If it's in the air, it's dangerous."
5X5: Review any accidents or near misses that occurred from the past week.