Prevent crane injuries

October 1, 2011

Construction and industrial workers are at an increased risk of injury and death when working near mobile cranes due to the risk of tip-overs, uncontrolled loads or boom collapse. In 2006, the Bureau of Labor Statistics identified a mobile crane as the primary or secondary cause of fatality in 72 occupational incidents. An average of 78 crane-related fatalities occurred annually between 2003 and 2005.

To prevent such occurrences, NIOSH recommends:

  • Inspect and maintain each crane according to the manufacturer’s recommendations.
  • Watch for signs of soft or unstable ground compressing or deflecting from underneath the blocking due to pressure from the crane.
  • Ensure operators are properly trained and qualified.
  • Coordinate communication between the crane operator and riggers, spotters, supervisors and others working near the crane.
  • Thoroughly evaluate ground condition, wind speed, travel distance, and proximity to overhead power lines and other obstructions.
  • Use a spotter whenever the crane operator’s view of the lift area, swing radius or landing area is obstructed.
  • Notify workers before a lift begins, and make sure no one is working within the swing radius or under a suspended load at any time. 
  • Never exceed the manufacturer’s recommended load chart.