Many construction sites need to use cranes to life heave loads to higher levels. Although sometimes cranes on trucks can do the job, often a larger crane is needed. When this is the case, a crane must be assembled on site for the job. Unfortunately, next to electrocution, crane assembly and disassembly is the leading cause of crane deaths in the United States. A report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention by the Center for Construction Research and Training shows that there were 58 deaths des to crane assembly and dismantling from 1984 to 1994. So, when learning how to assemble a crane on a construction site, make sure you take extra precautions to learn how to do so safely.
One of the main concerns with assembling a crane is the power line system in the area. Electrocution is, by far, the most prominent ways workers die or are injured while working with cranes. As a beginning step in the assembly process, employers must make sure that the crane being assembled is not operated in proximity to power lines by OSHA standards. These regulations, which can be further researched here, including the following regulations:
- For lines below 50 kV, the minimum clearance for any part of the crane or crane load must be 10 feet.
- For lines over 50 kV, the minimum clearance for any part of the crane or crane load must be 10 feet plus 0.4 inch for every kV over 50 kV.
- While in transit, the crane equipment must have a clearance of 4 feet for voltages up to 50 kV, 10 feet for voltages up to 345 kV, and 16 feet for voltages up to 750 kV.
- One employee must be designated to observe the clearance issues involving power lines whenever the operator of the crane cannot easily see it for him- or herself.
- The crane must be tested for electrical charge whenever work is being done near power lines.
Power lines aren't the only concern when assembling a crane. It is important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully, and it is crucial that anyone working on crane assembly be over 18 years old, according to Department of Labor restrictions, as you can see here. Crane assembly is often more dangerous than the actual operation of the crane. Not only is it too dangerous for someone under 18, but it is also a job that requires skills and experience that are often beyond those of a minor. To keep everyone safe in the future, only professionals over the age of 18 should assemble a crane. There may be other jobs on a construction site that someone 16 or 17 can perform, but this is not one of them.
How does the crane actually get assembled? That depends on the type of crane and the manufacturer. Sometimes, cranes are already, by and large, ready to work – they just have to be transported and secured at the job site. Other times, the cranes are so large that they arrive at the job site in pieces. Never deviate from the instruction manual, even if you think you see a way to save time, especially since this can make disassembly more difficult. Contact a crane accident lawyer for further information. Although it is time consuming, proper crane assembly is important to keeping all workers safe.