Four Major Safety Hazards of Overhead Crane Usage

Posted on August 22, 2018 in Gantry Cranes

Four Major Safety Hazards of Overhead Crane Usage

Overhead cranes and hoists are used every day in thousands of companies around the country to lift and move materials. An overhead aluminum gantry is easy and safe when installed, maintained, and used properly. But every year, injuries and fatalities happen due to overhead crane accidents. Recognizing hazards and following safety procedures is important to prevent accidents.

Lack of Training

Many safety issues are caused by employees who aren’t qualified and trained. It’s important that all operators are fully trained and work with other trained and skilled operators. Properly trained employees and operators understand the dangers involved when working with heavy suspended loads.

The well-trained operator who is responsible for managing a hoist understands how movement of the load must be done carefully without quick jerking or changing direction. Any operators or controllers should be completely focused on the hoisting task at hand and be vigilant about the safety of others in the area.


According to OSHA statistics, nearly 80 percent of crane upset and failure is due to overloading. That is why workers must have formal training in order to operate a crane.

Unfortunately, most cases of overloading are due to operator error or poorly trained personnel. Today, an aluminum gantry crane operator should have an understanding of lifting capacities, conditions, and load dynamics as cranes become more sophisticated and are able to lift heavier loads further and faster. Utilizing load-measuring systems will reduce any hazards caused by overloading or operator error.

Falling Materials

Current statistics show that people die each year as a result of accidents involving falling materials from overhead cranes. Heavy loads cause serious damage and injury if dropped or if not secured properly. Undesired movement can injure and crush workers in the vicinity.

Properly securing slings and loads is one important way to ensure that materials will not slip and fall. Loads that are not properly secured run the risk of slipping and falling.

Mechanical failure is also often the cause of falling materials. OSHA suggests that daily crane inspections be conducted to reduce a risk of mechanical failures. Regular maintenance of hoists can also reduce the risk of materials falling. It’s important to conduct regular load testing in order to ensure that hoists are in good working order. If any mechanical failures arise, operators should be familiar with implementing the lockout/tagout procedure.

Electrical Hazards

Power line contact is one of the largest causes of portable gantry accidents today. This often occurs when working under energized power lines. This not only endangers anyone touching the crane but anyone in the direct vicinity.

Appropriate safety planning must be implemented. Both OSHA and ANSI outline safe distances to maintain from a power source. All operators should regard all power lines as energized until the power company informs them otherwise. Operators should also have other employees watching when it may be difficult for them to visually maintain clearance.

Operators of aluminum gantry cranes or any overhead cranes should be well versed in all safety precautions and trained to OSHA standards. Employers should always make safety a number one priority. At EC&MW, we have always considered the safety of our employees and our customers as a priority and promote correct operating and maintenance procedures involving all our products.

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