June is National Safety Month so we’re highlighting another safety area you and those in your facility should be mindful of. Most EHS professionals have seen videos of catastrophic mobile crane and construction crane failures. While not as visually impressive, the results of bridge/jib crane or sling failures can be just as damaging.
You probably don’t have time to verify all of the OSHA inspection items for cranes and slings during an area tour. However, there are a few items which can be visually checked quickly and easily, and most workers can be trained to perform these routine inspections of bridge/jib cranes and slings. These visual assessments can help keep employees safe.
While you are inspecting your facility make sure that your overhead/jib cranes inspections are addressing the following:
- The load rating of the overhead bridge/jib crane must be marked on both sides.
- The controls on the pendant or remote are legible and match any directional markings on the crane or building.
- The wire rope is wound properly or evenly spaced on the crane drum (not crossing the grooves or tangled).
- Loose strands on wire rope. Depending on the number of braided strands, a certain number of broken or loose strands are acceptable. However, you need to know your wire rope well enough to know what is acceptable.
- Safety latch on the hook is not bent/broken and springs back into position when tested.
- The monthly inspections are completed.
OSHA requires daily inspections of slings prior to use. Here are a few items that are easy to check during a tour of your facility:
- Legible load limits
- Frays/tears on synthetic slings
- Tags on chain, metal mesh and wire rope slings
More than likely, if you have jib cranes and slings, you also have forklifts or fork trucks to help you offload and transport these heavy loads to where they need to be to get processed.
Forklifts must be inspected at least daily or during each shift if used more than one shift per day. While looking at your forklifts, make sure you check out these items:
- Properly functioning seat belts. Remember that OSHA requires that all operators wear seatbelts. Even if the operators are getting in and out of the seat 60 times an hour, they need to be using their seat belt.
- Functionality of the horn. Each fork truck must have a “sound-producing device” that can be used at intersections, aisle crossings, pedestrian areas, etc.
- Functionality and condition of forks. Forks are designed to lift heavy objects, scoot along the floor to pick up items, etc. Make sure that the forks are in good repair (not bent, not cracked, not uneven, etc.) and that the functional capacity of the forks has not diminished.
- Inspection records are readily available. OSHA doesn’t technically require documentation of the inspections; however, how else are you going to prove that the inspections are being done? Defects are supposed to be reported and corrected immediately, how else would you document this?
We’ve covered three different inspections here in a short blog. Being detail-oriented and having a system for data collection is very important. One method is to keep binders of the inspection documentation for each piece of machinery each year. We also encourage the use of electronic recordkeeping to maintain your records. That way, if anything were to happen to your hard copies, you would still have access to your electronic files. There are more sophisticated ways to track your inspections, too. There are a handful of phone apps that can be used to create checklists and document inspections.
Although you can’t check everything during your site tours, implementing an employee inspection process can greatly diminish the items you, as the EHS professional, are required to identify and initiate corrective action. In addition, employees can feel empowered knowing they are helping keep themselves and others safe.