5 Risks to Be Aware of When Renting a Loader Crane for Lifting Operations


Cranes are widely used for rigging tasks in various industries such as logistics and transportation, construction, landscaping, and even hospitality. A loader crane is mounted onto a truck and used to load and offload trucks and other vehicles. The configuration of the crane and the nature of operations present various risks that every user should be aware of before any rigging projects. If left unmitigated, these risks can result in property damage and fatalities on the project site.

With this in mind, here are the five main risks that you should aim to prevent when renting and overseeing the operations of a loader crane.

1. Ground Instability

The truck on which a loader crane is mounted should rest on stable, solid ground. The weight of the vehicle and the crane can cause safety issues if the equipment is used on unstable ground. If the soil is too soft, the truck may sink in or lose stability and topple over. Similarly, if the ground is uneven, it can cause the truck to lose balance. This can cause property damage and possibly severe injuries on the site.

Before operating a loader crane, assess the condition of the ground. Ensure it is firm and even; it should be able to handle the weight of the truck and crane. Also, avoid undertaking rigging operations in wet weather as the rain can compromise ground conditions, cause instability, and increase the risk of accidents.

2. Mechanical Failure of the Boom

The boom is the most recognisable part of a crane as it's the arm that moves around during operation. The load is tied to the end of the boom and moved from one location to another. Instances of mechanical failure are common in crane booms due to the following reasons:

  • Lack of or inconsistent servicing and maintenance of the boom
  • Improper loading 
  • Overloading of the boom

If mechanical failure occurs, the boom can stop mid-air or fail to respond to controls. This can cause it to move haphazardly and cause damages and injuries on the site. Conduct daily inspections with the help of an expert crane inspector. Ensure that the crane is correctly loaded with weight that's within the manufacturer's recommended limit.

3. Improper Outrigger Deployment

A crane's outrigger plays a critical role in lifting operations. It levels and stabilises the crane during operations. If it is not set up correctly, it won't adequately stabilise the crane. As a result, the weight of the load may cause the crane to lose balance and topple over. Should this happen, there will be massive destruction on the project site. Thoroughly inspect the outrigger before rigging to ensure it's properly deployed. 

4. Incorrect Loader Crane Operation

Every year, Australia records over 240 serious claims from crane accidents. Most of these result from incorrect crane operation. One leading cause of improper loader crane operation is working with an unqualified operator. An individual who doesn't understand the inner workings of the crane can load it incorrectly, overload it, or misuse controls and cause accidents. 

Hire a qualified operator to avoid damages resulting from improper crane rigging. If possible, choose a crane rental package that comes with the operator. Rental companies have professional, qualified, and insured workers who have extensive experience in operating the equipment. They also know how to undertake inspections and risk assessments before rigging jobs to ensure safety.

5. Unsafe Rigging Operations

Unsafe rigging refers to any loading or offloading operations that risk property damage or injuries on the site. They include the following:

  • Failure to cordon off the surrounding area during operations
  • Lifting loads above areas with foot traffic
  • Using old, worn, and uninspected rigging equipment
  • Failure to provide necessary PPE to workers

Before using a loader crane, barricade the work area to avoid accidents. Also, do not lift any load above people's heads as they could get hurt if the crane malfunctions. Inspect ropes, chains, and other rigging equipment, and provide PPE such as hard hats to the workers.

Just like other cranes, loader cranes can cause severe accidents and injuries on a job site if mismanaged. Before your operations, assess the above risks and mitigate them to ensure a safe working site.


27 July 2020

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