Not-So-Great Moments in Safety: Truck Crane Safety

Truck Crane Safety

Not-So-Great Moments In Safety

Jill James

Jill James

Chief Safety Officer

Jill James brings an unrivaled perspective on risk, regulation and liability. With 14 years of experience as a Senior OSHA Safety Investigator with the State of Minnesota, and nearly a decade in the private sector as a safety program manager, Jill is a passionate advocate for training ROI.

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What’s the hazard here? Well, let’s start by naming what we see here. The photo shows a service truck crane with a person suspended from the hook of the crane near over-heard power lines. Using a crane to lift a person is prohibited unless as the law (29 CFR 1926.1431(a)) states, “the employer demonstrates that the erection, use, and dismantling of conventional means of reaching the work area, such as a personnel hoist, ladder, stairway, aerial lift, elevating work platform, or scaffold, would be more hazardous, or is not possible because of the project's structural design or worksite conditions.”

Other hazards that jump off this page is the proximity to over-head power lines and the lack of an identified work zone, though the safe use of cranes has much greater complexity and detail. 

How can this hazard be corrected? Yes, using a telescoping boom lift, similar to the one pictured below  is intended for elevating people and is commonly used for such purposes.

Truck Crane Safety

Any other laws around this? In addition to the one cited above, 29CFR 1926.1408(a) addresses identifying and demarking work zones and 1926.1407(a) and (b) and 1926.1408(b)-(h) address working around over-head. And, the entire regulation on crane uses is found in 29CFR 1926.1400-1442.

Conversation starters: Do we have any tasks where our people need to work from a height and we may not have access to the correct equipment for the job? Do we have any ladders that are too short, tasks where a scissor lift, articulating or telescoping lift would work better? 

Do people really die from this sort of situation? A simple search of crane collapse or cranes and electrocutions will highlight the gravity of the situation when cranes are used improperly. Electrocution is the third leading cause of death in the construction industry and making contact with overhead power-lines one of those electrocution risks.