Cranes are among the best friends we have in the construction industry. As long as we care for them properly, see that they are set up properly and that they are used within the manufacturers' specifications, problems are few and benefits are many. Unfortunately we often find employees, craft and supervisory, forgetting the maintenance, neglecting the set-up, or expecting the crane to more than it was designed to do. Disaster is an impatient specter lurking over these operations, waiting for the right circumstance to strike.

Some choose to debate as to who is responsible for crane operations. Is it the safety person, the supervisor, the foreman or the workers associated with the crane operation? In fact, it is all these and more. Management of the risk in crane operations is spread across several facets of your operation. Fostering a culture where roles in crane operations are clearly defined and consistently completed is a key to accident free crane operations.

Companies may think they have no cranes but may fail to account for shop overhead cranes, boom trucks, etc. This paper focuses on the mobile cranes used on construction sites. Be aware of the other types of cranes and apply controls to them as well.

Protecting your company begins with recognizing risk in your operations, determining the acceptable level of risk for the company to assume and controlling the situation to fit within those parameters. Frequently used methods of controlling risk include:

  • Hiring a safety professional to help lower frequency and severity of losses.

  • Risk transfer.

    • Risk transfer may include utilizing a subcontractor for crane operations. This may place the bulk of the responsibility for safe operations on the subcontractor but every general contractor must remember that the GC is ultimately accountable for maintaining a safe job site.

    • Another method of risk transfer is through insurance. There are a few issues we want to mention quickly related to insurance.

    • Portions of crane operations may be excluded in "normal" construction coverage. Some companies exclude damage due to a boom or jib overload.

    • Crane coverage may have higher deductible limits than other items under your inland marine.

    • Factors that would affect the terms/deductibles/rates would be value of load, size (weight and bulk) of load, damagability of load, height of lift and experience of rigger.

      • Riggers Liability covers the liability of the insured as bailee for damage to material/equipment/machinery of others in the c/c/c of Insured during rigging/hoisting/loading or unloading/dismantling/incidental transit

      • An important factor to consider is carrying insurance for the value of the item being lifted. High value material or equipment may warrant extra consideration.

      • Marine forms often vary from company to company so they would need to refer to the specific form to be used to check the exact scope of coverage.

This content is only available via PDF.
You can access this article if you purchase or spend a download.