Working with Cranes and Large Equipment

Skyscrapers are an incredible sight to marvel at. To construct them (or to tear them down), construction workers use machines as tall as the buildings themselves. These machines looked like giants when we were small children. Even as adults, they’re quite enormous. That’s why we composed this guide to working with cranes and large equipment.

Working with Cranes and Large Equipment

Operating large cranes and machinery is no easy task. It requires experience, training, and careful planning. Here’s how contractors use cranes and large equipment at construction sites:

How Are Cranes Used?

You can’t build or demolish a skyscraper without large machines. Equipment like cranes, skid steers, and bulldozers are often seen at construction sites. These types of equipment are used to lift, lower, and relocate heavy materials. When planning a construction project, workers should know the maximum weight that the crane can handle. They should also consider what type of material they’re moving. If they move a load that’s too heavy, the crane could tip over or become off-balance. 

Site & Project Planning

With any construction or demolition project, precise planning is key—nothing should be left to chance. When construction crews are planning a project, they must consider things like:

  • Can the equipment handle the weight of the materials at the worksite?
  • Who will be operating the equipment, and what are their credentials/experience? Who will supervise them?
  • What will the weather be like during the workday? If rain or snow is expected, is it possible to reschedule?
  • Is the ground level and secure?
  • How will loads be balanced on the cranes?

Before any work begins, the site should be prepared extensively. Workers need to set up the necessary equipment and ensure it’s functioning properly. They need to restrict access to areas where cranes are operating. And finally, they must alert nearby residents about the work that’s occurring. 

signal person for cranes

Safety Training Before Working with Cranes

Prior to working with cranes, contractors require extensive training. This ensures that they know precisely how to keep themselves and those around them safe. With each project, there are unique safety hazards to consider. For example, think of equipment used for commercial demolition services. Machines are used to transport large volumes of debris, including concrete, wood, and metal frames. These loads must be secured in place before they’re moved. 

If these machines are used incorrectly, hazards include:

  • Moving loads that are off-balance
  • Equipment tipping over
  • Power lines being struck

This is why every contractor is trained about crane safety before operating cranes. Workers at a job site should know never to walk under a crane or piece of equipment that’s in motion. Operators should never move loads over a worker; the weight could become off-balance and fall out of place. 

Supervision

Even the most experienced operators can overlook a potential obstacle. They might be focused entirely on one thing, and miss the fact that another worker is standing too close to their machine.  The owner of Skyline Crane, a business that offers crane rentals in Winnipeg, writes: “It’s always necessary to have a site supervisor, no matter how small the job is. A supervisor monitors the equipment from a different perspective, and warns the operator or anyone nearby if a safety hazard may occur.”

It’s dangerous to use a cell phone while operating construction machinery. Instead of communicating on a smartphone, supervisors can use handheld transceivers or hand signals to communicate with crane operators. A supervisor can oversee the construction project and ensure that everything goes according to plan. By observing the work from a distance, they can identify any possible hazards. To construct a skyscraper or take down a commercial building, construction workers are working with cranes and other large equipment. It takes an entire crew to plan these projects effectively, from the initial blueprints to the work itself. All contractors receive extensive training about how to operate these machines safely and efficiently.

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1 thought on “Working with Cranes and Large Equipment”

  1. Victoria Addington

    I appreciate the reminder that personnel should be aware of the crane’s maximum weight capacity when utilizing heavy machinery in building projects. As you indicated, the crane may topple over or lose its balance if the load is too great. I’ll definitely pass this along to my uncle so he can keep it in mind as he’s been looking for crane rentals for a project of his. I appreciate you sharing!

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