This is where we put any articles and written words that are related to anything hydraulic
Dominion Diamond Corporation is a major supplier of rough diamonds to the world market. Their operation at the Ekati Diamond Mine near the Arctic Circle often requires specialized equipment that can withstand challenging work environments and harsh climates.
Part of the process that brings rough diamonds to the surface involves skilled workers known as High Wall Scalers. This specialized crew works in the open pits to remove hazards, like large rocks and boulders, from the sheer, vertical walls of the mine, which can be as high as 30 meters.
Together, with the engineering team at Dominion Diamond Corp., Bigfoot designed and built a customized rock-scaling basket according to the company’s requirements.
To read the full case study, click here.
For more information about Boscaro man baskets, click here.
Phoenix Fabricators and Erectors needed to cut a 100-foot water tank, add a 40-foot extension, then put the suspended piece back on. For a company with more than 30 years of experience in constructing, installing, renovating and rebuilding large above-ground water tanks across the US, the project should have been routine.
It was anything but. Call it a perfect storm combining hazards and challenges that most project engineers do their best to avoid. “We were limited by sight constraints,” says Kurt Fuller, Engineer of Record for Phoenix. “Our three large cranes had limited mobility and were set up on a very tight work site. On top of that, we were directly adjacent to a community high school.”
To read the full case study, click here.
For more information about the NAVIS Anemometer systems, click here.
Safety is paramount on any production set and in an industry where getting just the right shot can make all the difference, that safety is even more critical when people and equipment are being lifted high in the air.
To read the full case study, click here.
For more information about the NAVIS Anemometer systems, click here.
It was a tall logistical order, but we came up with an integrated plan that included a 35 metre Potain HD40A Self-Erecting Tower Crane mounted on an engineered 20 foot stand set up over the sidewalk, allowing foot traffic to move freely underneath
To read the full case study, click here.
Amid recent news of a terrifying double crane collapse on August 3, which crushed multiple homes and shops in Holland, the importance of overhead crane safety continues to show that it cannot be stressed enough. Cranes and hoists are necessary in many construction applications, such as the building of the bridge in Holland where this recent collapse occurred. Equipment failure and improper use of cranes cause accidents, property damage, injuries and fatalities every year. Implementing overhead crane safety that recognizes hazards and adheres to simple inspection and safety guidelines can reduce the likelihood of these unfortunate events.
Hazards You Should Look Out For
- Electrical Hazards. Coming into contact with energized power lines can be deadly; the rule of thumb is to assume all lines are live. Although it usually harms the person in direct contact with the crane, there is a risk of others being injured. Pre-job safety planning can be instrumental in preventing electrical dangers. Local safety regulations will outline a safe distance between operators and power lines. Marking off the safe distance with tape and signs can be helpful for providing a visual aid to the crane operator.
- Overloading. Common sense says that a crane should never be overloaded past its rated weight capacity; otherwise, you risk collapse of the crane toppling over. However, it does often occurs when an experienced operator decides to trust their instinct on what sort of load their crane can bear, instead of following safety procedures. Using load-measuring systems and other technologies can help prevent overloading.
- Side pull. Cranes and hoists are designed to lift straight up and straight down according to the Hoist Manufacturers Institute and the Crane Manufacturers Association of America. A side pull can cause the wire rope to come out of its groove and damage itself by scraping against the drum or remaining rope. It’s not unheard of for the rope to jump the drum itself, causing it to tangle around the shaft and put additional stress on the rope.
- Falling materials. There’s always a risk of falling materials at any construction site. Mechanical failure, slippage, visual impairment, and incompetency on behalf of the crane operator are all potential causes. It’s important for workers to wear their hardhats and engage in personal safety measures; however, that is often not enough to prevent injury or fatality when a load is dropped.
- Braking issues. A contributing factor to the hazard of falling materials is reliance on second braking. Primary and secondary brakes are required for all hoists, and electric hoists will have a drum brake or fail-safe disc brake. These are to ensure that the crane will continue to hold its load if the power suddenly goes out.
Secondary Brakes are not Foolproof
There are two main types of secondary brakes, mechanical load brakes and regenerative brakes. Mechanical load brakes are rarely used because they are expensive and generate a lot of heat. Regenerative brakes are more common, but they are not designed to hold the load in the result of a primary brake failure, instead they will lower the load at the standard operating speed.
Keep in mind that no matter what kind of secondary brake a crane or hoist is using, it is unsafe to walk beneath a load. Whether the load takes a controlled fall or just drops, the results for anyone underneath the load could easily be fatal. Proper overhead crane safety assumes that the crane operator is not relying on the assistance of secondary brakes.
Overhead Crane Safety Calls for Daily Inspections
A simple safety check requires the operator to use their eyes and ears and keep record of what they find. A visual survey can often confirm whether the:
- Area is clear
- Crane looks operational
- Crane might be in need of repair
It’s also important to check to make sure that the end stops are in place and functioning. Crane operators should make sure that the hoist is working in all directions, and that the buttons’ directions match its movement. Safety circuits will be disabled and all of the directional buttons will be wrong if the power phases happen to be reversed.
An experienced operator can tell a lot by listening to the crane as well, including unusual sounds when running up the hoist, or trolley and bridge movement. After examining the hoist and going through your inspection checklist, make sure to document any changes or anything unusual.
Although they only take a few minutes and are required by OSHA and most regulatory agencies worldwide, not everyone performs daily inspections on their cranes. The task doesn’t require any special maintenance personnel; all it needs is an operator checking a simple checklist. This one task is a simple step in overhead crane safety and is critical to preventing property damage and injuries.
Most if not all of the accidents associated with overhead crane use are easily preventable by paying attention to potential hazards, performing daily inspections and just using common sense.
photo via www.nickleelectrical.com
It is understood that a certain amount of risk will always exist with most business ventures. Construction projects are no exception to this reality. However, it is important to focus on managing construction risk through proper preparation and a thorough review of contract documents at the beginning of a project. Allocating the responsibility for risk to the parties that are best able to manage them can minimize incidents and the cost of each risk. Keep these simple tips in mind when preparing for your next project.
Allocating Your Risk
A part of managing construction risks includes working together with all parties during contract preparation to anticipate potential risks and assign responsibility for them to the party best capable of handling them, if they should arise. The owner would typically be best at managing flaws in design, placement and environment, while the contractor would be better at handling issues with personnel and performance. Management of indemnity and general insurance are key to managing construction risk in these scenarios.
Protection with Indemnity Policies and Provisions
Liability that arises from professional negligence is best managed through professional indemnity insurance. Most indemnity policies contain a contractual liability that is equivalent to professional negligence. Many professional consultants are required to carry such insurance. A proactive way of managing construction risk before beginning a project is to ensure that your coverage is up-to-date and will meet the needs of your particular project before beginning.
- Product Liability Insurance – This coverage protects against liability for injury to people or damage to property that arises from products supplied by a business. Suppliers of equipment to a construction or engineering project, such as lifts or escalators, may be required to maintain such insurance. You may want to hire a consultant to ensure that the insurance carried by the supplier matches the needs of your project. Indemnity clauses regarding product liability should place responsibility squarely on the contractor.
- Public Liability Insurance – Liability arising from death or personal injury to third parties and for damage to property belonging to third parties falls under this type of coverage. Normally you would provide adequate security to ensure that public liability remains at a low-risk during your construction project. However, by assigning responsibility through definitive clauses, you are ensuring that should the risk arise, it will be handled with the care that is required for such incidents.
- Latent Defects Insurance – This insurance generally protects the owner against the cost of remedying the structure of a building due to unknown and unforeseeable defects. While an owner would typically cover this, individual provisions may be made for material placement and quality-of-work issues that revolve around the contractor’s intrinsic responsibility regarding these facets of the project.
Managing Construction Risk in Funding and Feasibility
Two other forms of risk that commonly have a negative impact on construction projects are funding risks and feasibility risks. These are often described as “invisible risks” because they are rarely evident until they arise. However, careful preparation and research can go a long way towards preventing them. Both require different strategies to manage, but both come from the same source – reliability of the available contractors and their solvency and professionalism.
Feasibility risks arise from hidden weaknesses in the original business plan proposal. They can include (but are not limited to) environmental concerns, including:
- Unforeseen factors in location
- Issues with coding and zoning laws
- Weather-based delays
A proper analysis of location, as well as a review by an expert in local zoning and coding is necessary to ensure that both the contractor and the owner are prepared for the hidden costs of feasibility defects before signing the contracts for your project.
Funding risks are inevitable but are rarely prepared for. They can include a multitude of situations such as:
- Subcontractors refusing to abide by original quotes
- Cost of potential fines
- Expenses associated with extended service contracts
While it is impossible to entirely avoid funding risks, setting clear budgetary limits for contractors and the proper examination and mitigation of feasibility risks will go a long way towards preventing unexpected costs from derailing a project.
Risk Management Is “Management”
Realizing that managing construction risks is just that…managing, not preventing, is necessary for coping with the inevitable. Remember these three steps: “Research, prepare, assign.” This is considered an important mantra for any successful owner or contractor. Ensure that you have identified all the factors that may be potentially problematic before beginning a project by:
- Consulting with experts and professionals
- Preparing your proposal and budgetary restrictions
- Ensuring that responsibility and its accompanying insurance and indemnity is appropriately assigned before finalizing your initial contracts
Truthfully, operating a tower crane can be challenging in the best of weather conditions. However, as anyone who has worked in the construction industry can tell you, Mother Nature hardly ever cooperates, making it important to know about operating tower cranes in extreme weather. Weather delays can easily double the amount of time it takes to complete a job. Regardless, every project needs to be finished and this means that sometimes, tower cranes have to be operated in less than ideal conditions. By taking a number of precautionary measures, the risk involved with these operations can be minimized.
When understanding how to safely use tower cranes in extreme weather, windy conditions come to mind first. All cranes have a designated maximum wind speed under which they can be safely operated. If winds exceed this speed, the crane cannot be operated safely. Wind ratings vary between different cranes, models and configurations, so it is important to know how weather conditions affect your particular crane or its setup.
If a lift must be done in windy conditions, a number of factors should be considered. Generally, manufacturers will provide guidelines for the maximum wind speed a lift can be done in. If these recommendations are not available, wind speeds of 20 miles per hour are the absolute maximum a lift should be conducted in. You may want to consider delaying the lift if the wind is blowing in the 15 – 20 mile per hour range.
The characteristics of the load can diminish the safety of a lift in windy conditions. If the load could catch a large amount of wind or be difficult to control if the wind catches it, consider delaying the lift. Knowing the direction of the wind is also important, as winds from the side or rear can cause the load to swing in a way that would strain the crane or reduce its maximum load.
It is also important to remember that wind speed tends to increase with height, so lifts higher above the ground could be more susceptible to high winds. If the lift is being done between two structures, it could be subject to a wind tunnel effect when wind gusts are funneled between the structures, thus increasing wind speed.
Cold Weather Conditions
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, extremely cold temperatures can also have a negative effect on the performance of tower cranes. Cold temperatures can affect many elements of a tower crane, including its hydraulics, rigging devices and hoists. Cold weather can also reduce the tensile strength of the crane and in extreme cases, cause a catastrophic failure during operation.
At zero degrees Celsius, the cold begins to have an effect on hoists and rigging devices. In subzero temperatures, the weather can affect the crane’s hydraulics and maximum load capacity. If a lift is being conducted in the extreme cold, the potential failure of hydraulic systems should be considered and the maximum load should be reduced by 25 percent.
If the temperature dips to between minus 30 to 40 degrees Celsius, the crane’s maximum load should be reduced by 40 percent and delaying the lift should be considered. If temperatures on site are below minus 40, all lifts should be halted unless they must be used for emergency reasons.
Cold Weather Precautions and Adjustments
If a crane is being operated in a cold climate, several changes can be made to make its operation safer. Cold weather finishes, such as two-part epoxies or hold-dipped galvanized steel are available and can withstand temperatures as low as minus 57. Enclosed track systems, which can be constructed from these materials and are used to surround moving parts, can protect the crane’s trolley from the ice buildup that is common at lower temperatures.
The operation of motorized systems can be problematic in subzero conditions, but can potentially be solved by implementing electrified systems, such as conductor bars. Conductor bar sections serve as a cold weather alternative to box track festooning. They are made from galvanized steel and are designed to carry a specific current without overheating. Conductor bar sections can prevent the buildup of ice and other debris on the crane’s joints.
A number of crane parts are also available for cold weather-specific operations. Heated control enclosures and gearboxes, arctic duty motors and low temperature lubricants are just a few examples of equipment that can be utilized in these less than ideal conditions.
photo via www.stockarch.com
Crane operation, to be safe and efficient, requires skill, the exercise of extreme care and good judgment, alertness and concentration, and a rigid adherence to proven safety rules and practices as outlined in applicable and current ANSI and OSHA safety standards.
Every crane operator, including those involved in slinging loads and directing lifting operations, must be trained and competent in every facet of crane operations.
There are four key points that employees must be aware of in safe crane operation:
- How to plan and manage lifting operations
- The development of safe procedures for working with cranes
- How to supervise lifting operations properly
- Examining and reviewing operations and processes carefully
What Safe Crane Operators Need to Know
Although tower and mobile cranes are used extensively on many construction projects, they present three significant dangers:
- Crane collapse – these incidents create tremendous potential for multiple fatal injuries, to both employees and bystanders;
- Load falling or sling line snapping – Due to the height of the tower cranes, there is a possibility that high winds and tight spaces might make loads fall which would create a significant potential for death or major injury.
- Accidents due to lack of awareness or communications – There have been incidents where people have been struck by moving loads, or even cranes contacting overhead electrical wires.
In many cases, it’s usually the crane operator and supervisor who assume legal responsibilities for safe lifting operations. When a crane is hired, the responsibility for planning, supervising and carrying out lifting operations rests with the operator, or by the crane hire company if they explicitly state so in their contract with the crane operator.
One point to be aware of is that customers who hire cranes may not have the necessary skills or experience for safe planning of crane operations and will most likely opt for a ‘Contract Lift’ from the crane hire company.
Planning Lifting Operations
It goes without saying that all safe crane operations must be planned in advance. This means that all foreseeable risks are addressed, and the safety of bystanders and employees are accounted for. The supervisor should have practical and theoretical knowledge including extensive experience of the lifts being undertaken.
By doing a risk assessment, identifying the resources required, setting up procedures, and assigning responsibilities, the supervisor verifies that any lifting operation can be carried out safely. The operational plan should include that the lifting equipment remains safe for the range of lifting operations for which the equipment might be used.
Safe Crane Operations
A crane operator must plan lifting operations carefully to ensure they are carried out safely. This plan should result in a safe system of work that may need to be written down if it is a complex lift. This record is sometimes known as a “method statement” and crane operators should ensure that everyone involved understands it.
The method statement should include:
- The planning details. This includes site review, preparation, crane assembly and dismantling;
- Identifying the proper equipment. This means the selection and use of the correct crane and other work equipment such as slings and signaling equipment.
- Maintenance and care. The maintenance and care of the crane and other equipment should be scheduled and there should be a plan to address any potential issues. Also a documented process should be created for every examination and movement of the crane.
- Safety measures. Any safety measures implemented to secure safety of the general public and any employees not involved in the lifting.
The right level of supervision must be in place for lifting operations, reflecting the degree of risk and personnel involved in the particular lifting operation. A competent crane supervisor should have sufficient work experience to carry out all duties and must have taken the relevant courses and certifications. They also must have the authority to stop any lifting operations should it become too dangerous to proceed.
There are strict legal requirements concerning the thorough examination of all cranes: Lifting equipment must be thoroughly examined at the prescribed intervals. This entails a detailed and specialized examination by a competent person.
The examination will usually be arranged by the crane hire company, although it is the responsibility of the crane user to ensure that all necessary examinations are carried out and that the required reports are in order. Records of thorough examinations and tests must be: readily available to enforcing authorities; secure; and capable of being reproduced in written form.
Each crane operator is held directly responsible for safe crane operation. Whenever there is any doubt as to safety, the operator should stop the crane and refuse to handle loads until safe conditions have been restored.
Much like a drivers license, there are minimum standards that every crane operator must adhere to. Crane operators must be at least 18 years of age and must also have good hearing and peripheral vision. These attributes are necessary for safe crane operation.
photo via: www.totalequipmenttraining.com
The intricate requirements in high-rise construction work demand specific solutions and in-depth expertise far beyond simple paperwork. There are many causes for injuries in high-rise construction work and most of them are related to individual falls and handling of goods.
High-Rise Construction Risk Assessment
Work accidents related to safety often include: ladders, falling waste, individual falling and trips, electrical shock, and crane and hoist operation. The key measures of improving on-site job safety in high-rise construction lie in the areas of:
- improvements in facility design
- safety equipment
Individual falls are one of the most common accidents that occur during the construction process and the main causes are distracted employees, unsafe balustrades or slippery footing. The attempt to remove any one of these causes might lower the risk of accidents, but each injury also has specific causes that need to be addressed.
It is the manager’s job, as the direct owner’s representative, to ensure that all contractors and their employees follow the safety regulations completely and use the fine-and-reward system to increase safety at workplaces.
Key Safety Strategies for High-Rise Construction
Quality control in high-rise construction is critical to ensure that the minimum quality standards are applied on site, in order to ensure efficient performance and maintain good construction quality.
During the high-rise construction process, safety precautions include vigilance, understanding the risks of the working practices and employing professional physical safeguards like barricades, braces, railing, and guy lines. Also, the following protection systems should be standard in high-rise construction projects:
- sidewalk sheds
- jersey barriers
- vertical netting
- horizontal netting
Making responsible decisions in the planning and design stages can ensure safety during a high-rise construction project. Safety also relies heavily on educating the workers and ensuring optimal cooperation and communication between owners, inspectors and project managers during the construction phase. Workers should be educated to inform their managers of the possibilities of accidents and avoid taking unnecessary risks.
Other safety precautions should include no smoking on the premises. Managers should rigorously check and monitor all possible causes that may lead to fire or explosions, including flammable materials and chemicals found on-site.
Specialized Project Management and Supervision
Given the high degree of human error, safety is also increased by strengthening rules, regulations and fines, as well as frequent training, daily inspections, weekly safety audits, safety signs and billboards. Plus, incentives and performance bonuses should encourage workers to obey the rules and give good examples for ensuring safety on site.
In order to ensure safety, project managers must:
- identify foreseeable hazards that could give rise to bodily injury or death risks
- eliminate or minimize the risks as much as possible by implementing control measures
- maintain risk control measures and revise them so as to maintain, as much as possible, a safe work environment
Each of these safety methods is applied based on specific on-site requirements and considerable planning. In order to guarantee proper handling and execution of the designs and plans of high-rise construction, workers must undergo a series of periodical training sessions.
It is highly recommended that owners work closely with professional project management teams in order to ensure that the schedule is reached within budget and quality standards and safety demands are successfully met.
photo via www.newsletters.agc.org
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Bigfoot Crane Company Inc.
2170 Carpenter Street
Abbotsford, BC V2T 6B4
Toll free: 1-877-852-2192
Local: (604) 854-3218
Fax: (604) 854-5716
Email: [email protected]