When you rent a crane, in most cases, you will also be hiring a crane operator to accompany it. Because cranes are huge, expensive pieces of machinery and can easily cause fatalities if involved in an accident, hiring a crane operator who has a lot of industry experience and is familiar with the type of job you are doing is vital.
Most crane accidents are the result of inadequate worker training. Simply having a crane operators' license doesn't mean that your crane operator is skilled in avoiding accidents, as that comes with experience.
For this reason, hiring the cheapest crane or getting a crane with a new or inexperienced operator can end up costing time, money and the health or lives of workers. Here are three reasons why an experienced crane operator is important for your construction project.
1. Experience Helps Them Avoid Overhead Hazards.
One of the most common reasons for a crane accident is hitting an overhead power line or other object.
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) reports that an average of 15 electrocutions a year occur when a crane boom makes contact with an overhead electrical line. In fact, about a third of all electricity-related deaths at construction sites involve cranes.
Well-trained crane operators can minimize risk by:
- Keeping the proper line clearance distance. The Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) has set a minimum clearance of 10 feet from lines that carry 50,000 or more volts. That distance increases for higher-voltage lines. Checking for the correct clearance and making sure it is maintained at all times comes more naturally to crane operators with experience on the job site.
- Knowing how to keep the crane's boom from contacting lines. While the crane can't be within a certain distance of the electrical line, it's important to have experienced crane operators who know the proper distance to keep the crane's boom from these lines.
- Being trained in what to do in case of contact. A trained crane operator will have a background in what to in worst-case scenarios, such as when contact is made with a power line.
2. Experience Makes Them Vital to Job Site Safety.
Even an experienced crane operator is at the mercy of others on the job site and can make mistakes. That's why it is also important for the job site to have a set plan for safety. An experienced crane operator will recognize the importance of having such a plan and make sure it is in place at each job site they work at.
In addition, a knowledgeable crane operator can evaluate and determine the best place for cranes to operate given the tasks they need to perform. An unstable base for the crane can result in the machine tipping or even rolling over. Icy or slick areas are not good places for cranes to operate, and a knowledgeable operator will be able to help find a proper place for the crane to sit in order to perform its duties.
3. Experience Helps Ensure Their Cranes are Properly Inspected.
You rely on your crane rental company to have perfectly maintained and inspected machinery. An experienced crane operator is another confirmation that you have a crane that is in good working condition. Knowledgeable crane operators will have checked their machines before starting work on the job site.
When you need to rent a crane, don't settle for the cheapest option available. A good crane rental company will come with experienced and well-trained operators that can make a big difference to the safety of your job site and protection of your workers.