If a suspended load is dropped, several hazards exist including items on the ground becoming projectiles, splashes, crushed bones, asphyxiation, and soft tissue and head and eye injuries, among others. Even small items can cause serious injury. Suspended loads can also contact power lines and cause electrical shock.
Tips to avoiding injuries from suspended loads:
- Inspect chains, slings, eyehooks, straps and any other devices that are used to attach the load to the hoist. Ensure these devices are properly rated for the load.
- Verify the load is less than the rated load for the machine.
- If the load is suspended outdoors, consider the impact of ambient winds and the machines’ ability to support the load.
- Do not move a load over workers.
- Do not allow workers under a suspended load.
- Do not leave a load suspended in the air without an operator present.
- Do not allow buckets to remain in the air when machine is unattended or shut off.
- Loads that can roll, such as pipe, must be secured if resting on forks or on a flat surface.
- Always use the lowest overall rating of any part as the maximum rating for the entire hoist system.
- If applicable, verify hydraulic systems and air lines are not leaking. Verify chains and gears of the lifting device are lubricated.
- While hauling a suspended load, avoid sudden movements or stops that would cause strain on the support system.
- Do not allow suspended load to swing outside the tires or tracks of equipment, this can cause tip over.
- If using mobile equipment to suspend the load, ensure the parking brake is set to avoid movement of the machine.
- Verify all materials and loose items on the load are properly tied down and secured.
- Try to keep a 10 foot minimum distance from suspended loads and a greater distance if the load is suspended at heights above 15 feet.
- If the load requires a tag line, make sure the tag line is long enough to allow the operator to safely guide the load.
- Ensure horns and back-up alarms are working properly.
- Keep clear of power lines by at least 10 feet, preferably more.
Questions to Generate Discussion:
- What is a safe distance to keep from a suspended load?
- If the hook’s rating is 1200 pounds, the sling’s is 2400 pounds and the crane’s rating is 5000 pounds, what is the maximum weight I can lift?