Cranes are basically used to shift, lift the heavy materials and loads from one place to another.

What are the Most Common Crane Hazards?

Working with cranes poses many hazards, and unsafe working practices can result in injuries, fatalities and costly damage to buildings and materials. Therefore, it’s important you’re aware of the main hazards and how you can avoid them.

Some of the main crane-related hazards include:

Falling Loads

When working with overhead cranes, falling loads are one of the most common, and most dangerous, hazards. A falling load can result in several injuries, fatalities and significant structural damage to buildings and property. Additionally, it will also lead to significant time and money costs.

Falling loads from an overhead crane could be the result of:

  • Operator incompetency. You must ensure your employees are adequately trained so they are able to carry out their roles competently and safely. 
  • Slipping. If you don’t secure loads properly it can result in slipping material.
  • Mechanical failure. The risk of mechanical failure can be reduced if you ensure a competent person carries out routine inspections, maintenance and repairs at suitable intervals.
  • Two blocking. Two blocking occurs when an uppermost hoist line component (i.e the load block, hook block, overhaul ball) touches the upper block, boom tip or similar component. When two blocking occurs, increased tension is placed on the line which can result in falling loads or crane components.

Electrical Hazards

Around 50% of accidents involving overhead cranes are a result of a metal part of a crane coming into contact with a power source (i.e a high-voltage power line). There’s a risk of a crane’s hoist line or boom touching energized power lines when moving materials nearby or underneath. While those directly touching the crane are the most likely to be electrocuted, any workers in the vicinity are also at risk. Therefore, one accident can result in multiple deaths and injuries. Around 200 fatalities per year are the result of contact with power lines, so it’s crucial that pre-job planning is carried out prior to starting work.

Crane Overload

The majority of crane structural failures and upsets are the result of somebody overloading a crane. If you exceed a crane’s operational capacity, you are likely to subject it to structural stresses and cause irreversible damage.

You could overload a crane if you:

  • Swing or suddenly drop loads.
  • Hoist loads beyond the cranes capacity.
  • Use defective components.
  • Drag loads.
  • Side-load a boom.


  • Crawler crane with a fixed boom
  • Telescopic & mobile cranes
  • Rough Terrain crain
  • Tower Crane
  • Floating crane


  • Outrigger with spreader mates
  • Center pin
  • Superstructure
  • Crane cabin
  • Boom
  • Main and auxiliary hook
  • Anti-tube block/limit switch.
Lifting & Crane Hazards:
Shifting of materials from one place to another place using Crane and Boom truck (Lifting) is a critical work which has the following hazards:
·         Falling of load
·         Hitting & crushing of a load to existing facilities
·         Toppling of Crane
·         High wind speed, Poor communication and poor visibility
·         Damage to underground utilities of earth.

Lifting & Crane safety precautions:

  1. Soil or ground condition shall be checked and should be leveled.
  2. Spread mate shall be used size 1:3.
  3. Outrigger shall be fully extended and at least 1 meter away from manholes and trenches.
  4. Do not overload, always lift up to SWL (safe working load).
  5. Crane shall be used up to 75% of its capacity as per KNPC regulation.
  6. Do not operate crane in high wind and raining conditions.
  7. Barricade the swinging radius of crane and don’t allow unauthorized persons except for trained and certified rigger.
  8. Rigger should wear a jacket.
  9. The only rigger can give signal to the crane operators.
  10. Minimum two tag lines shall be used to control the swinging of load.
  11. Man entry is not allowable under the suspended load even if he is a rigger.
  12. Straight, basket, and choker hitch shall be used.
  13. Crane should have a reverse beep horn.

What are the things we have to check in cranes?

  1.  Hot work permit or lifting permit before starting of job.
  2. If more than multiple cranes are using risk assessment shall be done.
  3. Crane third party certificate, validity one year ( plate number, validity, any remarks and number of falls).
  4. Operator third party & license.
  5. Rigger third party and its validity (one year).
  6. Safety certificate and fire extinguishers of the crane.
  7. Crane outriggers and mates.
  8. Crane computer function.
  9. Anti tube block/limit switch (it will stop the function of crane hook once it touches and it will prevent from hook from hitting to top boom pulley.
  10. Lifting appliance like (wire rope sling, webbing sling, D shackle, chain block) third party certificate (validity 6 months) and don’t use beyond its SWL.
  11. Damage and expired lifting tools and tackles shall not be used.
  12. Safety latch of a main and auxiliary hook.
  13. A hydraulic leak of oil.
  14. The cabin of crane shall be free from blind spot.
  15. PPE of working crew especially leather gloves for rigger and safety harness.

Our company (RCL Safety Centre), is an indigenous company dedicated to Health, Safety and Environment Training and Services. We are an approved training partners of most major International Occupational Safety and Health organizations like NEBOSH, ISPON with thousands of personnel trained in various areas till date.

Contact RCL Safety Centre for your Safety Trainings, Fire Equipment and PPE Equipment.

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