Gantry cranes are extremely useful for moving heavy materials in shops. As with other types of cranes, they may present several potential hazards. A gantry crane’s greatest potential hazard is being struck by an object that falls from the crane or rigging or being struck or crushed by an object that swings into it.
To help protect against these hazards, follow these basic safe work practices:
- Do not use the crane until you have received the appropriate training. Inspection use and maintenance recommendations should be discussed as part of the training.
- Ensure you have access to the operator’s manual and spend time reading through it.
- Every day, inspect the crane before use.
- Make sure there are no damaged components or leaks of hydraulic fluid.
- Test the controls to ensure that all the crane’s functions, including the brakes holding/lead control, are working correctly.
- During the inspection, you should not use the crane if any damage or malfunction is discovered. Immediately remove defective equipment from service following your company’s procedures.
- The rated load capacity of the crane should be known before the crane is used, and it should never be exceeded.
- Be sure to use the proper type of rigging and to inspect it before using it. If the rigging or any of the hardware is damaged, do not use it.
- Pre-plan the job to ensure the load is never lifted and moved over workers, other shop personnel, or hazardous materials such as compressed gas cylinders or large chemical containers.
- The use of barriers, warning systems, or task scheduling can be employed when a shop setup or workplace design alone is insufficient to prevent loads from being lifted over areas where they may cause harm.
- When moving a load, ensure that it is controlled throughout the process.
- Keep it as close to the ground as possible.
- When necessary, get help controlling and guiding the load, especially if there are blinds spots along the pathway.