Mobile cranes are responsible for the most accidents, injuries, and fatalities of all of the crane types. Be aware of the hazards if you operate or work around mobile cranes. Get proper training on crane operation and load preparation and securing. Wear hard hats, safety boots, and high visibility clothing when operating or working around cranes.
Know the load limits
Falling loads from mobile cranes pose a severe hazard to operators and nearby workers. Never exceed the load capacity of the mobile crane. If you are unsure about the load size and weight, calculate the weight to ensure that it meets your crane’s capacity. Load indicating devices, called load moment devices, can prevent an accidental overload. Properly secure the loads that you will be lifting. Inspect all slings, chains, and hooks that will be used to lift and secure the load.
Proceed with caution
Rotate, raise, and lower the crane boom slowly. Avoid sudden stops or accelerations that could jar the load. When rotating the load, you can use taglines or guidelines to control the arc and swing. Try to avoid lifting loads over workers or over the cab of the crane. If this type of lifting is necessary, use safety hooks or other approved devices. If two cranes are required to lift a load, a qualified person should be in charge of planning and directing the lift.
Are electrical lines present?
Cranes can accidentally come in contact with electrical lines. Before you start work, survey the site for potential electric hazards. Consider all lines energized unless they are certified by the owner/operator and visibly grounded at the site. Always maintain the required clearances from electrical lines and sources as required by Cal/OSHA’s Electrical Safety Orders.
Avoiding tip-overs and instability
Soft or unlevel ground can cause a crane to tip. Use outriggers to stabilize the crane when the ground surface or the load requires it. Never operate a crane if the load or slope lifts the wheels off the ground. For stability when traveling, keep the boom steady in the direction of the movement. Boomstops should be used if there is a danger of the boom falling backward.
Awareness of surroundings
Workers near mobile cranes can get run over if they do not pay attention or if the operator loses sight of them. Operators should use an audible warning and operating signal device to notify workers of movement. Workers should stay out of the way of the load, the crane wheels, and outrigger wheels. If the operator has a limited view, a qualified signals person should direct and communicate the operations. Never ride a load on a crane. Always lash or secure empty hooks when moving the crane so they do not swing.
Lack of training is the leading cause of accidents. Certification as a crane operator is required unless you are operating a mobile crane with a boom length of less than 25 feet or a maximum rated load capacity of less than 15,000 pounds. Find more details on certification in Cal/OSHA’s regulation: Mobile Crane and Tower Crane-Operator Qualifications and Certification.
Questions, Comments or Suggestions?
Send us your comments using the form below. To receive a response, please provide your email.
The above evaluations and/or recommendations are for general guidance only and should not be relied upon for medical advice or legal compliance purposes. They are based solely on the information provided to us and relate only to those conditions specifically discussed. We do not make any warranty, expressed or implied, that your workplace is safe or healthful or that it complies with all laws, regulations or standards.
Indicates you are leaving Safe At Work California