Lifting Operation Safety Precautions


As it is popularly said, there is a safe way of performing every task, but some persons do not follow this safe way either because of ignorance or just negligence. This is why in this article, we will be discussing on “Lifting Operation Safety Precautions“.

Lifting operation is all about lifting and lowering of a load. It is inherent to many occupations and can be performed manually or using lifting equipment. Both manual lifting and mechanical lifting operations can put workers at great risk of injury.

More than 111,000 such injuries requiring days away from work were recorded in 2017, according to Injury Facts, an online database created by the National Safety Council.

Hazards Associated With Lifting Operation

Some hazards associated with the use of lifting equipment includes:

  • Un-secured load, which could lead to the load falling off and injuring a personnel or cause damage to equipment.
  • Falling over of crane or vehicle because of improper fixation or strong wind, unsafe loads, loads exceeding the safe weight limits, trapping/crushing risk in the use of MEWPs while working at height, falling from height , limbs or bodies caught in machinery.
  • Falling from lifting platforms or being crushed when the platform moves.
  • Musculoskeletal hazards related to force exertions, poor working postures and/or repetitive work
  • Physical hazards related to poor environment that may interfere with communication between workers or concentration needed for the task (noise) or cause sweaty, slippery objects (heat, poor ventilation)
  • Contact with overhead electrical cables, etc.

Risk factors include:

  1. Poor mechanical design
  2. Poor workplace design
  3. System malfunction
  4. Loads insecurely attached
  5. Poor maintenance of lifting equipment
  6. Human error, etc.

Lifting Operation Safety Precautions

Some of the precautions that should be followed during lifting operation are:

1. Carry out visual inspection of lifting equipment before use

What do you check for:

  • Check that equipment is complete, all safeguards fitted, and free from defects.
  • Check if the equipment is properly installed if applicable
  • Check if the equipment is right for the job.

2. Performs scheduled inspection and maintenance of all lifting equipment

This can be be done by using a checklist or higher an external inspector to carry his out where applicable.

3. Training

Every staff involved in lifting operation has to be trained and retrained to ensure competence during the operation. They need to understand the hazards involved, the safety precautions that should be taken, and legal requirements.

READ: Trenching Safety Plan; What It Covers

4. Never overload the lifting equipment

Safe working load (SWL) must be followed at all times, it must not be exceeded both with the lifting equipment and accessories.

5. Prevent access to dangerous parts

To achieve this, here is what you should do:

  • Use guards to enclose dangerous parts using the best material for every case; Where guards cannot give complete protection, use jigs, holders, push sticks, etc.

6. Make sure that the equipment is adequately marked

Ensure to visibly mark your equipment with any appropriate information for its safe use. If it is out of order, it should be clearly marked. The state of every equipment should be marked at every time.

7. Use the necessary PPE (Personal Protective Equipment)

There are different personal protective equipment such as helmets, boots, gloves, goggles, etc. You must assess and analyze the characteristics of the work environment and the characteristics of the lifting equipment to choose the one that best suits the specific needs of your staff.

Make sure that the equipment you choose complies with current regulations.

8. Always cordon off lifting area, and follow other relevant precautions

Never forget to cordon off lifting area to prevent unauthorized entry. This will also prevent someone standing under suspended load.

It is essential always to maintain a safe distance from the load you are moving to ensure that you are not at risk and can handle the situation safely in an error, equipment failure, or other problem.


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