How lifting operations can be regulated to control hazards!
Lifting processes are routine in any manufacturing, heavy engineering and construction industrial work-sites. Lifting of heavy to very heavy loads can be performed by workers either by manually or automated lifting machines. While doing so, lifting technicians, operators or ground staff can face risks, dangers and health problems which can lead to loss of employment due to sickness or disability.
The reasons for accidents and health disorders due to lifting are many. The article explores various lifting procedures, hazards involved and procedures for safe lifting.
Lifting operations and hazards
Construction and heavy engineering industry accounts for the maximum number of lifting related accidents and fatalities. Let’s discuss in detail about the equipment used for lifting and how risks can be controlled.
Lifting operations involve machinery used to take loads to elevated places or lowering the loads to ground levels. The loads can be anything from solid material such as bricks, cements or concrete, heavy equipment, construction accessories to workers. Construction industry uses different lifting equipment. Some of them are discussed here.
A hoist is a very basic lifting device which can be operated manually, electrically or using pneumatically. It involves lifting medium to heavy loads using rope or chain through a drum or wheel. Regular maintenance of rope and chain along with accessories can reduce accidents.
Cranes are the most common industrial lifting equipment. They are used to shift loads from one place to another, taking loads from and to elevated places. They pose different kinds of dangers and risks. Specific risk control measures should be followed to reduce hazards.
Small and medium industrial environments require fork lifts which are fitted with a hydraulic system and forks to carry, transport and deliver smaller loads.
Tower cranes are manually operated machines fitted with hoist, ropes or chains and sheaves to lift or lower small, medium to heavy loads. They are fixed to ground to provide balance. Tower cranes can rotate and pick up load anywhere around without changing its position.
Telescopic cranes are the most common types of cranes which have metal tubes fitted with one another and operated using hydraulic method. With this, an operator can reduce and increase the length of the boom. These cranes can be fitted on moving trucks.
Mobile cranes, all terrain cranes and crawler cranes have its own usages depending upon the purpose and places and also the heaviness of the loads involved. While mobile cranes are designed to transport smaller loads from one place to another, all terrain cranes are fitted with necessary equipment which can be used in any rough terrain. Crawler cranes are mostly used for indoor purpose, to lift very heavy loads and transport to short distance.
Apart from the above lifting systems, there are power shovels and telescopic handlers which are also used for various industrial environments. Workers too need to be lifted to and from elevated places to carry works in high-rise sites.
Lifting works have many classified dangers and risks and hazards. Though largely unorganized, lifting operations come under safety standard and regulations.
Companies must follow the rules and regulations in maintaining lifts periodically to keep them safe condition, provide necessary personal protective equipment for workers and also those around the operating path, maintain specific load conditions, and educate workers about health hazards and dangers involved in lifting operations.