Applied Case— The Importance of Safety Training & Routine Inspections
Forklift and Overhead Crane Collision, 2021
In 2021, the MHS Service Department received an emergency call from a customer, a South Florida patio products manufacturer, needing immediate repairs. Only three months after installing a new overhead crane system at their newest plant, an employee rammed a forklift into the hook of the overhead crane, bringing down the entire system. This accident resulted in thousands of dollars in repair work, OSHA investigation, and several fines for lack of safety protocols.
Why did this happen?
The first factor that led to this issue was a lack of training and safety procedures.
After installation, MHS suggests proper overhead crane training for all employees—this includes operator training, signal training, and proper area mark-off. Unfortunately, this customer rejected the training included in the post-installation services of their system.
During operator training, operators learn how to properly use an overhead crane system, and more importantly, they learn how to assess risks that can affect the success of a lift.
These are the five steps crane operators need to follow before starting a lift:
Inspect the crane and surrounding area. Look for cracks, fissures, and any other anomalies on the crane structure.
Test the limit switches! Limit switches prevent the over-travel of a hoist. If the limit switches fail, then the hoist may not stop on demand and lead to a crash.
Understand and respect the proper load weight. Cranes are designed to handle a specific weight limit. By lifting overweight, the load can snap from the lifting system, damaging product, or worse, injuring someone.
Find the center of gravity—by balancing the load, you ensure that there won’t be swinging that could potentially damage surrounding structures and product.
Properly rig the load! First and foremost, inspect the rigging equipment and attach there are no loose items that could lead to a dropped load.