All mistakes can lead back to human error…
Lee Danley, EDD, MS, BS
McGhee Crane Services; Executive Director
In the crane industry there is no margin of error, and every minor incident or major accident can ultimately be perceived as human error. The simplest miscalculation in the numerous variables involved in completing a job can have devastating effects. A mistake in load chart calculation can lead to tipping or damage to the boom or the cranes infrastructure. An error in the load and/or boom swing variables can lead to the harm of surrounding structures or individuals. Improper rigging can lead to snapped cables and slings, and the dropped loads can account for significant destruction and delay to ongoing projects, not to mention the possibility of injury to individuals. More plausible safety issues such as common jobsite hazards, power lines, and other obstructions can also cause immense harm when not recognized.
These are merely a few reasons why McGhee Crane Service leadership emphasizes safety within their organization. “Leaders who create a climate of committed safety lead from the inside out. That is, they embody a set of values, often referred to as “essence,” the leader’s purpose, beliefs and vision. Leadership expert and author John C. Maxwell sums up our jobs as leaders well, “A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.” “That does not mean that we have all the answers all the time but it does mean we do not put others in harm’s way without a plan and the knowledge needed to know, go, and show how to do the job right and safely” (Krammer, 2019). The tremendous amount of risk involved with this industry calls for an ongoing mindset of safety which should permeate all crane businesses. Because of this risk involved in crane operations, leadership from the top down and operators from the ground up should all strive to maintain a culture of “safety-first”.
“Crane accidents tend to be very costly in equipment losses, damage to property, and injuries to workers.
Crane accidents tend to be very costly in equipment losses, damage to property, and injuries to workers. “Direct costs related to damage, injuries, and OSHA fines tend to be very small when compared to the indirect costs of litigations from victims’ families and owners of damaged property.” (Rempter and Steinhofer, 2014). McGhee Crane Services and their operators retain the power to objectively assess every aspect of every job for safety precautions and refuse to proceed, if necessary. The ground conditions and work area must be safe for crane set-up. The crane’s capacity must be adequate and able to hoist the lift successfully. The rigging must be done in a sufficient manner to lift the specific load, keep it level, and maintain a safe pick. In every situation, operators and their management can make the decision to proceed, or not.
McGhee’s Crane Service (MCS), like many other crane businesses, maintains an ongoing safety program. Having a designated safety officer on staff, or a selected group of employees serving as a safety committee, are proven methods of establishing safety mindedness. The central idea is to have a strong concern for safety engrained into the organizational culture. Crane operators need to know they are empowered to make wise decisions on the job related to safety. Many jobsites and specific parameters are referenced in advance, and many jobs are planned to a large degree before the crane operator ever gets to the jobsite. However, upon arrival at the site, everything is reassessed by MCS operators prior to the crane being set-up with a mindset of safety first. Operators can then make safety conscious decisions prior to every step of the job’s event sequencing even after they proceed.
Safety actually begins with the ongoing maintenance and upkeep of the equipment, constant inspections, and repair work. Appropriate care of the cranes at McGhee Crane Services and the upkeep of ancillary equipment ensures proper equipment functionality, and prevents equipment failure while on the job. “Preventive measures should be on any crane operator’s agenda, which is why the acknowledgement of potential hazards is important. Standard safety inspections are more than just for compliance reasons: they are potential life-saving procedures” (Spanco, 2017). Many of the more recent newsworthy crane disasters around the globe have been a result of the improper care of the equipment or a failure to adhere to manufacturer’s recommended procedures. McGhee Crane Services’ preventive measures as they relate to safety are a result of strong leadership and the successful implementation of a robust safety-minded culture.
Krammer, P. (2019). Improve Safety by Leading from the Inside Out. Downloaded from https://okospartners.com/2019/07/18/improve-safety-by-leading-from-the-inside-out/
Rempter, D. & Steinhofer, M. (2014). Ten Steps to Safer Crane Operations. Downloaded from https://safetymanagementgroup.com/ten-steps-to-safer-operation-of-cranes/
Spanco, Inc. (2017). The Importance of Crane Safety Inspection. Downloaded from https://www.spanco.com/importance-crane-safety-inspection/