Do you know how to safely crane lift materials, such as pallets of bricks?
Lifting operations on construction projects can often put people at risk of injury, as well as incurring great costs if they go wrong. To ensure the safety of everyone on site it is important that the risks are identified and the appropriate equipment is used.
One regular lifting operation that happens on site is the transportation of pallets of bricks and blocks. Although there are a reducing number of projects that use traditional building materials on site due to a rise in off-site and precast construction, there are still a vast number of pallets of bricks lifted on projects today. So, we wanted to put together our top tips on how to safely crane lift goods and materials.
Our Top 5 Tips for Safe Crane Lifting of Materials & Goods
We have compiled years of legislation and our own independent industry research to create our top 5 safety points to safely crane lift materials.
(However, this does not detract from any other safety policies and doesn’t take into consideration any site specific situations).
1. Are you using the right equipment?
It is essential that you firstly identify a piece of equipment that is correct and safe for the operation. There are many different pieces of equipment for lifting materials. Equipment for crane lifting includes crane forks, block grabs, waste skips and goods lifting cages. You can identify the right equipment by referring to the manufacturers guide, or if in any doubt, contact the manufacturer directly.
2. Is the equipment safe to use?
Before any lifting operation, the equipment to be used must undergo a pre-user check by a competent person. This will identify any potential safety issues. Follow the manufacturers’ guidelines for recommended frequency of thorough examination and inspections.* Read our best practice guide on regulations for lifting equipment here.
3. Do you have suitable training?
As more contractors and construction companies come under pressure to find the right skills to run construction sites, there are potentially more less experienced construction workers in the field. It is important that slingers, signallers and anyone involved in a lifting operation have sufficient training and suitable experience before undertaking any vertical lifts. For more information, refer to the Lifting Equipment Engineers Association (LEEA) on suitable training.
4. Is the load safe?
If lifting palletised goods or materials using crane forks or similar, it is incredibly important that the pallet is of correct quality and the load hasn’t been damaged during delivery. Contact the manufacturer of the goods or transfer to a strong pallet, if there is any doubt. Alternatively, as mentioned in Top Tip 1, is there a better piece of equipment that you could use to perform this lifting operation?
5. Is the load correctly secured?
Make sure the load is secured when lifting blocks and bricks, or any other materials that are strapped or palletised. After checking that the load itself is safe, you must ensure that it is correctly secured to the equipment. To lift a pallet of blocks with a set of crane forks, you must correctly fit a safety restraint net to the equipment, making sure that it is held close to the load. Nets used for lifting equipment are ‘restraint’ nets only. It is important that these are held close to the load so that they can effectively restrain the load if the pallet of part of the equipment was to fail.
Conquip have introduced a new innovation, called the Crane Forks Cage, this ensures that the load is secure and removes the need for a Restraint Net, find out more here.
General Lifting Principles
We think the best advice for general lifting principles comes from the HSE**, read the main risks that should be considered:
- Failure to observe the relevant legal requirements
- Ergonomic design of the lifting equipment
- Whether the lifting equipment is the appropriate type
- Failure of lifting equipment
- Strength, stability and location of the lifting equipment
- Toxicity and/or flammability of chemicals being lifted or in area of lift
- Ability of plant to withstand collisions or impacts from dropped loads
- Poorly managed safety systems in place to deal with lifting equipment
- Safe access and egress of the lifting equipment to and from the site
- Unconscious and conscious incompetence
Recommended: Goods Lifting Cage
The Goods Cage, sometimes referred to as a Goods Lifting Basket, has been identified as a safer alternative to webbing slings and lifting beams for carrying materials such as rebar and tonne bags.
In addition, Conquip’s ramped goods cage model offers ramped access so the cage is suitable for any materials including bricks, blocks and palletised material.
Links & Sources
**HSE, For more details on HSE recommendations on lifting operations, you can find their guide here
If you have any questions relating to this blog or need to get in touch about our lifting solutions, contact us here.