Safety for Remote Controlled Overhead Cranes and Hoists

Remote controls installed on overhead cranes and monorail hoists are a great productivity tool as well as offering the operator additional safety by allowing them to handle loads away from the traveling crane.  But the remote operation of cranes introduces some new safety challenges, as well as safety warning devise requirements.

It’s what you can’t see that will hurt you with remote operating cranes and hoists.  Operators of remotely operated equipment must be properly trained in the safe operation of the crane as well as the proper operation and potential hazards of remote-operated cranes.  Operators are able to potentially operate the crane in areas where they do not have a line of sight of the moving equipment or load.

This can definitely pose a safety issue for other workers, equipment and the load itself.  Therefore, operators of remotely controlled cranes must be properly trained to have 100% visual contact with both the equipment and the load.  It is also imperative that the operator has 100% visual on where the load is placed in order to not lower the load onto an unseen object or fellow worker.

Where there is not a clear line of sight, the operator must reposition themselves to always have 100% visual sight on the equipment and load.  In many cases, the travel of the bridge or hoist trolley must be paused while the operator visually catches up to where the load will be transported.  While travel is paused it is important that the suspended load is not parked over pedestrian walkways or over work positions and equipment.

All remote control operated cranes and hoists must be furnished with a warning devise that operates during the travel motion of the hoist, crane, and trolley motions.  This requirement applies to cranes, jibs, monorail hoists, and stationary hoists.  The warning device can be a visible strobe or audible device such as a buzzer or siren.

Intermittent horns to warn pedestrians can also be employed, however, they are not a substitute for the continuous audible or visual warning device.  The main thing to consider is that the warning device must properly get the attention to the moving load.  This requirement is mandatory by both OSHA and ASME and covers all types of hoists and cranes.  No exceptions!

Having a warning device is not enough, as workers operating the crane as well as those exposed to the remote-controlled crane must be trained in safe practices regarding working around remotely operated crane systems.

If you would like to learn more about remote-operated cranes or hoists, contact your nearest CRANE 1 office from the locations tab on our website.

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