CIF Safety Week Day 4 – Safe Lifting

On day four of #CIFSafety21 we are reminded to Lift Smart and Inspect All!

When planning a lift we must remember the high level of risk and consider a number of factors. When broken down into stages, the planning of a safe lifting operation, no matter how complex, can be relatively straightforward. A common-sense approach is advised, which may be summarised as below.

Safe Lifting

When planning a lift, there is a need to consider:

  • Competencies required – Appointed Person and others.
  • Site conditions (access and egress, site gradient, load bearing characteristics of the ground, excavations, underground structures, services, overhead electricity or telephone cables, and any other potential hazard specific to the work area)
  • Weather conditions
  • Margin of safety for lift (may equate to 20-25% crane lift capacity)
  • Size and type of crane, its duties, outrigger settings and loadings, radius for intended work and boom length
  • Select appropriate load handling equipment including chains, slings, lifting beams, spreaders, lifting eyes etc.
  • Load weight and dimensions, lift points, radius required, height of lift, sharp edges, location before and after lifting operations
  • Weight of the equipment to be used and impact on the overall weight to be lifted
  • Determine the method of attaching the load to the crane (i.e. the slinging technique)
  • A full risk assessment to identify any hazards, the associated risks, and appropriate controls
  • An appointed person’s checklist.

According to Scott Hunter of the National Construction Training & Safety Ltd., “Any lifting activity requires a high level of competency of individuals, team-work and pre-planning. Cranes are some of the most versatile pieces of equipment to be found working on construction sites. When used correctly on firm and level ground, and with a fully trained and competent lifting team, mobile cranes are also one of the safest items of equipment. When broken down into stages, the planning of a safe lifting operation, no matter how complex, can be relatively straightforward. A common-sense approach is advised, which may be summarised as follows:

C – CONCENTRATION

O – OBSERVATION – Monitor to ensure that task is undertaken safely and to specifications

M – MACHINE CONDITION – Check certifications, maintenance records and weekly inspections

M – MACHINE KNOWLEDGE – Understand the machine and the safe limits of operation

O – ONLY ACT ON YOUR OWN JUDGEMENT – Do not be pressurised into unsafe activities

N – NEVER TAKE A CHANCE – Always take a precautionary approach

S – SELECT CORRECT ACCESSORIES – Make sure you have the correct equipment for the task

E – EXPERIENCE OF SIMILAR LIFTS – Use your experience to good effect

N – NEVER BE HURRIED – Keep within limits

S – SLINGS – Ensure correct lifting accessories are used, which have valid certs

E -EXERCISE YOUR RESPONSIBILITY – If in any doubt about the safety of a lift, stop the lift.

Learn more by getting involved in Construction Safety Week and by participating in the scheduled live webinar entitled ‘Safe Lifting/ Safe Plant’ on 28th October at 10:30am”.

The Irish Mobile Crane Hirers Association, which represents mobile crane hire companies nationwide, has kindly recorded a video message and shared a supporting document detailing the importance of ensuring ‘Ground Conditions for Safe Operation of Mobile Cranes’. The video may be accessed through the Video Links, and the supporting document is available in the Downloads section.

Safe lifting is as much about load preparation, and we must also consider the importance of safe load securing and transportation. Fatalities have resulted from the loading, transportation and unloading of materials and equipment. In recognition of this, a video recording on Load Securing of Construction Plant and Attachments was filmed for Construction Safety Week 2019 in conjunction with the HSA, Gills Driving School, Coffey Group, Ward & Burke, EPS, Murphy and Glan Agua, which outlines best practice for load securing. This may be viewed HERE!

Hazards Associated with Plant and Pedestrian Safety

According to the Health and Safety Authority (HSA), the greatest risk to pedestrians is from vehicles and mobile plant. It is highlighted that there are substantial blind spots on dozers, wheeled loading shovels and excavators, with workers at risk of being run over if they are in the operator’s blind spot.

The law requires that pedestrians and vehicles must co-exist safely both in indoor and outdoor places of work. Where vehicles are operating, the vulnerable group may be co-workers, visitors, or members of the public. To protect pedestrians, vehicle travel routes should be clearly delineated, with enough clearance space between persons and vehicles considering the number of users and the work activities

The HSA highlights that the employer or a person in control of a workplace must carry out a documented risk assessment of workplace transport hazards to include an evaluation and assessment of vehicles and mobile work equipment in use in the workplace. Additionally, pedestrian activity within the operational areas shall wherever possible be restricted, particularly in hours of darkness, and for certain operations ‘no entry’ zones should be identified and clearly marked.

Kevin Cummins, BU HSE Manager East, Civils & Living, John Sisk & Son has kindly facilitated a brief video to advise of measures to ensure plant and pedestrian safety; this may be accessed HERE!

Construction Site Traffic Management Plan

According to the HSA, an average of twenty people are killed at Irish workplaces following interactions with vehicles. The law requires that pedestrians and vehicles must co-exist safely both in indoor and outdoor places of work. Where vehicles are operating, the vulnerable group may be co-workers, visitors, or members of the public. To protect pedestrians, vehicle travel routes should be clearly delineated, with enough clearance space between persons and vehicles.

The HSA highlights that an employer or a person in control of a workplace must carry out a documented risk assessment of workplace transport hazards to include an evaluation and assessment of vehicles and mobile work equipment in use in the workplace.

The HSA, through BeSMART.ie facilitated the generation of a Construction Site Traffic Management Plan (CSTMP) for work on construction sites (not live roads). It is made up of two elements:

  1. Part A – Guidance document which gives an introduction and summary of the 6 sections – Information, Training, Temporary Works, Hazards, Controls and Resources.
  2. Part B – Contains the 6 sections in an online fillable form which can be saved and printed.

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