An analytical study of critical factors of lift planning to improve crane safety based on forensic case studies of crane accidents
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Cranes, both mobile and static, are mechanical devices that rely on leverage and balance between the loads and the counterweight to lift, move, and place those loads. Cranes are used in virtually every industry, around the world, and are critical and indispensable tools for the dynamic and continually changing nature of construction. Despite the utilization of cranes, in almost all industries, humans operate those cranes, meaning that human intervention is necessary to rig loads, signal crane maneuvers, operate the crane itself, and carry out safety measures that ensure tasks are properly completed. Proper lift planning requires the person directing the operation understand lift risks, know how to address potential hazards, and communicate that knowledge regarding risks, hazards, and safety requirements to members of the lift crew. Interactions among personnel who are involved in lifts requires planning, training, and collaboration. Each person must correctly perform his or her duties and execute assigned responsibilities as deemed necessary. Over a period of 30 years, the researcher has analyzed more than 1000 crane accidents and accumulated specific data compiled from 701 of those accidents to analyze accident details and develop evaluations of factors contributing to accidents. This study’s researcher has utilized forensic accident analysis methods to assist in the development of crane related protocol suggestions, which, if implemented in the field, should decrease the likelihood of accident and consequent injuries, deaths, and property damages. Of the 701 accidents examined in this study, human interventions caused 651 (92.9%) of the incidents. Only 50 (7.1%) of the accidents were caused by machine or mechanical issues. These findings conclusively demonstrate the importance of determining why these accidents have occurred. Based upon the research findings, the researcher has highlighted safety strategies that may be utilized to develop crane lift planning practices, which use hazard identifications and responsibility assignments in accordance with ASME B30.5-2007. The statistical findings indicate that the crane lift processes and resulting accidents are heavily influenced by human error and inadequate communication methods among members of the lifting crew. Communication was cited by CII as the greatest enabler, including feedback from workers that was found to enhance safety.