The Risks and Warning Signs of Crane Overloading

24th January 2017

The Risks and Warning Signs of an Overloaded Crane  

Despite rigorous training and regulations, mistakes and accidents in crane operation happen all the time, all over the world. These errors and accidents can be caused by judgement, carelessness, mechanical failure, engineering miscalculations, hastiness, and miscommunication.

Like any field, crane operator training can only educate and at best simulate what happens when a crane overloads. This guide seeks to highlight some of the risks and warning signs of a crane overloading. By paying attention to these points, you can reduce the chances of overloading a crane on your worksite.

Structural Damage to the Crane

Despite major, periodic, and pre-operation inspections, structural damage can always be missed during maintenance. Structural damage often occurs over time and is regularly caused by ongoing overloading. This minor overloading may seem acceptable at the time but it can eventually lead to failure of the boom or lift and major consequences.

Make sure you pay close attention to your crane during maintenance. If you notice structural damage, review your loading capacities and begin repairs immediately.

Illicit Modifications and Counterweights

In a high-pressure industry like construction, deadlines and budgets can quickly lead to lapses in judgement. This can lead to the accidental overloading of a crane or even deliberate overloading to get through work faster.

This isn’t just a dangerous act, it’s also illegal. It can endanger your project, your workers, your credibility and your equipment. If you notice non-manufacturer approved modifications, your crane is probably being overloaded.

Make sure that you speak if and tell a manager if your crane is being stretched beyond its limits.

Keeping Your Feet on the Ground

Are the tyres, crawler tracks or outriggers on your crane beginning to lift on the ground? This is a sure sign that your vehicle is being overloaded or losing stability.

If you notice this symptom, your crane is on the verge of tipping over. Alert other workers on the site and take emergency action immediately.

The Surrounding Ground

Cranes exert enormous loads on the soil in the vicinity of their tyres, tracks, or outriggers. Before a crane is used, a detailed test of the ground should be taken in case there are sinkholes, depressions, trenches etc.

If a crane is positioned too close to one of these risk areas, such as a trench, or a sink hole, the pressure exerted by the crane on the unsupportive ground can easily cause soil failure, tipping, and crane collapse.

Hoist Line Isn’t Vertical

The hoist line of a crane should be vertical at all times. An off-line hoist is a clear sign the crane is overloading or is being operated incorrectly. A hoist lining that doesn’t run straight up and down throws out stability calculations, making it more likely to overbalance and become a safety hazard.

For more professional advice about site safety and load limits, contact Surf City Cranes. We provide the widest range of crane hire solutions in the Brisbane and Gold Coast region, boasting an extensive fleet of high-quality cranes.