Safe Work Procedure For Lifting Operation Using Lorry Crane: 9 Must-Know Things
Using lorry cranes, also known as lorry loaders according to the Workplace Safety and Health (Operation of Cranes) Regulations, is rampant across construction and project sites in Singapore.
For instance, the logistics and transport industry deploys lorry cranes for various operations. Other industries which also use lorry cranes include marine, hospitality, landscaping, events, and entertainment (to some extent).
As prevalent as this heavy equipment is, understanding the safe work procedures for lifting operations using lorry cranes is vital.
Because over the past decade, there has been a significant increase in workplace incidents involving lorry cranes.
Often, the cause of these lorry crane-related accidents is the improper deployment of outriggers, ground and mechanical failure, safety hazards, and overall unsafe operations.
Though lorry cranes are the preferred machinery, thanks to their short setup times, low costs, and ease of use, they can be the source of safety hazards, as with other lifting equipment – tower cranes, mobile cranes, etc.
This guide covers some safety precautions when setting up, manoeuvring, and maintaining lorry cranes in Singapore.
Setting Up The Lorry Crane
Before setting up a lorry crane, all personnel must consider the following:
- Ground conditions
- Outrigger deployment
- Public spaces
- Weather conditions
1. Ground Conditions
All personnel must determine that the ground on which the lorry crane will be set up can handle all forces.
They must conduct a pre-operational assessment to ensure the ground has adequate load-bearing capacity. A designated individual should also consider the maximum vertical load per stabiliser, as indicated by the equipment manufacturer and load details.
2. Outrigger Deployment
“Outrigger” refers to the stabilising system, including outrigger arms and vertical stabiliser legs. The system is designed to provide and improve lift stability to the crane and lorry.
According to WSH standards, the crane operator is responsible for ensuring the outrigger is secured and fully extended.
Additionally, outriggers shouldn’t be erected on the following types of surfaces:
- Grassy/slippery patches
- Drain grating
- Cemented footpath
- Moist/sandy ground
- Manhole covers
If the ground was deemed unsafe for the equipment’s load-bearing capacity during the preoperative assessment, the operator should take all safety measures possible.
For instance, they may use stabiliser pads to distribute the applied forces. The operator should properly communicate all stability measures undertaken to the lifting team.
All responsible personnel and the operator should choose a location where the lorry crane can be adequately set up and operated.
There should be enough clearance between the lorry crane and all surrounding hazards (e.g., power lines, construction materials, and other obstacles).
4. Public Spaces
When conducting projects involving a lorry crane on a public road, all personnel must follow Road Traffic Act and Street Works Act requirements.
Everyone involved in the operation should be mindful of the following:
- Vertical height clearance (e.g., overhead bridges)
- Properly stowing the crane boom. (No one should disable the boom stowing limit switch)
- Road speed limit
5. Weather Conditions
During monsoon periods (December-March and June-September), lorry crane operators must implement preventative measures against inclement weather conditions (e.g., strong wind gusts, rainfall, etc.) Different sites have different protocols and procedures that lorry crane operators must adhere to. In adverse weather conditions, the site will implement a stop work to safeguard the safety of all workers.
Operating The Lorry Crane
Safety measures are also present when operating a lorry crane. We’ll discuss more on the following:
- Rated Capacity
- Remote Controls
6. Rated Capacity
The lorry crane’s rated capacity is the amount of load the equipment can lift for a specific configuration or load position.
The lorry crane’s rated capacity should be determined based on several factors:
- The rated capacity defined by the crane’s manufacturer
- Type of lorry chassis
- Method of setting up the crane to the lorry chassis
- Tipping factor
7. Remote Controls
Remote controls offer several advantages to lorry crane operations, like flexible positioning. This enables the operator to be safe from moving parts and falling debris.
However, remote control operations can be hazardous when not monitored safely. Here are some preventive measures to take when using a remote control to operate a lorry crane:
- Ensure all control levers and the emergency stop button are correctly functioning.
- Fully charge the remote control before use. A spare battery should be available.
- Use the remote strap and ensure fingers are unoccupied during lifting and rigging.
- The remote control operator should be mindful of the operating environment and position themselves safely in areas in view of the lorry crane.
- Avoid using the remote control while simultaneously operating the lorry crane.
- Deactivate the remote control when not in use to avoid potential fatalities
- Don’t walk under the load or crane boom while lifting.
- Don’t stand or sit near the load.
While proper maintenance of the lorry crane is essential, it’s also vital that the operator present a medical certificate. This certifies they’re medically fit to operate a lorry or mobile crane.
While lorry crane operators don’t necessarily need to be registered, it’s highly suggested they take periodic medical examinations to identify potential health risks.
Operators should also keep record logs which document lorry crane usage. These logs prevent untrained personnel from using the lorry crane, which can be extremely dangerous. In addition, an officer will need to conduct regular download of the crane’s data logger to ensure that no illegal bypass has been made.
If the lorry crane is operated via a remote control, the operator must take great care to remove the control key when the equipment is not in use.
Similarly, they should keep the remote control in a secure location which can be accessed only by authorised personnel.
Using Safety Devices
Safety devices such as sensors, warning systems, stability systems, and emergency stop controls must be working correctly before operating a lorry crane.
- Audio Warning Systems – Fully-stowable lorry cranes must have an audio warning system which connects to a buzzer in the driver cabin. Crane booms which cannot be stowed fully can be installed with an angle sensor on the inner boom instead of a limit switch.
- Emergency Stop Controls – Emergency stop buttons halt lorry crane operations during emergencies. They can be found near control panels.
- Stability Control System – There are instances where the lorry crane must be deployed in small areas where the operator cannot extend the outriggers fully. The lorry crane should have a manufacturer-approved stability control system (SCS) or an equivalent feature. SCS includes Rated Capacity Limiters, which monitor the stabiliser position and limit lifting capacity. The SCS also provides real-time calculations on permitted working ranges of the boom system. This feature stops the lorry crane from overloading or tipping over.
Conclusion About Safe Work Procedures For Lorry Cranes
Lorry cranes and other types of cranes are widely used in various industries for lifting loads, unloading heavy cargo, and transporting them from one location to another.
However, safety concerns can also arise from improper storage, usage, and maintenance of a lorry crane.
Therefore, taking lorry crane courses and general mindfulness of safety precautions is necessary to prevent accidents and maintain a safe working capacity of a lorry crane.
Frequently Asked Questions About Safe Work Procedures For Lorry Cranes
Here are the most common hazards when using cranes:
- Electrical shock
- Falling loads
- Falling at a height
- Injuries from moving parts
- Extreme weather conditions
- Blinding lights
- Low visibility
A crane risk assessment identifies any factors that could affect the safe usage of cranes on sites. A risk assessment may cover ground and weather conditions, setup locations, access routes, etc.
Lorry cranes or truck cranes are cranes mounted on a truck chassis. They're considered road legal. Meanwhile, a mobile crane is broader in definition. It can be a crane mounted on crawlers (crawler cranes) or wheels and are not usually road legal.
Crane trucks are designed to lift, lower, or move heavy loads from one place to another, often at elevated heights.