Why Lifting Equipment Breaks

WHY LIFTING EQUIPMENT

BREAKS.

1

LACK OF PLANNING

Risk assessments and lift plans are designed to reduce the risks associated with each lift and in most cases a lift plan has not been completed, or it has not been amended for non-routine lifts.

  • WHY IS IT COMMON?

    • Time pressures to complete the job quickly.
    • No training on how to compete or follow a lift plan and why it is important.

  • WHAT PROBLEMS OCCUR?

    • Unforeseen hazards and factors are not considered and increase the risks
    • Incorrect personnel assigned to complete the job

  • SOLUTION?

    Plan! A lift plan should routinely be followed for every lift. The plan must be amended when a non-routine lift is due to take place.

  • EXAMPLE

    A pre-assembled roof structure needed to be lifted into place. A lift plan was completed based on lifting each section at a time. However, a decision was made on the day to bolt sections of the roof together to save time and the lift plan was not amended. The crane could have been easily overloaded or operated outside of its radius or the lifting gear could have failed.

2

LACK OF TRAINING

Competency isn’t achieved through simply working around equipment for a long time. It’s also bad practice to take advice from others who might have never been trained properly themselves.

  • WHY IS IT COMMON?

    • Lack of training and competency in the industry
    • Culture/ Site Pressures: “I’ve always done it this way” “She’ll be right, mate”

  • WHAT PROBLEMS OCCUR?

    • People put themselves in harm’s way and take unnecessary risks, all because they don’t know any better—and the people around them don’t either.

  • SOLUTION?

    Train your staff. Weed cultural assumptions out which starts by everyone respecting and understanding proper and safe use of equipment.

  • EXAMPLE

    An employee joined a company and was asked to move a piece of pipework. In his interview he indicated he had worked alongside a rigger for many years and used lifting equipment all the time. During the lift, the load failed and injured a worker below. SafeWork NSW investigated and neither the worker nor company could prove competency according to the standards.

3

EQUIPMENT SELECTION

Poor equipment selection often stems from people using what is available, not what is best suited to the task. It is also common for people to not pay attention to the working load limit (WLL) of the equipment they are using.

  • WHY IS IT COMMON?

    • Pressure to complete the job
    quickly and cost-effectively
    • Don’t want to delay the job
    • Don’t understand the WLL of the equipment

  • WHAT PROBLEMS OCCUR?

    • Increased risk of injury
    • Increased risk of equipment failure due to incorrect selection
    • Increased risk of delays to the project

  • SOLUTION?

    Product training is key. Understand the equipment and select it wisely. Wider availability is necessary on most sites as well. Refer to the manufacturer or supplier

  • EXAMPLE

    An 11-tonne load needed to be lifted. The worker had two 10mm, twolegged chain slings available that had a WLL of 5.5t and used them lift 11t. He thought that by using two 5.5t slings he could double the working load. It is easy to do, especially when people think that they know what they are doing and don’t want advice from others

4

MISCALCULATING THE LOAD

Loads come in all shapes, sizes and weights. Never guess how much a load weighs. Various factors go into the weight of a load and even if it is known, centre of gravity can lead to overload scenarios.

  • WHY IS IT COMMON?

    • Inadequate training
    • Making incorrect calculations

  • WHAT PROBLEMS OCCUR?

    • Increased risk of injury
    • Increased risk of equipment and load failure

  • SOLUTION?

    Plan! Ask a supervisor or third party to review the lift and equipment selection. Refer to an industry professional or the manufacturer for product advice.

  • EXAMPLE

    A transformer needed to be moved on a busy construction site. The crane operator knew the weight of the transformer and assumed it was a straightforward lift however he failed to notice that it was bolted to the ground. As he attempted to lift the load the crane toppled and the worker narrowly avoided injury.

5

SHOCK LOADING

Shock loading usually stems from rushing, carelessness and a lack of knowledge. Understanding stability and centre of gravity are key, as is consideration of the lift path and journey of travel.

  • WHY IS IT COMMON?

    • Inadequate training
    • Taking unnecessary risks
    • Time pressure to complete the job quickly

  • WHAT PROBLEMS OCCUR?

    • Increased risk of injury
    • Increased risk of equipment and load failure

  • SOLUTION?

    Slow down, take your time and don’t rush your lifts. Eliminate the chance of surprise by limiting
    or removing the risks.

  • EXAMPLE

    A 10t electric EOT crane was rigged with a 10t spreader beam and was being used to lift a 8t box. The box contained a heavy steel component that was supposedly fixed to the bottom of the box. It wasn’t and as
    the load was lifted the component shifted and left the load hanging on one end, causing a second shock
    load that led to the load falling to the floor.

6

NO PRE-USE INSPECTION

Even if you have recently used a product, it is important to look at it again quickly before reusing it. A visual inspection is often the easiest and fastest ways to avoid injury and damage when lifting or moving heavy objects.

  • WHY IS IT COMMON?

    • Pressure to work quickly and not taking the time to check if equipment is damaged, correctly tagged and
    has been certified as safe for use

  • WHAT PROBLEMS OCCUR?

    • Damaged equipment is used and the risk of injury is increased
    • Equipment is left in state that is not safe for the next user

  • SOLUTION?

    Always complete a pre-use equipment inspection. If you are not sure what
    to look for, ask a professional. If in doubt, discard it and get it checked.

  • EXAMPLE

    A concrete clutch was used to transport goods around site by a pick-andcarry crane and due to the bouncy movement of the ride across site it formed a stress fracture in the knuckle. A quick pre-inspection identified
    the issue and the item was put in the out-of-service bin on site.

7

USER ERROR

Even when training and planning has taken place, safety comes down to the user making the right decisions on the day. In the end the responsibility to make sure that every lift is safe falls to the individual.

  • WHY IS IT COMMON?

    • A lack of training
    • Time pressure to complete the job quickly
    • Distraction and fatigue

  • WHAT PROBLEMS OCCUR?

    • People pick up the wrong tool when rushing or working fatigued. They don’t correctly assess the risk,
    don’t ask for help and make miscalculations.

  • SOLUTION?

    Don’t rush. Take your time and stop to think. Always check your gear for each and every lift. If in doubt,
    stop, reassess, or ask for help.

  • EXAMPLE

    A worker was asked to move metal plates from one location to another. It was the last lift on a Friday
    afternoon. Rushing to clock-off as quickly as possible, the employee did not lock off the arm on the magnetic lifter correctly and was not careful to ensure his feet were not positioned under the load. The load gave way,
    the plate landed on his feet and he lost his toes.

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