What are recommended safe practices for using cranes and other lifting plants?

05 Oct '18, 06:23

Oct. 5, 2018, 6:23 a.m.
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The lifting of various loads is a part of regular work and maintenance routines on board. Carrying out the lifting correctly is critical for the safety of personnel and equipment.
Ensure that any lifting plant used on board shall be of good design, of sound construction and material, of adequate strength for the purpose for which it is used, free from defect, properly installed and properly maintained.

In deciding whether a lifting appliance is of adequate strength for the purpose for which it is to be used, account should be taken of the weight of the associated lifting gear and whether the gear is likely to impose additional stresses e.g. grab work.

The requirement for maintenance means that the lifting plant should be kept in good working order, in an efficient state and in good repair. Systematic preventive maintenance should be undertaken, with due account taken of any manufacturer's instructions, which should include regular routine inspection by a person who is competent. Safety devices fitted to lifting appliances should be checked by the operator before work starts and at regular intervals thereafter to ensure that they are working properly.

Ensure that lifting plant shall not be used other than in a safe and proper manner.

Ensure that except for the purpose of carrying out a test, ship's lifting plant is not loaded in excess of its safe working load.

No person shall operate any ship's lifting plant unless he is trained and competent to do so and has been authorized by a responsible ship's officer.

Lifting appliances should be:

  • Securely anchored as necessary to ensure their stability when lifting.
  • If counterbalance weights are moveable, effective precautions should be taken to ensure that the lifting appliance is not used for lifting in an unstable condition. All weights should be correctly installed and positioned.
  • Lifting appliance controls should be permanently and legibly marked with their function and their operating directions shown by arrows or other simple means, indicating the position or direction of movement for hoisting or lowering, slewing or luffing, etc.
  • Make-shift extensions should not be fitted to controls nor any unauthorized alterations made to them. Foot-operated controls should have slip-resistant surfaces.
  • No lifting appliance should be used with any locking pawl, safety attachment or device rendered inoperative. If exceptionally, limit switches need to be isolated in order to lower a crane to its stowage position, the utmost care should be taken to ensure the operation is completed safely.
  • A powered appliance should always have a person at the controls while it is in operation; it should never be left to run with a control secured in the ON position.

If any powered appliance is to be left unattended with the power on, loads should be taken off and controls put in 'neutral' or 'off' positions. Where practical, controls should be locked or otherwise inactivated to prevent accidental restarting. When work is completed, power should be shut off.

The person operating any lifting appliance should have no other duties which might interfere with his primary task. He should be in a proper and protected position, facing controls and, so far as is practicable, with a clear view of the who operation.

Loads should if possible not be lifted over a person or any access way.

No person should be lifted by lifting plant except where the plant has been designed or especially adapted and equipped for lifting persons or for rescue or in similar emergencies.

Where the operator of a lifting appliance does not have a clear view of the whole of the path of travel of any load carried by that appliance, appropriate precautions should be taken to prevent danger. Generally this requirement should be met by the employment of a competent and properly trained signaller designated to give instructions to the operator.

The signaller should have a clear view of the path of travel of the load where the operator of the lifting appliance cannot see it.

Overhaul Of Gear

Any defects found in any lifting plant, including plant provided by a shore authority, should be reported immediately to a responsible person who should take action appropriate to the circumstances.
When a block or shackle is replaced, care should be taken to ensure that the replacement is of the correct type, size and safe working load necessary for its intended use.

All shackles should have their pins effectively secured or seized with wire.

A special check should be made on completion of the work to ensure that all the split pins in blocks etc have been replaced and secured.

On completion of the gear overhaul, all working places should be cleaned of oil or grease. As per the “Factory’s Act”, all slings, hoists and lifting equipment held on board, to be registered in the register of slings and hoists, the register to be held in safe keeping by the vessel’s Chief Officer. All Chain Blocks and Pull Lifts are to be overhauled and tested by a reputable workshop on a two-year interval. Normally during a dry-docking period on a staggered bases. At no times must the lift exceed the SWL (Safe working load.) of the equipment. The safety latch (“Mouse”) on hooks to be maintained in a good working order.

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05 Oct '18, 06:31

Oct. 5, 2018, 6:31 a.m.
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