Lifting and hoisting is a critical operation due to the health and safety risks it pose both on the personnel and the equipment. Lifting hazards which include falling loads, boom break, contact with overhead power line, load swings, overturning of crane etc.
This requires high level of health and safety controls for the operation to do it safely and successfully. The preventive and control measures are the Lifting and Hoisting – 5 WAYS TO STAY ALIVE and nothing more.
Also, there is no rule as per which of the steps a lifting team should take first or come last. Kindly implement all before commencing operations.
Design and Follow Lift Plan
A lift plan is document that captures the lifting procedure; the load; equipment; responsible personnel and environmental considerations. Develop a lift plan through a careful assessment of risks associated with the lifting operation. Document your lift plan as much as possible and ensure that the lifting supervisor communicates the plan to all members of the lifting team.
No matter the form of the lift plan, don’t miss certain information about the lifting operation. Those information information includes:
• Weight of the load and the lifting capacity of the lifting equipment (safe working load)
• Distance between the load and the lifting equipment
• Form of the load and it’s placement on the lifting equipment
• Crane location
• Roles and responsibilities of all personnel involved in the lifting and hoisting. These personnel include the person in charge (PIC), the operator, the rigger or signal man
Use Competent and Qualified Personnel
Use Qualified and competent persons in lifting and hoisting to ensure the safety and success of the operation. Train and certify all designated lifting personnel. Don’t forget that their experience on the job also play significant role in promoting the safety of the job.
Attach their certifications to the lifting plan or valid lifting work permit and update them from time to time. Note that the competency of the lifting personnel ceases at the expiration of their licenses/certificate. At this point, the lifting supervisor should quarantine such personnel until their competency certificates or licenses are renewed. Personnel competency and certification is legal requirement and must be complied with.
Inspect and Colour Code Lifting Equipment and Gears
Inspect lifting equipment and gears regularly and with the corresponding colour code before use. Inspection and colour coding is a global best practice and a legal requirement in many countries of the world.
Before use, the lifting supervisor should ensure that a competent vendor inspects and certify all lifting and hoisting equipment and gears fit for use before he or she puts them to use. Carryout compliance inspections regularly at least once in every six (6) months to track and keep under control any possible source of equipment failure. Place the corresponding colour codes on the inspected and approved equipment/gears before use.
The Inspection Vendor should design the colour code in consultation with the lifting supervisor and communicate same to all lifting personnel.
Appoint Personnel in Charge (PIC)
A PIC is a designated personnel who is directly in charged of all lifting and hoisting operations. Ensure that He or is physically present on site to supervise the lifting operation.
Assign the responsibility of a PIC to any competent lifting personnel except an active operator. PIC personnel includes the Rigger or Signal man, Lifting Supervisor, HSE Officer, Permit Holder etc. Carefully train the personnel on the responsibilities of a PIC.
Also, capture the responsibilities of the PIC in the lift plan and lifting work permit, and do not carry out lifting operation without a person in charge. This is one of the Lifting and Hoisting – 5 WAYS TO STAY ALIVE and should be followed.
Good Site Set-up and Establishment of Lifting Exclusion Zone
5 ways to stay alive in lifting operation provides for separation of lifting operation area from other part of the site. Separate the lifting area with a physical barricade e.g warning tapes, warning cones, crash walls etc. with adequate warning signs so as to form a lifting exclusion around your work area.
Restrict all lifting area to the responsible lifting personnel only. Never extend the radius of the crane’s boom beyond the exclusion zone so as not to endanger others working on the same site. Undertake all lifting activity within the exclusion to reduce risk of exposure to lifting hazards for non lifting team members.
However, in the case of the use of hoist, take care to completely guard the hoist basement with physical barrier and restrict access in to the basement to only authorized personnel at all times most especially when the hoist is in operation.
The 5 steps tagged ‘5 ways to stay alive in lifting and hoisting’ is providing a guide that when it is fully implemented will not only saves lives but also the assets of the company. It also promotes statutory compliance and helps organizations to avoid sanctions, litigation and other costs due to accident or non-compliance. I therefore recommend this article to all industries where lifting operations are undertaken.
3 HSE Golden Rules could also help you in managing the health and safety of your personnel.