If there’s any gauge of how important safety is in construction, you can see it on day one of the job in front of a TV. To clarify this strange statement, an apprentice construction worker has left school and is enthusiastically awaiting a first lesson on how to swing a hammer. Instead, the foreman sends the new recruit into an office with a video recorder and television. In here he watches dramatized recounts of terrible accidents and bloody mishaps on the construction site. Why is this strange approach taken when all the new worker wants is to start his labours? Because safety is the number one focus in any work place. You see this in posters full of safety at work regulations, the hard hat signs dotted around the work area, and, of course, in those gruesome video tapes. They’re only overly dramatized examples with fake blood and actors, remember, but they’re also based on real accidents at work. In short, safe work is the only kind of acceptable work.

Lessons taught by experienced workers and technical colleges tend to focus on the multiple dangers within a construction zone. There’s a proverbial minefield full of potential dangers out here. Loose nails could puncture a hard-toed boot. Bricks and buckets are being held high by workers on overhead platforms. These items could fall and cause a head fracture. It’s a hazardous environment, which is why every worker is taught how to work safely. This means being aware of your surroundings and being aware of all potential hazards around you. Now, having established safe working practices and read all of those regulations as instructed, the construction area has decided to add a crane to the scenario. Crane hire is a wonderful service, but it also multiplies the above safety risks we’ve so judiciously covered. Overhead angles are especially underscored here because huge loads are passing above you.

All our metaphorical hired labourer can do is ensure he or she stays out of the lifting path of the crane. It’s up to the hiring agent and the operator to keep the crane working in accordance with safety regulations. The actual hiring installation also plays a part in this working dynamic by initiating a periodic service strategy and keeping the crane maintained, but even highly maintained cranes are still under the control of an unknown operator. That operator should be familiar with AS/NZS 4801:2001, the occupational health and safety management system as applied to Australia and New Zealand. This individual should also be familiar with the type of crane being run and be ticketed for the safe handling of oversized loads. A general construction site card (blue or white card) and advanced rigging experience is also advised.

Crane and construction safety begins at the topmost part of a company’s hierarchy and descends all the way down the line to the lowliest labourer. Cranes lift life-threatening loads. Construction sites play host to those cranes and many other danger areas. Train your workers to be safety experts in both of these risk zones by instigating a strong safety policy.