Lifting personnel Using Pedestal Cranes
Personnel transfer devices, such as Billy Pugh’s, used to transfer personnel from one vessel to another must be load rated and built and used according to industry standards. The following OSHA guidelines should be observed when using such devices:
1- A qualified person shall ascertain that each employee has been trained and has sufficient knowledge before permitting the employee to be transported between vessels. This training should include: proper entering and exiting the basket; personnel baggage loading procedures; hand signals; personnel stability in the basket; and the requirements and proper use of personal protective equipment.
2- Cranes used to lift personnel must be fitted with an Anti-Two-Block device. This device prevents the hook from accidentally being pulled into the boom tip when hoisting up or extending the boom
3- The total weight of the lifted load, including personnel, shall not exceed 50% of the crane’s rated capacity under the planned conditions of use.
4- The crane operator must be qualified and a trial lift of an empty basket will be conducted to insure the personnel transfer system is rigged properly and fully functional to each location it is to be hoisted to or positioned.
5- Personnel flotation devices (PFD’s) must be worn and a fall protection system installed and used if employees are riding on the outside of the Billy Pugh and lifted higher than 10 feet above any surface, including water.
Cranes – Planning Lifts
It is better to have a short safety meeting prior to a lifting operation, to plan it properly, than to have an investigation after to try and find out what went wrong. Consider the following accident:
A load on a pallet was being lowered into the hold of a ship by a pedestal crane. As it descended a corner of the pallet became caught on a stack of previously loaded boxes. The operator not immediately seeing this continued to lower the load. One of the nylon web slings became slack and the eye of the sling slipped off the crane hook causing the load to become unbalanced and it fell landing on a worker who was reaching up trying to steady the load. He was killed. What went wrong?
There were several things that contributed to this fatality. First: The crane operator should have used the help of a signal person. Two: There was not a working safety latch on the crane hook which is required to prevent exactly what went wrong: keep the slings eyes on the hook when they become slack. And finally: No one should ever be under a load as it is being lifted by a crane. Obviously, this lift was not properly planned. It is possible that they had been “successful” before doing lifts like these, but remember: just because you get away with doing something that is unsafe doesn’t make it successful. You may be planting the seeds for a tragedy later on.in