Side pulling is when you use a crane to hoist a load from the side. This is a dangerous practice, and it can damage the crane and injure workers in the area. This happens because cranes are not designed for side pulling, and the extra pressure can cause the wire rope to snap. One misstep can break supplies, hurt workers, and put the crane out of commission, which leads to project delays and expensive repairs.
To prevent side pulling, take a look at the following tips.
1. Make Sure You Have Ample Room
Avoiding side pulling starts before you even position the cranes on your work site. Consider the objects you need to lift and where they need to go. Then, identify the spot where you ideally want to place your crane.
Make sure that the crane's boom has enough room to move freely through the area. In particular, the boom needs to be able to swing directly over the item, and then, it needs to be able to swing to the area where you want to move the item. If there are obstructions that prevent the boom from getting a straight angle on your load, you will end up side pulling. In these cases, you need to find a new spot for your crane.
2. Make Sure the Line Is Straight
Once you have everything setup correctly, the crane operator needs to visually ensure that the cable is straight over the load. This is easier for experienced operators than new operators.
If you or your crew don't have ample training, you may want to take additional measures to ensure the cables are straight. For instance, the operator may want to have someone put a level next to the cables. Then, the operator can make sure that the level agrees with his or her perspective from inside the crane cab. With enough practice, the operator will be able to adjust any errors in perspective that he or she is experiencing.
3. Use a Spotter
Even with an experience operator, you may want to use a spotter. A spotter works on the ground, letting the crane operator know that everything is safe and clear. To ensure these individuals can communicate, work out a set of hand signals for important tasks such a turning the right or left, hoisting the load and stopping.
4. Consider Using a Rope Guide
A rope guide is an aluminium and steel device that connects to the crane. It is sits above the moving range of the bottom block so you don't have to worry about it interfering with the normal functioning of the crane.
This simple but ingenious device makes it virtually impossible to do side pulling, because it straightens the rope wire. As an added bonus, these devices can also prevent the dragging of loads, and they also help protect the rope guide, drum and bearings.
5. Hire a Professional Crane Operating Service
Instead of trying to avoid side pulling yourself, consider hiring a professional. Crane operating services can provide you with the crane, the operator and the expertise you need. As a result, you don't have to deal with training employees, and in many cases, you also shift many liability issues to the operating company.
For instance, if you or one of your employees damages a load by accidentally side pulling it, you have to pay to replace that item as well as take care of any crane repair expenses. In contrast, if you hire a professional who brings in his or her own equipment, they take responsible for the upkeep of the crane as well as damage that occurs to the loads.