Reminding ourselves of best practices

20 July 2018

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As every crane operator goes through their career, they naturally accrue more experience and wisdom relating to how best to operate equipment, how to solve certain problems and issues, and how to best maintain equipment and consumables.

They will also, of course, start with a broad knowledge base—companies will always ensure that, through training, the operators are sufficiently skilled before first using equipment on-site.

As with any skill-set, though, it’s always useful to be reminded of all the best practices, hence why ‘refresher courses’ exist in various discliplines. And, best practice can often change over time thanks to new technology and amended regulations—which gives another reason to keep checking in on how best to use not just hoists but also associated lifting kit such as ropes, slings, and so forth.

This point was emphasised when I attended the one-day overhead crane safety conference, organised by the Crane Manufacturers Association of America, at the recent Modex exhibition in Atlanta, Georgia. Along with details of updated regulations, the presentations also reminded delegates, in detail, of all the checks and safeguards that should be in place to ensure optimum safety and minimum risk during an overhead lift.

No doubt many of the delegates present had been active in the industry long enough to know much of what was being said—but equally, there will have been many details that will have bolstered their existing knowledge, and it is of course never a bad thing to be reminded of what one already knows, particularly when dealing with such an important topic.

All of that is why, in this issue and in our May issue respectively, we’ve included articles on ropes and slings that look at not just the state-of-the-art of the technology in each sector, but also at best practice, as recommended by a number of experts from across the industry.

The technology behind the ropes and slings used in the overhead lifting does not necessarily make regular leaps forward. Manufacturers are always working on research and development, of course, and today’s ropes and slings are far more sophisticated than their predecessors.

However, there isn’t always enough of a step change to warrant the full focus of each feature. And so, we’ve taken the approach that as well as checking in on any innovations in each sector, we also want to gather expertise from the industry on how to use equipment safely, how to ensure the life span of the equipment is maximised by avoiding mis-use, and how best to set up and handle the equipment and accessories used in overhead lifting. We hope you’ll find these articles useful—through a combination of being reminded of all the aspects of best practice, as well as being reminded of, or introduced to, the very latest approaches, whether they be the result of new thinking or new regulations