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Why do so many accidents occur with articulated cranes?

I account for 1 to 2 accidents per week with hydraulic articulated cranes, or cranes, or popularly “muncks”.

Where is the problem? On equipment? On the operator? At the rental company? In planning?


Hydraulic knuckle cranes from good quality manufacturers are well designed and safe to operate as instructed by the manufacturer. They deliver what they promise.

Characteristics that increase risks in lifting

1) Most articulated cranes do not have sensors to monitor the load weight, operating radius, maximum capacity, which could lead to overload or collapse;
2) Lack of design, planning and supervision. Lifting with articulated cranes are generally seen as simple, where the operator himself provides the solution and is often not supervised by a rigging supervisor.
3) With controls built into the chassis, the operator is in an unfavorable position and could be hit by the boom or load in the event of a collapse.
4) Poor inspection and maintenance. The investigation of accidents shows that there is a high incidence of structural defects not detected by the lack of inspection, or repairs without criteria, which did not recover the integrity of the equipment.

Actions to reduce risks in lifting

1) Adoption of more modern models, which already come standard with safety monitoring sensors, such as weight, radius and overload. It is also possible to install some of these sensors in articulated cranes, such as load cells.
2) Due to the greater risk of accidents due to their characteristics and peculiarities, lifting with articulated cranes must be preceded by a rigging plan and field supervision, both for routine and non-routine lifting.
3) Use of remote control, allowing the operator to stay away from the trajectory of the boom and load, as well as not being hit in case of an accident.
4) Before hiring/using the articulated crane, check the structural integrity and inspection and maintenance documentation.

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