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The Importance of a Grounded Crane

Operating heavy machinery is always a risky task. For those who operate industrial cranes, it is important to take all the necessary safety precautions, in order to mitigate human injury and damage to personal property. If a crane uses electricity and is not effectively grounded, the operator runs the risk of lethal electrocution, which is one of the leading causes of death and injury in the industrial workplace.

All cranes are legally required to have a fourth ground bar attached to an overhead crane system. Unfortunately, electrical wiring regulations are the sixth most overlooked regulation by OSHA. In regards to electrically operated overhead cranes and hoists, OSHA requires the equipment to have a secure connection to the ground, via a grounding conductor. All cranes must comply with OSHA policy that mandates all equipment uses and identifies grounding conductors. Essentially, a 3-phase electrical conductor is insufficient and does not meet the requirements outlined by OSHA. Instead, OSHA mandates that all cranes be outfitted with a fourth ground bar.

If an overhead crane uses electricity for locomotion, it requires a separate conductor for the ground. Modern overhead cranes are also outfitted with additional electronics, such as remotes monitoring devices. These pieces of equipment also need to be grounded, in order to secure the safety of the worker and the tools.  No aspect of ground can be overlooked.

It is important to remember that electrical current follows the path of least resistance, which means that your crane operator runs the risk of becoming the ground. If a short ground exists, your operator may get electrocuted.

The leading cause of workplace death for crane operators is electrocution. An improperly grounded crane puts not only crane operators in danger, but also employees working in close proximity to the machinery. Electrocution most commonly occurs when a boom or tower comes into contact with an electric line, and the most common electrical violation is improper grounding.  It is important to continually test to make sure that an overhead crane is properly grounded.

It may cost additional capital to ensure that an overhead crane is outfitted with the proper ground conductor, but it is worth the price of saving a life and keeping the worries of employees at bay. If you are interested in learning more about overhead cranes, and how to properly ground the machinery, please contact a local manufacturer for more information.

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