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Hazard zone during a lifting operation
Primary cause for accidents during lifting actions is a direct result of persons entering the ‘hazard zone’. But also a lot of accidents occur when persons are in a designated ‘safe zone’ while the load (or lift equipment) is still able to enter that ‘safe zone’.
Aside from determining the safe and danger zones it is also essential, that people ‘working with’ or just being near the equipment can recognize these zones. Victims are often bystanders or observers who are not aware they are in danger.
It is essential to determine in advance what the ‘hazard zone’ and ‘safe zone’ is during a lifting operation.
A common mistake is to think that the ’hazard zone’ is directly and only under the actual load.
Where is your hazard zone?
The hazard zone is defined by (amongst others):
The size and weight of the lifted load
The height of the lifted load
Surroundings (e.g. objects) underneath the load
The shape and size of the lifting equipment
When a lifted load is heavy, or is lifted high, the impact of the fall of the load can be such that possible shattering of pieces enlarges the hazard zone.
Surroundings might alter the fall of the load from straight down to tumbling towards the sides.
Lifting equipment might break down and fall, possibly colliding with objects, resulting in altering the direction of the fall.
How to keep it safe?
To reduce the risks as much as possible, the hazard zone needs to be:
as small as possible
guarded so no persons are in this hazard zone during lifting
Make sure that the load is not lifted higher than necessary.
Prevent equipment and obstacles to be underneath the load when possible.
Make sure that persons are aware of the lifting operation and can clearly see where the hazard zone is.
Physically block the hazard zone with fences or other means of guarding.
Need to be in the hazard zone?
Due to the nature of the work or other reasons it is not always possible to prevent persons from entering the hazard zone.
If people have to be in the hazard zone during lifting, they must:
can recognize the hazard zone and the risks and/or be informed about and are aware of the risks
wear appropriate personal protective equipment
If you want more information on how to determine the hazard zone during lifting operations, please contact BKL.