Liebherr Nenzing Crane Co. is now fitting handrails as standard on top of crawler cranes delivered to U.S. customers to reduce the risk of operators falling while climbing over the crane.
Crane operators and maintenance technicians are periodically required to clamber over the top of cranes, to access the engine or to inspect winches, ropes and other components. As it is not always practical to connect a harness to a tie-off point, the addition of handrails is designed to improve worker safety by helping to prevent falls.
Handrails were previously an option on Liebherr cranes but demand for them has risen in line with mounting concern about the issue of safe working at height in the U.S. construction industry. It is an OSHA requirement that fall protection measures are adopted in the construction industry for any work at a height of 6 ft. (1.8 m) or more.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, falls from height accounted for 448 fatalities in the construction industry in 2007 — 38 percent of the industry’s total fatal accidents. The Bureau of Labor Statistics also reports that 74 people died at work in 2006 as a result of falling from a stationary vehicle. The number of non-fatal accidents is not known as not all accidents are reported.
With leading contractors increasingly demanding fall protection measures on their machinery, Liebherr Nenzing Crane Co. has opted to make handrails standard on all future orders from U.S. customers.
A retrofit package also is available for owners of cranes produced by Liebherr Nenzing.
The handrails are designed in accordance with OSHA’s Fall Protection Standard 1926.502. They are made of hot dipped galvanized steel for a long maintenance-free life.
On the Liebherr LR series cranes the handrails can be quickly and easily folded down to facilitate low-overhead transport by just releasing a couple of pins. On the Liebherr HS series the handrails can be simply pulled out and removed for transport.
Scott Moreland, vice president of Liebherr Nenzing Crane Co., said, “Liebherr has always set out to pioneer safety initiatives in the crane industry and we are very aware of the OSHA statistics relating to falls from height. The introduction of hand-rails on our cranes is a simple measure for us to take to help promote safe working at height and further design-out slip and trip hazards.”
Liebherr Nenzing Crane Co. is based in Houston, Texas. It is the U.S. sales and service subsidiary of Liebherr-Werk Nenzing GmbH of Austria, which is part of the Liebherr Group.