Recently, an operator of an overhead crane had been using a chain sling attached to the hook of a crane and was setting it up into a single choker hitch to pick up and turn over a steel frame that was lying horizontally on two sawhorses.

The hook on the sling did not have a safety latch. 

The operator was standing between the load and another steel frame that was leaning vertically against the shop platform. The chain disconnected from the hook and the vertical steel frame fell towards him. He was crushed between the two steel frames. [Source: OSHA Case Histories – Rigging Accidents- Case History #7]

Possible ways to prevent this type of accident

  1. Ensure that workers do not place any part of their bodies into areas where they might become trapped when operating an overhead crane
  2. Ensure that the tools and equipment used are regularly inspected for defects and are replaced or repaired as needed.
  3. Ensure that workers who use cranes are trained in rigging procedures.
  4. Perform daily inspection of cranes using safety checklists to ensure that all equipment is working properly.
  5. Ensure that the hook has a working safety latch, and if not, is moused.

Safety standards

There are several organizations that are dedicated to maintaining and progressing safety standards. ASME has sustained safety standards for the crane, rigging, and lifting industry. One of the most frequently referenced standards is ASME’s B30 Safety Standard for Cableways, Cranes, Derricks, Hoists, Hooks, Jacks, and Slings.

ASME B30 is referenced throughout Crosby literature and training material. The many volumes cover a wide variety of topics, but there is a consistency to the guidance offered. For example, latches are discussed repeatedly appearing in B30.2 (overhead cranes), B30.5 (mobile cranes), B30.10 (hooks), B30.23 (personnel lifting), and others.

When it comes to the use of latches, B30.16 (overhead hoists) summarizes it perfectly: “Hooks shall be equipped with latches unless use of the latch creates a hazardous condition.”

Crosby agrees and recommends the use of a latch for almost all applications, as it is a best practice.