Cranes are a crucial construction piece of equipment. Cranes are equipped with hoists and chains and are used to life extremely heavy materials. They might be used when building a bridge, new roadways, or even a house. They are also commonly used in the build of a new commercial building complex. Because the crane has to be very large and very heavy to transport even heavier of items, the ground support is very important. Ground support involves the usage of crane pads. The exact crane pads chosen will depend on the following constructive factors.
The size of the crane
Just like with any other piece of construction equipment, there are different sizes of cranes available. The crane outrigger pads that are placed underneath the crane will depend on the size of the crane being used. Generally speaking, larger cranes will require larger crane pads, while smaller cranes can usually get away with smaller crane pads. For much smaller versions of cranes, which are commonly used for residential projects, sometimes camper jack pads are used instead. The entire point of the crane pads is to provide ground protection and construction equipment protection.
The weight of the crane
In most cases, the larger cranes are heavier and vice versa. However, this is not always the case, so the weight of the crane also contributes to the type of crane pad that is needed for the project. Extremely large cranes, such as the ones used for large commercial projects, will require not only larger crane pads, but also thicker ones that can provide more protection to both the ground and the crane itself. Fortunately, ground protection mats are made to handle a variety of weights, ensuring that all areas are protected.
OHSA crane mat standards
OSHA, or the Occupational Safety and Health Administration also have minimal standards of safety for all outrigger pads and crane pads. These safety requirements ensure that all construction workers are using the correct size and padding for the type of crane used. Additionally, OHSA has restrictions and regulations surrounding how the crane is to be installed and constructed. In the U.S., OSHA states that cranes must be assembled on ground that is firm, drained and graded sufficiently, in conjunction with supporting materials, such as blocking, cribbing, pads, mats, to provide adequate support and levelness (OSHA 1926.1402). Construction or city workers not following these OSHA set guidelines can receive large fines and the removal of the project.
The need for outrigger blocking
In addition to crane pads, outrigger blocking may also be needed. This is also determined by the type and size of the construction job. Outrigger blocking also has minimum standards set by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. ASME states that outrigger blocking or cribbing must have sufficient strength to prevent crushing, bending, or shear failure. It also needs to be of such thickness, width, and length as to completely support the float, transmit the load to the supporting surface, and prevent shifting, toppling, or excessive settlement under the load (ASME B30.5, 2011).
Safety as a main priority
Cranes can and do lead to serious injuries. For this reason, safety should always be a priority on construction job sites using the crane tool. Minimum regulations set by OSHA and ASME should always be followed, whether it is in regards to the crane, crane mats, or any other type of construction equipment. It is also important to ensure that any crane operator has extensive and detailed training on the machine.
Cranes are commonly used in a variety of construction projects. To guarantee safety of all construction workers, regulation committees have set requirements of crane pad and outrigger types. The crane pads protect the land and the workers and must be fitted to the type of crane used. Following these minimum guidelines ensures that everything and everyone is well protected.