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Spot The Safety Violation: Riding High – and Unsafely

Riding on a load suspended from a crane looks like fun, huh’ But is it safe’

Many workplaces use cranes, hoists and other lifting devices to move materials. But such equipment shouldn’t be used to move or carry people. Simply put, using it for that purpose isn’t safe.

This picture from Work Safe Victoria in Australia illustrates the very dangerous practice of riding on a load suspended from a crane. The worker on the load may think it’s fun and a great way to get to the top of the structure under construction. But the fun could very quickly come to a tragic end.

For example, although the worker is wearing a hardhat and high visibility vest, it doesn’t appear that he’s wearing any fall protection. So should the load tip, he’d likely fall. And given the height he’s at, he’d either be seriously injured or killed.


It’s important that you comply with all the requirements for the safe use of lifting devices such as cranes and hoists. To help you do so, following these basic rules:

  1. Regularly inspect lifting devices to ensure that they’re in good working condition (see, overhead crane lift calculation form and a tower crane weekly and monthly inspection form).
  2. Operators shouldn’t leave a lifting device unattended when a load is suspended from it.
  3. Ensure that safe work procedures for work around overhead power lines are followed when there’s a risk a lifting device could come into contact with such lines.
  4. When the movement of a load could endanger others, use tag lines, guide ropes or clamps to control it.
  5. When traveling with a load, the operator should ensure it’s carried as close to the ground as possible.
  6. Make sure workers don’t ride on a load, hook or rigging attached to a lifting device (unless it’s in a device specifically intended for that purpose).
  7. Make sure to implement appropriate traffic safety measures, such as signs, barricades or flaggers.
  8. Ensure lifting devices have audible warning signals to alert workers to lifting operations.
  9. Make sure that the wind or other weather conditions won’t impact the lifting of a load or make it hazardous, such as by causing materials to fall from it.
  10. Protect the operators of lifting devices from hazards, such as falling or flying objects or material and extreme cold or heat.
  11. The load must be safely landed and supported before it’s unhooked from the lifting device.
  12. Instruct workers not to stand or walk under elevated loads unless it’s necessary and the device operator knows that they’re under the load.
  13. If it’s reasonably practicable, loads should not pass over workers. But if doing so can’t be avoided, you may be allowed to use a lifting device to move a load over workers provided:
  • There’s no other practical alternative under the circumstances; and
  • The workers who’ll be under the load are effectively warned of the danger, such as through an audible signal.