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Crane News

Accidents Prevention – 5 Critical Steps

Construction | Jun 12 / 13

Written by: Robert Ingraham, Former HSE Director Eagle West Cranes, Inc.

Accidents, incidents and near miss-events occur on construction sites every year and they are 100 percent preventable. Here are 5 critical steps that will reduce your risk:

Step 1 – Identify the Critical Tasks

A “Critical Task” is a task that has the potential to produce major loss to people, equipment, processes or the environment.

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Step 2 – Complete a Field Level Hazard Assessment

  • This purpose of this assessment is to identify ‘day-of-the-job’ hazards associated with work tasks to ensure hazards are controlled prior to starting work. A FLHA should be completed prior to the start of each new project or when conditions of work have changed.
  • Always check the condition of all tools and equipment in your work area prior to starting work and upon completion of the job tasks.
  • Identify all hazards – A hazard is an unavoidable danger or risk, even though often foreseeable, may expose a person to a risk of injury or occupational disease.
  • Determine the Risk – Risk is the likelihood that the hazard will lead to injury or the probability of harm actually occurring. Risk represents the exposure to the chance of injury or loss.
  • Complete a Risk Assessment – Measuring the risks associated with identified hazards, considering the controls already in place and determining the next steps to eliminate or reduce the risk to a reasonably practicable value.

When conducting a hazard risk assessment, keep in mind that every worksite consists of four (4) major components:

  • The people (workers, sub-contractors, suppliers, clients, and visitors)
  • The environment
  • The materials
  • The equipment

Ask the right questions

  • What are the Hazards of the task?
  • What is the Exposure Level? – How often will the workers be exposed to the hazard that could result in an accident?
  • What is the Probability?  What is the likelihood that the hazard will lead to an undesired consequence?
  • What are the Consequences? – What are the worst possible results of an accident due to the hazard?

Risk = Consequence x Exposure x Probability 

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Step 3 – Establish Control Measures


  • Can the task be avoided?
  • Does the task need to be done to achieve the desired result?
  • Can it be done in a way so workers are not exposed to the hazard?


  • Can less hazardous materials be substituted to reduce the risk?
  • Can different work practices be developed to reduce exposure to risk?

Engineered Controls – Engineered controls are physical arrangements, design or alterations of workstations, equipment, materials, production facilities or other aspects of the physical work environment.
Administrative Controls – Provision, use and scheduling of work activities and resources on the worksite, including planning, organizing, staffing and coordinating. 

  • Can the task be planned and organized to reduce risk?

Personal Protective Equipment

  • PPE may be used as a substitute for engineering or administrative controls if it is used in circumstances in which those controls are not practical.
  • PPE is to be used when all other methods of eliminating, reducing or controlling risk are not practical.
  • PPE includes physical equipment, individual engineering controls and/or specific training.

Step 4 – Planning

  • A significant number of accidents, incidents and near miss events occur due to a lack of a clear plan and direction. When a plan is not followed, crew members can make an assumption that places themselves and other workers at significant risk.
  • Planning is the mental creation of the future we intend make a plan, review the plan, agree to the plan and follow the plan

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Step 5 – Tool Box Meeting

  • Choose a topic relevant to the work the crew is about to perform – e.g. review the job, the hazards, the controls and the plan.
  • Make sure the crew is actively involved in the discussion. Don’t communicate to them, communicate with them. Don’t ask closed-ended questions which only require yes or no answers. Make sure they fully understand the hazards, risks, controls and plan.
  • Make sure all crew members sign-off on the plan.

Final Comment:

Workers have legal rights that ensure their health and safety. It is essential that workers know about their rights and that they are prepared to use them.

1.    The right to know – the dangers in the workplace including the hazards and risks associated with the job they are about to perform.

2.    The right to participate – in workplace health and safety activities through the Joint Health & Safety Committee or worker representative. This includes the right to participate in hazard assessments and tool box meetings regarding their safety. Workers can’t be fired or disciplined for raising safety concerns or participating in Health & Safety activities.

3.    The right to refuse unsafe work – if you fail to discuss the hazards and risks associated with the job, it increases the risk that the worker will not recognize unsafe work due to the lack of information.

Written by Rob Ingraham, Former Director of Health, Safety and Environment.

For further information please contact:

Janice Williams, Safety Supervisor
Health, Safety and Environment (HSE)
Eagle West Cranes Inc.
Stampede Crane & Rigging Inc.
Cell: 604-809-0124

Stampede Crane & Rigging is a division of TNT Crane Canada. All rights reserved.