Making sure that every aspect of a crane is crucial before operation. To prevent damage to the machinery itself, people within the construction area, or machine failure that results in damaging other equipment on site, performing a safety check is necessary. From checking for crane stability pads to ensuring indicator lights are working and operation mechanisms are functioning, here are some of the things you need to check for:
Perform A Walk Around
One of the most overlooked aspects of inspection is a thorough walk around. To make sure the crane will bear load without sinking into the ground due to no crane outrigger pads and prevent many other issues, here are some of the things you need to check:
Is the foundation suitable for holding the crane load without outrigger pads?
Are all items on or near the crane secured?
Have the handrails and walkways been cleared and secured?
Are all hydraulic systems intact and operational?
Has housekeeping such as removing concrete or rebar been done?
Are all of the couplers and connection rods secured?
Remember, even if you are on solid ground such as asphalt, you may still need crane stability pads if the asphalt was poured over a hollow area where pipes are.
Inspect The Operator Cab
In addition to performing a walk around, you will need to inspect the operator cab to ensure the operator will have no problems while the crane is in use. Things to look for include:
Has general operator cab housecleaning been done?
Are all warning tags visible?
Are the cab doors secure?
Is the fire extinguisher in place?
Is visibility acceptable or does window cleaning need to happen?
Are all indicator lights functioning?
Is the alarm system working?
One of the most important aspects of your inspection is going to be the operation inspection. In many cases if you find issues with any of the operation parts during an inspection you will need to suspend work and notify a supervisor. Operation inspections include checks for:
Travel Limit Relays
Hooks (Main and Auxiliary)
Bridge Controls and Brakes
Main and Auxiliary Upper and Lower Limits
Power Supply Replay
Work Area Checks
Manual Reset Checks
In addition to operation checks, you will need to also perform machinery inspection. Machinery that you need to inspect are:
Check Hooks for Deformities or Cracks
Are all motors operational?
Bridge Conductors and Collectors
Are there any exposed electrical components?
Check the Festoon System
Are batteries working properly?
Are all covers secured?
If you notice any issue with the holding brake, wire rope, sheaves, or hook it is recommended that you contact a supervisor and end any operations for the crane.
No matter what type of crane outrigger you are operating, having a set of stability pads is something that you cannot overlook and you should always have them with you. Not only do outrigger pads for your crane allow you to operate within safety guidelines, it can be the difference in doing damage to property or to your crane.
While there are usually footpads on the end of any outrigger that are designed by the manufacturer, in the majority of circumstances this is not enough to provide you with the stability and surface area you need to operate effectively on loose soil and unideal surface conditions. Here are a few reasons you need to have crane outrigger pads:
Operating On Soil Can Lead To Equipment Damage
If you are operating your crane it’s always important to look for what is considered to be "good" ground conditions, but what might seem like ground conditions suitable for using your standard footpads may turn out to be very risky. If you are operating your crane and the footpads punch into the ground, not only is your machinery no longer level, the ground below you will no longer be able to support the load of the crane. This can cause extensive damage and result in total crane failure.
Cranes Are Not Always Distributing Load Evenly
It’s also important to note that when your crane is in operation, it is not always stationary. As the arm moves from position to position, the load is distributed differently at all times. Even if you are able to set up your standard footpads initially without pressing into the ground, things can quickly change if all of your crane’s weight is shifted to one footpad.
With stability pads, there is a lot more surface area that the weight is distributed to. That means when load is distributed, even if it is all placed on one area, it is not concentrated on a very small section of soil. Instead, the load is distributed evenly to the crane outrigger pads so you do not sink into the ground at all.
It Is Not Only Soil That You Have To Worry About
One big mistake that new operators make is assuming that just because something looks stable means it actually is. While loose soil or wet conditions are clear signs that you will need outrigger pads to operate your crane, you should also be aware that outrigger pads are also recommended on hard surfaces.
If your outrigger crane is on a hard surface such as pavement or asphalt it may appear you will have no issues, but if that pavement is poured over a hollow surface (common when driveways are poured over a drainpipe), your outrigger can shatter the asphalt. Our synthetic outrigger pads keep the load distributed over a large surface area so this doesn’t happen.
The Type Of Crane Outrigger Pads You Use Matters
Remember, it is not just the act of using a crane pad that matters—the type of floats you use is important. While some operators attempt to use pressure treated wood as an outrigger pad, this can prove to be problematic. Even though it is pressure treated, wood will not stand up to extremely heavy loads. As a result, the wood will shatter which can be dangerous and even result in punching through to the ground.
Our synthetic pads are created to withstand even the highest loads. Not only does this make sure you are operating safely, it prevents unnecessary damage from being done to your crane when you are operating on any type of surface.
Whether you are a first time RV user and want to see if the lifestyle is for you, or you have bought a motorhome and want to hit the road full time it is important that you keep safety in mind at all times. To make sure that you and your family stay safe when your wheels hit the road, here are a few things to keep in mind from essential RV parts and accessories to general tips:
Perform A Safety Check Before You Depart
No matter how experienced you are, having a safety check before you leave is one of the most efficient ways to prevent accidents. Since many accidents are caused by simply forgetting something, such as leaving steps attached or a hatch unlocked, taking a step-by-step approach will help stop common oversights:
Check your tire pressure before every trip, and examine your tire tread for any wear and tear.
Check batteries for any smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.
Do a brake test for both your parking brake and air brakes.
Check for fluid leaks under your RV or motorhome.
Make sure you have RV leveling pads.
Check your jacks and hydraulic jack.
Examine your oil and other fluid levels.
Disconnect all of your water, sewer, electricity, phone, and TV attachments.
Check your safety cables.
Make sure all doors are latched closed.
Make sure no burners are turned on, including the oven.
Take Corners Using The SAFE Method
Driving an RV or motorhome is not the same as driving a standard car, truck, or SUV especially when you go around corners. Due to the RV’s extra height and weight, it is recommended that you take corners using the SAFE method:
Slow down before the turn. Don’t try to slow down while in the turn. Slow down first then accelerate while turning.
Arc into the turn. Because your vehicle is longer you need to arc into your turns, but be careful with your signal lights so you do not confuse traffic behind you.
Finish your turns fully. Make sure that the rear of your RV or motorhome is past the pivot point before you straighten out.
Experience matters. The more you drive your RV, the better you are going to be. Don’t give up and keep practicing.
Use Proper RV Leveling Pads When Parked
Making sure your RV is level not only keeps you and your belongings from rolling around, it is necessary for things like an absorption refrigerator to work properly. To keep your RV level it is ideal to use a high quality synthetic RV leveling jackpad or level pads for your wheels. Without pads for your jack or wheels you could sink into the ground and get stuck, and wooden pads can break and splinter or cause damage to your tires.
Synthetic outrigger pads or RV leveling pads should be considered essential RV parts and accessories because they are as strong as steel to support even the largest RVs, they are light weight so they are easy to use, and they last for years and years without any signs of wear and tear.
Be Aware Of Your Height and Width
An extremely common RV accident is due to not remembering how tall your vehicle is. While it seems like a simple thing, hundreds of accidents happen due to this every year with RVs hitting bridges or an overhang. A great way to stay reminded of the height of your RV is to simply write it down on a sticky note or piece of paper and tape it to the dashboard. Every time you see a clearance sign you can glance down at the dash and make sure your motorhome will fit as a safety check.
You should also keep in mind that most RVs are much wider than a traditional car or truck. Many RVs are at least 8.5 feet wide, only 1.5 feet thinner than a 10 foot highway. On a traditional road that gives you less than a foot of room on either side of your RV so make sure you take extra care in traffic or on single lane bridges.
While a lot of people think that an RV or a motorhome is something to be used in the summer months, taking your RV out during the winter to see the wonderful winter scenery can be just as rewarding if you prepare properly. Because temperatures can get so cold during the winter, especially if you are traveling in areas like Canada, making sure that you winterize your RV and have necessary winter RV parts and accessories is important to prevent any damage and keep you warm. Here are a few tips to help you get your wheels on the road during winter in your RV or motorhome:
Create An Enclosure Around Your Holding Tank And Sewage Tank
The obvious issue with RVing in winter is the fact that temperatures can get so cold that it can freeze the water in your vehicle. This can be especially problematic for your holding tank and sewage parts. To make sure your holding tank doesn’t freeze, it’s recommended that you build an enclosure around it to keep it insulated and warm.
Building an enclosure is as simple as creating a frame around your tanks and using standard fiberglass batting as an insulator to keep the cold from getting in. By using 2 40-watt light bulbs inside the enclosure you can provide a heat source that keeps everything inside the insulation warm without using too much power.
Keep Everything Insulated And Replace Hoses If Necessary
In addition to keeping your holding tank from freezing, you also have to make sure that your RV or motorhome pipes don’t freeze up. In the sub-zero winter temperatures, water will freeze and quickly expand which can result in your pipes bursting. To prevent this, having foam insulator tubing are essential RV parts and accessories to keep with you. Make sure you are using proper RV leveling techniques as well to prevent nay water from standing in your pipes. If necessary, keep a tap dripping during the coldest nights as the small amount of movement can keep the water freezing within the pipes.
Have Quality RV Leveling Pads
In addition to having all of your pipes and tanks insulated so no water is able to freeze, you need to make sure you can properly level your RV. As mentioned, RV leveling can keep water from standing in pipes but it can also prevent other problems as well. If you park your RV at night when the air isn’t too cold, your hydraulic jack could freeze in the ground if it sinks in overnight.
Using a high quality RV leveling pads or a jackpad will prevent you from sinking into the ground. If you use professional grade jackpads designed to work with jacks on big equipment like a crane outrigger, you also eliminate the risk of your RV leveling pads cracking in the cold or sticking to jacks as you try to remove them before departing.
Have Backup Heating Sources Available
Obviously having a quality furnace available to keep your RV warm during the cold winter nights is preferred, but having backups is extremely important in case something goes wrong. If you are in areas where temperatures can get below zero, having space heaters that can draw power from your RV’s electrical supply can keep everyone warm.
In addition to spare emergency heaters, make sure you stock plenty of extra blankets. Electric blankets can be plugged in before sleeping to keep the bed warm, and extra blankets will keep everyone insulated through the night, even if the furnace stops working. Make sure you have enough blankets for all of your guests when you are packing up.
A Few More Tips
The biggest priority for winterizing your RV is to have all sources of water well insulated to prevent freezing. This includes your water tanks, sewage system, and all of the pipes. In addition to that, there are a few more things you can do to make sure you are ready for RVing in winter:
RV antifreeze can be added to potable water as long as it is the type designed to be human friendly. Having it on hand in case things get very, very cold can keep your potable water from freezing up.
Insulating under your RV is a great way to keep pipes warm because the heat from your RV’s floor will be trapped under the motorhome. Cutting out Styrofoam blocks that are the same height as your RV’s floor to the ground will create a great barrier from the cold.
Make sure that your RV has proper tires. The right wheels will give you traction even if the ground is frozen and prevent you from getting stuck.
Avoid wooden RV leveling pads. If your pads are made of wood, even the smallest amount of moisture can freeze in the wood making them expand and much more likely to crack and cause splinters.
When you take your RV or motorhome out for a trip, making sure you are level when you park is very important. Obviously you don’t want the discomfort of having your feet above your head when you’re sleeping, or have to deal with constantly rolling into the wall a night. The idea of all of your food rolling off the countertops when you’re trying to cook probably doesn’t sound too great either. RV leveling is not only going to prevent those issues, it’s necessary for your RV or motorhome to function properly as well.
Some appliances within your motorhome or RV need to be level due to their design. Refrigerators, for example, have a cooling system that is based on liquids inside the coils (typically liquid ammonia) being able to flow downward. Without proper leveling, this can’t happen and your cooling system may not work as efficiently as it is supposed to or even work at all. To ensure your RV leveling is done properly, whether you have jacks or just your wheels for leveling, here’s what you need to know:
Proper RV Leveling Pads Are Essential
When it comes to RV parts and accessories, none may be as important as your RV leveling pads. These are the pads that either go under the wheel of your vehicle when you park or work as a jackpad to sit under your jack if you have an automatic leveling system.
There are a few reasons RV leveling pads are important. If you are parking in an area with loose terrain, your wheels or jacks may sink into the ground. As time passes while you’re parked and you begin to sink into the ground, you will start to become unleveled and you can even end up getting stuck where you parked as you try to leave. Using an outrigger pad gives you a wide, sturdy surface that prevents your vehicle from sinking into the ground.
Additionally, RV leveling pads are easily stacked which make them ideal for leveling your motorhome if you do not have a hydraulic jack system. This allows you to easily adjust your vehicle to the perfect height no matter what kind of terrain you are in or how much of a slope you are dealing with.
Remember that the quality and type of RV leveling jackpad you have is something you need to watch for. Using a synthetic outrigger pad such as ours gives you a lot of strength in a single pad so you don’t have to worry about it cracking while being extremely lightweight. It’s not advisable to use treated wood for your stability pads as they can retain moisture, crack under extreme temperatures, and cause splinters when they fracture.
How To Level Your RV With Blocks The Right Way
If you have an automatic leveling system with a jack or multiple jacks, making sure you use a synthetic outrigger pad is still important. You want to make sure that your jack is perfectly centered on the jackpad, directly below your hydraulic jack so it sits evenly and eliminates any possible slippage.
If you don’t have any type of jack for your RV or motorhome, driving onto the RV leveling pads will allow you to level out your vehicle quite easily. Not sure how to do that? Here is how to level your RV on pads in 5 simple steps to guarantee safety:
Determine where you want to park your RV and park about 2-3 feet away from that point (this may differ slightly depending on the size of RV leveling blocks you have).
Set the parking brake and turn off your RV or motorhome so it doesn’t move at all.
Figure out which tires need blocks underneath them and how many of each you will need. You may need to adjust things your first few tries, but as you get more experience RVing you will quickly be able to gauge this by eye.
Place your blocks against the tire in the direction that you will be driving onto them, either at the front or the back. If you have to stack multiple blocks on top of each other it’s best that the pads are slightly offset so your motorhome can easily roll onto them.
Start up your RV and release the parking brake. Putting your motorhome in gear will let you idle speed up the ramp blocks very slowly and safely. Make sure you stop exactly when your tires are over the center of the RV leveling pads.
That’s it. Just check to see if you are level and put your vehicle in park and set the parking brake if so. If you still aren’t level, back off the blocks and adjust as necessary.
Remember, safety is a very important issue when leveling your vehicle. It’s absolutely imperative that you have high quality pads under your jacks or your wheels when parked and leveled. Our pads are designed to be as strong as steel at just a fraction of the weight, so you don’t have to worry about them cracking underneath you.
The blocks are also wide enough that they keep the weight of your wheels evenly distributed. If you use wood to level your RV and it’s too thin, it could damage the exterior walls of your tires which could cause them to blow out while you drive. With our jackpads and RV leveling you never have to worry about things like this because they were designed specifically for safety and strength whether used with an RV or as crane outrigger pads.
The above photo depicts a mobile crane that just toppled over it self, this accident was caused by improperly used outrigger arms and/or outrigger pad supports and is completely avoidable. Due to the increased amount of safety and awareness that crane operators need to exhibit, I have compiled a list of links related to crane outrigger pad placement and lifting safety.
If you read one of these link this one is a must: The ABS's of Foundation Loadings Under Cranes. This thorough article will give you the knowledge to correctly select the correct outrigger pad and analyze your ground surface safely.
This is a rough terrain crane safety training manual provided by OHSA, it includes all necessary inspection and operational safety information.
Here is an expertly written article by: Kirk Ward - The Top five Ways to Reduce Crane Accidents.
The video of this New Zealand crane toppling over demonstrates the importance of having a stable and solid surface to lift from and how external factors such as weather can play a role in safety.
Alberta's guidelines for the safety training of crane operators and supervisors has a wide array of training requirements.
Side Note: These provided links are property of their respective owners and not Stabilitypads.com