Safety Representatives and Overhead Crane Training

Posted by Dulce Morris on April 21st, 2016

Accidents are often thought of as random, unpredictable events. The reality is that this is not the case. Most “accidents” have specific causes, and in more often than not are preceded by several occurrences, commonly referred to as near misses. Accident and incident investigations gives us great insight into the root causes of accidents, and preventative steps necessary to prevent them from happening again.

The workplace can pose many risks to health and safety. The Occupational Health and Safety Act of 1993 requires the appointment of health and safety representative when the number of employees exceeds 20. Health and safety representatives play an important role in the success of a quality health and safety management programme. Part of their duties listed in the OHS Act includes: performing risk assessments, conducting incident investigations, responding to employee complaints concerning health and safety, conducting workplace inspections and attending safety committee meetings.

According to Section 18(3) of the OHS Act of 1993, employers are required to provide health and safety representatives with training to enable them to successfully perform the required duties. The National Occupational Safety & Health Consultancy ( offers both introductory and advanced courses for health and safety representatives. The introductory course covers the following: The OHS Act, appointments of health and safety representatives, checklists and inspections, accident prevention, unsafe acts and conditions, incident investigations and the functioning of safety committee meetings. Our advanced course also covers an in depth review of the Regulations pertaining to the specific workplace. Upon completion, the candidate will be fully equipped to complete his duties in terms of the Act.

Lifting machinery such as overhead cranes and lift trucks pose a unique set of risks if used incorrectly. Operators of lifting machinery in the workplace require specific training in terms of the Driven Machinery Regulations and the National code of Practice (NCOP). Materials handling often involves moving heavy loads and expensive products. The risk of equipment failure and/or damage to property and injury to staff is high.

Whilst the operation of an overhead crane may seem simple, many accidents have occurred due to overloading and incorrect rigging and slinging techniques. The operator needs to have a good knowledge of pre-use inspection techniques, operating procedures, load identification and lifting tackle selection and inspection. It is therefore important the potential operators receive certified training prior to operating the overhead crane. They should understand such concepts as load capacity, load centre, the effects of bad weather, safe working loads. In addition, the operator must be familiar with crane pendant controls and the meaning of warning alarms and signals. The overhead crane training course covers this, as well as emergency procedures in the event of an incident.

Training your operators not only ensures legal compliance with the OHS Act of 1993 and the Regulations, but also insures that your materials will be safely moved with minimum risk of injury and damage. Incorrect use of lifting machinery can have devastating effects, make sure your employees don’t learn by accident!

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Dulce Morris

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Dulce Morris
Joined: December 16th, 2015
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