Vacuum lifters are now widely used in different parts of the world today, particularly in construction sites. Their use has majorly been applied in work and processes that involved concrete road barriers, pipelines, and other directional drilling projects.
There are many reasons why industries have widely adopted vacuum lifters, but the leading and most important cause is their increased efficiency and safety. The equipment will reduce the number of personnel involved in projects, which will also help reduce the risk of a work injury. Vacuum lifters also help ensure that materials are moved safely, and the equipment has eliminated the use of pipe hooks, pipe tongs, pipe forks, and slings, all of which are dangerous.
Even though these devices are designed to be safe, they can only guarantee safety when following best practices. That is why we have outlined some of the best methods to abide by using a vacuum lifting device. Read on to know more about these practices:
Pre Operation Practices
Here are some of the pre-operation practices to follow:
- Workers involved in operating and using vacuum lifting systems must have received all the necessary training they need before they start using any of the devices
- There should be a discussion between the operator and a supervisor, ensuring proper planning before the work is done. This planning should also account for the operation of the system. After the planning process, all the workers involved must have a complete understanding of the working process.
- All the required equipment to be used for the job must be of appropriate size, and they should have the ideal rating that is suitable for the job
- There should be a job safety analysis before the job is started. The aim of this is to determine the responsibility of every worker and also to ascertain different safety concerns. This will also help in the identification of potential hazards and also in addressing such hazards.
- The operator's manual of the device is essential, and every worker must read it before using any equipment. That is why we advise that the operator's manual be kept in areas that anyone can easily reach.
- All overhead lines should be located before the commencement of the job.
- The operator's manual usually identifies necessary inspections and maintenance to be carried out, which should not be ignored. It is crucial to ensure that you perform them regularly and stay up to date with them. Another important thing is to ensure that only a qualified person services or replaces parts in the equipment. While you are ensuring the safety of your workers, you must also ensure the safety of the equipment.
- All defective or damaged parts should be repaired or replaced quickly.
- Always ensure that there is a fire extinguisher and that it is fully charged and ready for use. Also, ensure that your workers know how to use the fire extinguisher.
- There should be an established method of communication between workers and supervisors.
- Have personal protective equipment for every worker, and they must always use it whenever they perform tasks. This equipment includes a reflective vest, gloves, safety-toed shoes, safety glasses, hats, protective clothing, and many more.
- All warning labels should be as legible as possible. If there are any illegible or missing labels, always ensure that they are replaced as soon as possible.
- Fuel shut-off valve should always be turned off before storing or transporting the unit.
- Attach the unit to the cradle in a secure manner
- Adjust the rotation speed, attach the vacuum pad, rotate the lifter, and connect the hydraulic hoses before starting the unit.
- Inspects all the keeper pins and rods before you begin the lifting process.
- Pay attention to all safety warnings as soon as you start the unit.
Here are some practices to follow during operation:
- Any worker that's not needed should not be found in the work area, particularly within the swing radius of the load and the equipment.
- All the vacuum pads must be appropriately positioned. Also, ensure that you engage the vacuum, lift the load, and also rotate it slowly.
- Every vacuum lifting system has a lift capacity, and it is crucial to ensure that you do not exceed the lift capacity of the device. The lift capacity of the vacuum lifting system vary, and you should never forget this.
- Do not hesitate to turn off the vacuum lifting system whenever you notice any fault.
- Never take your eyes off the warning and alert system so that you do not miss out on warning signs.
- Post Operation
- Here are some practices to follow post-operation:
- Once you are done with the work processes, turn off the machine and secure it properly for transport and storage. You can also refer to the manufacturer's manual for a guide on how to transport and store the equipment
- You can utilize forklift pockets where applicable, and this will make it a lot easier for you to move the lifter and store it.
The vacuum lifting system is designed to increase operational safety, especially at construction sites. However, if you do not follow all the safety guidelines, you might not guarantee the security of the device, personnel, or even the load you are trying to lift securely. Therefore, when using these vacuum lifting systems, you must follow all the operational practices that we have listed above.