A BIRD’S EYE VIEW DOESN’T ALWAYS MEAN TWENTY-TWENTY VISION – NOT FROM THE CAB OF A CRANE. MARGO COLE HIGHLIGHTS AN IMPORTANT SAFETY DEVELOPMENT…
How quickly or safely do you think you could manage a complex car journey if you drove blindfolded and were relying entirely on instructions from someone in the back seat? It sounds preposterous. But, according to BlokCam joint managing director Ben Windass, that’s similar to many crane operators’ experience on construction sites. They cannot see what they are lifting; they are relying entirely on hand signals or two-way radio communication with a banksman on the ground.
BlokCam manufacture and distributes a range of wireless systems which enable the crane driver to see – and even hear – exactly what is going on at the hook block. Windass says it is the equivalent of removing the blindfold in the driving analogy: “If you take the blindfold off, the job becomes immeasurably simpler.”
The idea for the BlokCam system came from direct experience on site with sister company Compact Lifting Group. “Because we do a lot of contract lifts, we see a lot of scenarios where the crane operator is completely blind to the lift – for example if they are picking up or dropping a load behind a building, or down a shaft, or behind a fence,” explains Windass. “There are far too many instances where the operator is blind to the load and has to rely visually on hand signals, or radio communication.
“Unfortunately, there are some slingers, riggers, banksmen and signallers out there who don’t use the correct signals or radio communication: or don’t stay in regular communication during the lift.
“And it’s not just blind lifting,” he adds. “Regardless of the size and direct line of sight – most loads create blind spots. You may have a load that’s just so physically big that you can’t see what’s behind it, and you can’t see the banksman. The load itself may leave the operator blind to huge areas of uncertainty and concern.”