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The Backup Benefit of Secondary Braking

Crane Accidents

If you were to ask the average person what is the primary purpose of operating a crane, the most common response would be "to lift things at a construction site". If you were to tell the person that this is incorrect as lifting objects is the second purpose, you would receive a quizzical look.

This is because most people do not realize the primary purpose of operating a crane is to maintain safety. Everything else is secondary. After all, what value is the operation of a crane if people's health and safety is not of primary concern?

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How does that old saying about physics go? An object at rest has a tendency to stay at rest while an object in motion has a tendency to stay in motion. Well, it will stay in motion unless an external factor does something to make sure it comes to a rest. Regarding the operation of cranes at a construction site, it is braking that keeps a crane from operating out of control. In some instances, braking may not be completely effective. This is where secondary braking is critical. However, secondary braking does not refer to the forward movement of the crane. It refers to the up and down movement of the hoist. Or, more accurately, it refers to the non-movement of the load in the hoist.

When lifting the load there is a primary brake on the hoist that makes sure the load does not come crashing down. However, no brake is indestructible. Wear and tear, stress, and other factors all contribute to the degradation of a brake. That is why all cranes are built with a secondary brake that makes sure a hoisted load does not collapse towards the ground. So, in this regard, a secondary brake can be considered the failsafe mechanism that ensures a hoist does not come crashing to earth in the event the primary brake fails.

Keep in mind, the event of a load or hoist crashing to earth is no minor problem. Workers and pedestrians can be killed if a heavy load crashes down to earth. While these situations are rare, they do happen. They would happen with more frequency if secondary braking failsafe mechanisms were not employed.

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It is also important to point out that a secondary brake is not indestructible either. Just as the primary braking system can fail, a secondary braking system can have its problems as well. This is why extreme caution must always be embodied when standing near a cradle hoisting a load. This would be both good judgment and common sense. Thankfully, if both are lacking, the secondary brake can pick up the slack. It can also save lives. That is why the proper maintenance of secondary brakes is so critical in the construction of a crane. If you have been injured contact a crane accident lawyer today.

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