Crane operation in different weather conditions
You can’t control the weather… but you can control when you lift. And when the weather isn’t on your side, it’s crucial that you know how to mitigate the risks.
Here at Two Way Cranes, we have over 20 years’ experience across all different sectors – from civil construction to maritime and mining.
During lifting operations, wind is not your friend. While you may barely feel a breeze on the ground, the higher you go, the more the wind speed increases, and this can cause significant problems during any crane operation.
Risk assessment is a critical part of determining whether you can continue a lift as planned. Operator experience will play a key role in the assessment. As part of the process, the crew will gauge their ability to control the load through the use of taglines, taking into account various factors, including the load being lifted and site restrictions. If the load cannot be lifted safely, operations will cease until it can be.
Another wind related element that influences safe crane operations is the permissible wind speed of the crane outlined by the manufacturer. The load chart might have a number of different configurations or one single wind speed. And the manufacturer might also have varying load chart wind speeds, depending on the lifting capacity – for example, if the load weight is reduced, the wind speed allowed might be higher.
Load surface area is another consideration that must be assessed, as this can greatly affect the impact of the wind speed. In Australia, there are load chart standards that we adhere to in order to ensure safe lifting operations.
Lightning storms can be extremely dangerous for crane operations. Lofty structures are often targets for lightning strikes. While some tower cranes are fitted with lightning rods and arresters to reduce the impact of a strike, most mobile cranes don’t have this protection. If a crane is struck, it can seriously damage the electrical systems, causing major malfunctions… and can potentially be lethal.
Before any crane operation is considered, it’s important that weather forecasts are reviewed to assess the likelihood of lightning storms occurring on that day.
Often, an electrical storm will accompany other weather conditions that impact operations, such as strong winds and heavy rain, so if these are forecast it is recommended to postpone the work until the weather pattern has changed.
If storms are not forecast but there is a sudden change and the weather becomes unpredictable, then safety is always the number one priority. Lowering the boom, powering down the machine and seeking shelter away from the crane will help reduce the possibility of damage or injury.
Heavy rain often leads to poor visibility… and if a crew member doesn’t have clear vision of the load and/or landing area then all lifting needs to be ceased immediately.
It is always recommended to perform a full check of the crane before resuming lifting operations after a storm. Not to mention operators need to take care of slips, trips and falls when moving in and out of the cab!
Safe crane operation
Understanding how different weather conditions can affect lifting operations is an essential part of crane safety. At Two Way Cranes, we are immensely proud of our safety record and our team members are fully prepared to provide secure and superior Franna, all-terrain, city and crawler crane hire solutions.
We service the wider Sydney region, from the coast to the mountains, plus we now offer our lifting services to the Illawarra, through our Wollongong branch.
To find out more about how we can deliver excellence in flexible construction crane hire, crane operation and material handling, contact us today.