When it comes to crane safety, the weather conditions on site are a huge factor in determining whether a crane is able to operate. Extreme weather can create significant challenges and cause serious detriment to safety measures if they are not taken into account. In order to protect the crane operator, site workers, members of the public, and the integrity of buildings nearby, here are some key weather considerations that need to be made, as well as real-world examples of how extreme weather occurrences can be managed.
Everyone knows that cranes and wind do not make for a good combination, especially when it comes to tower cranes. Strong winds can present a significant challenge and there have been various incidents which have seen cranes toppling over or causing serious damage when lifting. Nowadays, advanced wind-monitoring technologies allow construction workers to keep an eye on real-time data on the speed and direction of the wind. There are limits which cannot be surpassed unless the weather conditions improve, improving the safety on site and safeguarding the operator on duty.
Especially in climates where thunder and lightning storms are commonplace, the risk of using cranes increases dramatically. With cranes operating high above the ground, the chances of being struck by lightning means precautionary measures need to be put in place in case of a storm. Many crane companies have integrated detection systems which can spot potential lightning activity within the area, so operations can be paused until it is safe to continue.
The aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005 resulted in new safety protocols being implemented across the crane industry following numerous crane collapses, resulting in extensive damage which put lives at risk. Since then, new procedures should be present that prepare for incoming hurricanes, giving the crane companies a chance to ensure their vehicles are secured, relocated if necessary, free of components which are at risk of being brought down, and tie-downs are double checked.
In areas which are prone to harsh winters, the freezing weather conditions can have an impact on crane components such as steel cables and hydraulic systems. To prevent the freezing of equipment as well as protect the safety of workers on site, innovation is available to companies dealing with cold weather which allows them to install heated technology or insulation around impacted crane parts.
In desert states which are prone to sandstorms, risk is increased since they can not only interfere with the stability of the crane, but reduce visibility for operators. Some companies have introduced protective covers which encase the intricate crane components, avoiding a sand build up which could cause faults or deterioration. Remote control technologies have also been utilized; allowing operators to control movements from a safe distance during sandstorms.
- What are the most common crane safety hazards?
- What engineering controls ensure safe crane operation?
- What are the requirements for tower crane inspections?
- What is an EOT crane?
- Are fall arrest systems required for crane operations?
- What administrative controls improve crane safety?
- Are crane operators required to be trained and certified?
- What are the procedures for performing maintenance on a crane?
- How should an overhead crane be left when not in use?