One of the most important factors in safe crane operation is stability. From the ground beneath the machine to the hand that’s operating it, stability is crucial to ensuring a crane can move itself and its load from point A to point B without causing any damage or putting anyone in danger. Unfortunately, no matter how much you prepare, there is one thing that can make a crane unstable that is out of our control—the weather.
As far as the elements go, wind is one of the most harrowing when it comes to crane safety. All it takes is one sudden gust to lose control and end up with a broken machine or injured crew member. If you find yourself using a crane on a blustery day, follow these tips to ensure the safety of your surroundings and everyone in them.
1) If possible, postpone crane operation until high winds have subsided.
Mild to moderate winds shouldn’t pose too much of a danger to cranes on your construction project. But if wind becomes more severe, the best course of action is to just stop the day’s operation altogether. The rule of thumb is to consider postponing if winds rich 20mph or over. Be sure to never operate beyond the listed manufacturer’s limit.
2) Reduce your load if operating a crane in windy conditions.
When wind speed increases, the amount of force exerted on your crane and its load also increases. To withstand this extra force, your crane must use some of its loading capacity. If you’re loading your crane on a windy day or the wind picks up while your crane is in use, you need to factor in this extra force when calculating load capacity. If you don’t, your load may swing out of radius and cause tipping or structural failure.
3) Use crane mats to provide stability against wind.
Crane mats provide reliable footing for a crane’s support structures. This ground stabilizing effect helps prevent the crane from tipping or becoming damaged if the load capacity is suddenly or unknowingly exceeded due to added wind force. Outrigger pads are particularly well-suited to heavier machinery, delicate terrain, and unpredictable conditions.
Ritter Forest Products offers an extensive selection of crane mats, outrigger pads, and other support products to those who use cranes and other industrial equipment on their job sites on a regular basis. These products are valuable at any time of year, but especially useful for the inclement weather that often accompanies the upcoming winter and spring months.
For more information about our crane mats available for rental and purchase, contact us online today!