There is little doubt that cranes can be one of the most dangerous pieces of equipment at work on a job site. From the sheer size of the cranes themselves to the many tons of material they can swing around, a single mishap can be absolutely devastating.
And the danger is never higher than during inclement weather.
At Bobcat Contracting, we have one of the best safety records you’re likely to see among Austin crane lifting services, and part of that is because we know how to handle bad weather. Preparation and awareness will save lives!
How Safety-Minded Austin Crane Lifting Services Should Handle Bad Weather
There is rarely any good reason to do any sort of lifting in the rain, not beyond a slight drizzle. Water can easily get inside components and disrupt their operation. Additionally, it can add to the weight of loads – potentially pushing them past the crane’s limits. It’s almost always better to swallow a lost day of work, than risk lifting in the rain.
Cold is actually more dangerous to cranes than you might think because subzero temperatures will reduce the tensile strength of the crane and make components more likely to break. The maximum weight of the load will need to be reduced by at least 25% if temperatures are below freezing, and the weight will have to be reduced further depending on just how cold it is.
Since a crane is often going to be the tallest object at a work site and made of metal, this makes it a literal lightning rod. A direct strike will harm or kill any operators on the crane, and potentially anyone nearby. A crane should never be operated if there’s lightning in the area.
Winds are perhaps the biggest day-to-day danger in crane operation since they can cause the load – or even the crane itself – to sway. Worse, winds can change unpredictably during the day, making them difficult to plan for. In a worst-case scenario, cranes absolutely can be toppled by sufficiently high winds.
If winds unexpectedly pick up, the crane should drop its load as quickly as safely possible, then cease operation until it’s calm again.