A Guide to Creating a Critical Lift Plan

In the rigging and crane industry, a high-risk rigging or lifting operation is known as a ‘critical lift’. As defined by OSHA, a critical lift is characterized by the following features:

  • The weight of the load exceeds 75% of the crane’s rated capacity

  • The lift requires more than one crane

Some companies also have internal policies and parameters that dictate what type of operations are deemed as critical lifts. For instance, some companies consider the lifting of personnel or high-value load as a critical lift.

Because of the high-risk nature of critical lifts, a detailed plan is required to minimize the chance of crane failure that could lead to catastrophic loss. Over the course of this blog post, we’ll get into the details of devising a critical lift plan.


Assessing the Site

The first step is to assess the site where the critical lift is to take place. The factors to consider include the ground conditions, if it has rained recently, and the weather forecast for the day. Evaluating the ground bearing pressure of the area where the crane will be set is particularly important as it will determine the type of crane that should be used for the operation, the amount of weight that should be lifted, and how much matting would be required.

Ensuring there’s Proper Equipment on the Site

Equipment that a critical lift requires varies upon the nature of the operation and the site. However, the following items are generally a must in all types of critical lift operations:

  • Crane(s) that are capable of making the lift

  • The appropriate matting

  • The right rigging equipment

  • Documentation for verifying the load weight on the site

  • All required personnel

Moreover, advanced crane safety instruments, such as an crane LMI system, a wind speed indicator, or crane camera system can significantly enhance the safety and efficiency of the operation.


Ensure the Correct Personnel are on Site

When it comes to making a critical lift, you don’t want your personnel to be wearing multiple hats. The ideal scenario is to have one individual in charge of each specific aspect of the job. A typical critical lift operation will include some variation of the following:

  • A certified lift director

  • A certified rigger

  • A certified crane operator

  • A certified crane spotter

  • A site supervisor

Once you have assembled a proper lift team, make sure that all the personnel has the chance to review the critical lift plan.


Here at Crane Warning Systems Atlanta, we sell technologically advanced crane safety instruments, including crane LMI systems, crane load monitoring systems, and wireless anemometers, that enhance the safety and efficiency of loft operations. Get in touch with us today to learn more.

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