Lightning Safety Guidelines for Tower Crane Operators

We know that lightning always tries to find the shortest way to the ground; therefore, it tends to hit tall objects the most. And often tower cranes are the tallest structure in the area.

Tower cranes can have a maximum unsupported height of 265 ft., which makes them some of the likeliest targets for lightning strikes. Add their metal construction and open space location to the equation, and the probability of a tower crane getting hit by lightning during a thunderstorm increases even more.

Despite this, lightning is often overlooked as part of crane safety programs by many tower crane owners and operating companies. In this blog, we want to review some essential safety guidelines for operating tower cranes in weather conditions with high lightning risks.

Safety Precautions for Tower Crane Operators During a Thunderstorm

First and foremost, you should not operate a tower crane during thunderstorms, especially if there has been a lightning strike near your location.

How near is “near” for one to stop their crane operations and other construction activities?

Safety experts suggest that if a lightning strike is detected within a 10 miles radius of your construction site, you should stop immediately as the next strike could be at your location.


This begs the question; how would you know if there has been a lightning incident within a 10-mile proximity of your construction site?

There are inexpensive portable lightning detectors available on the market that can help you detect that. Alternatively, you can also use weather apps for up-to-date lightning reports for your area.  

What if there is a risk that lightning could strike at your site?

In such a situation, the first thing you need to do is put down any load and shut down the crane. Next, communicate the danger with everyone at the construction site and make sure that everyone leaves the area and immediately heads to a nearby shelter for cover. The shelter should be a fully enclosed building with plumbing and electrical wiring. If a safe building is not accessible, use hard-topped metal vehicles for cover instead.

Wait for at least thirty minutes after hearing the last sounds of thunder. After the recommended 30 minutes have passed, return to the site and inspect each piece of equipment thoroughly before resuming work.

That’s it from us for today; we hope you found the read helpful.

Stay safe and keep lifting.

Crane Warning Systems Atlanta is your one-stop-shop for crane safety instrumentation products. We specialize in crane anemometer, rated capacity indicators, anti-two block warning indicators, and wind speed indicators. Visit our online store to learn more about our crane safety systems product range.  

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