The Need to Know: Operating Tower Cranes in Challenging Weather


Let’s be honest, operating a tower crane in the finest of weather conditions can be a challenge.  So, it’s only understandable how difficult of a task it can be, when you have to operate a tower crane in extreme weather conditions.


Sure, you can always delay the lift and wait for the weather to get better, but when you consider the financial side of the things and how a delay can significantly increase project costs, the idea may not sound viable.


As such, your only option, well at least in most of the cases, is to go ahead with the pre-agreed plan and execute the lift.


Should you find yourself in such a situation, the below pointers will help you operate a tower crane safely in extreme weather.


Operating a Tower Crane in Windy Weather Conditions

All cranes have a manufacturer-specified maximum wind speed under which they are considered safe to operate. Generally speaking, the maximum wind speed for most cranes is rated at 20 miles per hour.


Before commencing the lift, always check the wind conditions using a crane wind speed indicator. If the wind speed is greater than the designated maximum wind speed for the crane system, try delaying the lift. If not possible, make adjustments to the lift, such as changing the lifting path in the opposite direction to which the wind is blowing, to minimize wind effects. Decreasing the lift height may also help cope with the windy conditions better.


Operating a Tower Crane in Cold Weather Conditions


Like wind, temperature also affects the operation of your crane.

Cold temperatures, like zero or subzero temperatures, tend to negatively impact the performance of a crane system components, in particular the performance of its hoist, rigging device and hydraulics.


Much of this impact is translated as reduced load capacity for the crane.

If you’re performing a lift at zero degree Celsius or at temperatures slightly lower than that, reduce the load capacity by 25 percent. If the lift is being performed in extremely cold weather, such as at temperatures between the range of minus 20 to 40 degrees Celsius, reduce the load capacity by 40 percent.


For operating temperatures below 40 degrees Celsius, all lifts should be postponed.

Do you have any other questions about operating tower cranes in challenging weather conditions? Drop them in the comment section below; we’ll try our best to answer them.


For further reading:Common Causes of Crane Accidents

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