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Tips for Operating Cranes in Cold Weather

The Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI) report found that a total of 220 crane-related deaths occurred between 2011 and 2015, which is an average of 44 per year. This number is grave, but it doesn’t even account for crane-related injuries sustained by workers.

Cranes are expensive, intricate pieces of equipment that are not easy to operate in normal conditions, let alone in cold weather. The number of hazards associated with crane operations increases exponentially in snowy/icy conditions.

Therefore, it’s extremely important to ensure the safety of workers, machinery, and other people present at the construction site. Here are a few tips to safely operate cranes when temperatures drop:

Remain Alert

It’s critical to remain attentive to your surroundings when operating a crane in the winter. In cold weather, snow can cover debris or slopes, which can increase the risk of slip and fall injuries.

Before boarding the crane, observe the surface of the crane and be mindful of ice and snow to avoid getting hurt.  

Three points of safety

It’s vital to maintain three points of contact when mounting or dismounting the crane. This means you should always use two hands and one foot, or both feet and one hand to support your body. This is especially relevant during cold conditions, as moisture can make the handles and ground very slippery.

Check the Load Chart

Every crane comes with a load chart that specifies its operational capacity. This can be invaluable, especially during winters, as machines can start to malfunction due to cold temperatures. You can check the load chart to make sure that the crane is not being overloaded and unsafe to operate.

Keep the machine covered

A simple yet highly effective way to ensure the crane’s safety is to keep it covered with a water-resistant material when it’s not in use. This will prevent ice and snow from corroding the machinery, keeping it safe and protected. It also prevents dust from accumulating on the machine.  


Allow adequate time—a minimum of ten minutes—for the crane to warm up before operating any other functions. Warming up the machine prior to beginning work will get the engine ready and substantially reduce the chances of malfunctioning.

Keep the Jobsite Clean

Debris on the jobsite, coupled with overnight snow, can create hazardous conditions which can lead to accidents. Any sensitive areas should be marked with reflective stakes.

Keeping these tips in mind will help you to ensure safety when operating a crane in cold weather. Crane Warning Systems Atlanta has been in the crane safety industry for nearly two decades as a distributor for RaycoWylie crane safety equipment.

From crane LMI system to ATB warning systems, we have an extensive range of cost-effective, user-friendly and top-quality Crane Indicator System to ensure safety when operating crane in winter conditions.

Protect your people and equipment and comply with OSHA regulations by using our equipment. To find out more, give us a call at 1-877-672-2951.



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