10 Essential Tips for Operating Cranes

About to conduct your first lifting task or are looking for ways to complete your operations safely and efficiently? In this guide we’ve laid out 10 top tips for you to follow when operating cranes.


#1 Working load limit and safe working load

There’s an important distinction that you’ll need to remember between the various weights that your crane and lifting accessories can lift. One is the working load limit (WLL), the absolute maximum your crane can handle before it’ll break. The second is the safe working load (SWL), a limit well below the WLL, but the limit that you should be sticking to at all times.

This is to ensure that the life of your crane is prolonged for as long as possible, and to avoid any unnecessary accidents in the workplace.

#2 The ground you are operating your crane on

Depending on the crane that you are using, you’ll need to be careful how you operate it. If you are using something such as an aluminium gantry crane that is light and has wheels on the bottom, it could be dangerous using it on a loose surface such as gravel.

operating cranes

It’s important to not operate your crane on a surface like this!

Of course, if you are using a wall-mounted jib crane then you needn’t worry!

#3 Follow recommended guidelines


There are plenty of guidelines in place that you can follow to ensure you know exactly what you’re doing and ensure you stay safe. You can take our own advice and guidelines, or use government regulations such as the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998 (LOLER).


#4 Keep the area around your crane clear


Make sure the area around your crane is clear when conducting an operation. This will be subject to your crane too. For example, 360-degree slewing jib cranes can rotate full circle, so there is a much wider space to clear.


#5 Having a qualified or experienced person on-site during crane operations


It’s important to have a qualified or experienced person to both carry out the planning for a lifting operation and to be present when it is conducted. This is regardless of how small an operation you may deem it to be, so that any unexpected situations can be properly handled.

#6 Using the right crane accessories


Depending on which crane you purchase, it will be compatible with a number of different crane accessories capable of varying tasks and operations. It’s important that you choose the right one for the job; you can browse our available crane accessories here.

operating cranes

It’s important to use the right accessories for your crane, such as this lifting hoist


#7 Carrying out pre-operation crane inspections

It’s vital that you carry out regular checks and inspections on your crane to ensure that all operations run smoothly. We recommend an absolute maximum of checks every 12 months, but every 6 months is a better timeline to aim for. Alongside this, you should give it a quick once-over before each and every lifting operation. Should you need help with crane inspections, then we offer this as a service.


#8 Don’t rush your crane operation!

Don’t rush any lifting or lowering operation, no matter how quickly you need it finished! When working with heavy loads that may be at heights and subject to swinging, it’s important that you take your time and guarantee the safety of all those around you.


#9 Ensure that your load is properly centred

When attaching your load to a crane, you’ll need to ensure that the weight is centred in relation to your crane. This is done to prevent any unnecessary swinging.


#10 Be sure to store your crane in the correct environments

Your cranes need to be stored properly after an operation is complete to ensure that they continue to work smoothly for future operations. For example, you don’t want to store cranes in rooms where there may be corrosive elements or moisture around, as they will be subject to rust over time.

You’ll want to consider these factors when operating cranes too; if operating them outside in the rain a lot, they’ll be subject to the same rust. Cranes constructed from aluminium, such as our aluminium gantry cranes, have a much higher resistance to rust.


Looking for more tips or advice for operating cranes?

In the guide above we’ve covered pretty much everything that you need to know for operating cranes safely and efficiently. Following our 10 top tips above will ensure the prolonged working life of your crane and operations are completed in the best manor possible. However, if you have further questions or are looking for other ways to boost the success of your crane operations, then we would be more than happy to help. Simply get in contact with us here.



Image credit: delfi de la Rua and Les Chatfield

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