Every crane will be designed with a maximum wind speed for safe operation. In this article we discuss the important issue of how to manage crane use in high wind environments with a special emphasis on crane safety.

Don’t take risks with Crane Safety

First and foremost it’s always important to emphasise safety. This is of paramount importance and the health and safety of workers and the general public is of ultimate priority.

Never take risks with cranes in high winds, if in doubt it’s safer to stop using the crane than to take risks. Every crane will have a recommended maximum wind speed for use in operation and this must be complied with at all times. If wind speed in excess of the manufacturer recommendation is experienced then the crane MUST be taken out of service until wind speeds reduce sufficiently.

The Beaufort wind force Scale

Wind speeds are measured by the Beaufort Scale. This scale measures the force of wind and is an ally to crane operators in assessing the risk of operating a crane in high wind circumstances.

crane safetyThe Beaufort wind force scale

As a general rule of thumb, the following are the MAXIMUM wind speeds which should be operated to, always though refer to the manufacturer’s handbook for specific recommendations:

  • Mobile Cranes - Beaufort Scale 5, a fresh breeze of about 22MPH
  • Crawler Cranes – Beaufort Scale 6, a strong breeze of about 31MPH
  • Tower Cranes – Beaufort Scale 8, gale force winds of about 45MPH

Be careful with configurations and Crane Safety

The configuration of a crane will affect its maximum wind speed. Certain configurations are more vulnerable to wind and the crane operator needs to be aware of this when making decisions about whether a crane is safe to use or not. Once again, refer to the manufacturer’s handbook if in doubt.

crane safety

Care is always required with cranes in high wind environments

 Allow for project time delays

Often crane operators are tempted to use a crane in dangerous high wind circumstances to keep the “project on track”. Whilst tempting it is not worth the risk and the project will be massively delayed if the worst happens when using cranes in high winds. A best practice technique is to factor in a degree of lost time based on the risk factors when forecasting a project, particularly in areas of high exposure to wind.

 Advice from Cranes Direct

Trust Cranes Direct as your “one stop shop” for all you will need to know about the day to day management of cranes, including their operation in high winds. Contact us on 01384 76961 to discuss your particular circumstances.



Image Credits: Sarah Wiseman and Paul Keddie-Johnson

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