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Operating a mobile crane in high winds

With Autumn now here the wind is getting stronger, which has a knock-on effect on crane operations and, therefore, build schedules. It is, therefore, important to understand the limits when a crane is required.


Operators will always err on the side of caution in high winds, as they pose an extreme hazard to crane operation. Details of the legal limits are published in BS7121-1:2016, the British code of practice for safe use of cranes, which gives all standards that must be met for carrying out crane lifting operations in the UK.


The safe wind speed for lifting will be stated in the crane manufacturer's operator manual and are likely to vary depending on the type of crane and the weight. However, as a general rule, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) advises against operating cranes in winds greater than 25 mph (40.23 km/h) 11.18 meters per second - with gusts not exceeding 35 mph (56.32 km/h).


Environmental factors such as wind direction, crane stability, the weight of the cargo being lifted, and crane placement must also be taken into account.


In order to accurately analyse the wind conditions at the crane operation location, wind speed and direction measurements at several heights may be required. The other factor to be taken into account is the vortex effect that can be caused by tall buildings, in which wind speeds rise with height, as this may lead a crane to topple over. The risk increases when the boom is extended because the crane's centre of gravity becomes less stable. Being aware of potential dangers will allow the operator to take precautions such as altering the angle of the boom or shutting down the crane if necessary.


Handheld or tripod-mounted anemometers can be used to measure the wind speed on site and some cranes are fitted with anemometers that measure wind speed and direction near the boom's tip. These reading will allow the crane operator to decide when it is safe to operate the crane.


Carter Plant Hire operates all year round and there are very few things that stop us working – if in doubt, give us a call – we are always happy to offer advice.


If you would like to get further details on any of the services offered by Carter Plant Hire, please contact us or telephone 01395 446 446.


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