Handling Cranes in Windy Cities

Chicago has been getting some attention for their cranes in recent months.

Chicago now has the highest number of cranes it has had in eight years.

The cranes scattered around downtown Chicago are hard to miss. Thirty-three cranes are busy putting up high-rise buildings and others are waiting for permits to get started on certain jobs. With Chicago commonly being referred to as the windy city, we thought it would be worth mentioning some crane operating safety tips when facing windy conditions.Handling Cranes in Windy Conditions Draft

Cranes are intended to work at extreme heights but with those extreme heights comes frequent winds and strong winds.

Unfortunately, 23 percent of crane accidents are due to windy conditions. It is vital be aware of winds effect on crane operations.

Cranes all have a maximum wind speed in which they are believed to operate safely within and operators should be aware of what that speed is for the crane they are using. Cranes all have different maximum wind speeds depending on size, model, etc.

If wind speed goes above the maximum speed listed for that particular crane, the operator should stop the crane.

If high winds are being forecasted, operators should have anemometers (wind speed meters) to determine the speed of the wind. They should be frequently checking to see if wind is reaching a dangerous speed. Tower cranes can be fitted with anemometers that the operator can see clearly while operating.

At first indication of high winds, the crane should be stopped before the wind speed has a chance to increase.

If you are operating a crane in relatively high winds and you start to feel uneasy, do not continue to operate the crane. High winds can range from 15mph to above, depending on what job the crane is doing. If you feel that the job has become dangerous, it likely has.

Severe winds can swing crane loads out of balance, causing the crane to become unstable.

When scheduling jobs, you should account for possible lost time due to high winds or other severe weather.

For more crane news and advice, visit Astro Crane’s blog.