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Last edited 21 Apr 2017
Cranes are a very common feature on construction projects. All lifting operations should be planned carefully so they are carried out safely having assessed all the risks, and there are a number of regulations and safety guidelines that must be adhered to.
The two principal hazards associated with cranes are the collapse of the crane and loads falling from height, both of which present significant potential for injury, fatalities and damage, both on and off-site.
In April 2013, following a public consultation, the Notification of Conventional Tower Crane Regulations 2010 were revoked, meaning that there is now no longer a duty to notify tower cranes on construction sites to the HSE.
Nonetheless, it is still a legal requirement that all operations involving lifting equipment must be properly planned by a competent person, appropriately supervised, and carried out in a safe manner. Crane operators, and those directing lifting operations, must be trained and competent. Cranes must be of adequate strength, tested at prescribed intervals, and subject to the required examinations and inspections as laid out in BS 7121:1:2006 Code of practice for safe use of cranes.
Under the terms of a standard CPA crane hire contract, the client hires the crane and operator. The client takes full responsibility for the execution of the lifting operation as well as the crane once it is brought onto the site. The client must have an Appointed Person who is made responsible for the lift and provide adequate insurance cover. If the client doesn’t have the necessary insurances, the company usually increases the hire charge.
Clients who are inexperienced in hiring cranes and so do not have the necessary competencies for safe planning and use are able to make use of a CPA Contract Lift service. This means that the crane owner provides insurance cover and retains responsibility for the crane and other equipment, the operator and all other personnel supplied with the crane, as well as all aspects of the lift plan and execution.
It is important to note that a Contract Lift is only valid when the crane owner supplies the Appointed Person to supervise. The client retains certain liabilities and should hold insurance to protect against such things as their own negligence, poor ground conditions, or the supply of incorrect information regarding the lift.
According to LOLER, appropriate devices should be made available to detect dangerous situations and allow for effective mitigation in conditions of high wind that may threaten a crane and/or its load. The information regarding the maximum wind speed in which the crane can be safely operated should be known and made available.
It is also important that cranes are made safe during out-of-service periods. Foreseeable wind speeds should be analysed from historical data and local wind studies. This will influence the height as well as the size of the foundations, ballast and jib counterweights used.
 Find out more
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki
- Avoiding crane collapses.
- Cherry pickers.
- Construction plant.
- Construction tools.
- Crane supports.
- Equipment in buildings.
- Health and Safety.
- Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations (LOLER).
- Temporary works.
- Types of crane.
- Work at height regulations.
 External references
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