With expected high temperatures of up to 20˚c this week and summer just around the corner, it’s time to recap the most important tips on crane safety in summer. Despite the warmer weather, rain and wind can still affect crane safety so you may want to check out our other blog on ‘Crane Safety During Winter’ which covers both elements.
How the Heat Affects Crane Safety
Crane safety is mainly affected by one of two things: improper crane maintenance and the crane operator/supervisor. This is why both the crane and workers should be in their best condition.
You should first consider if the weather is safe to work in and pay attention to the weather forecast. In the UK the heat can affect workers more noticeably as hot weather is so rare. Some of the biggest dangers to look out for in your workers are dehydration, sunburn, and hyperthermia. These can be avoided by following the tips below.
- Wear light, breathable clothing that still covers the arms and legs
- Reapply sunscreen frequently
- Wear sunglasses
- Keep all regular PPE on even if you are too warm. You should stop working and find somewhere safe to cool down before removing your PPE.
- Have a shaded area set up with clean water freely available
- Aircon or fans set up where possible
- Ensure workers are taking regular breaks
- Look out for heat stroke symptoms in yourself and colleagues
- Make sure everyone on site is aware of the potential dangers of working in high temperatures
For more information on keeping your workers safe in high temperatures follow government guidance here.
Crane Maintenance in Summer
With over 25 years of experience in lifting solutions, we see the demand for cranes increase as soon as the days get lighter, and the temperature gets higher. Summer is the busiest time for any company in the construction industry as the drier season and longer days mean that much more can get done. However, it is important to keep on top of all your crane maintenance no matter how busy you are. A busier crane means more inspections are needed.
See what essential things you need to be doing for the best crane safety in summer:
Inspect Your Crane Daily
While you should be doing this anyway, you should pay special attention to issues caused by extreme heat. This can be simple observational checks throughout the day with a more thorough pre-use check.
The person checking the crane should be competent with the knowledge needed to identify where there may be an issue with the machine. This person should know how to use the crane as well as how to correctly complete the pre-use checklist. Should any issues be spotted, they should report this to their superior and make sure it is clear the machinery should not be used until it has been assessed.
When hiring a crane through GGR Group we have qualified inspectors that will be able to identify any issues and have them fixed so you can continue with your project.
Crane safety in summer means covering up your plant machinery. This applies in all types of weather including snow and sun. Keeping the crane covered prevents any direct contact with the sun meaning the crane is less likely to overheat. As well as keeping the crane’s temperature low it stops sun damage that may accumulate over time.
To cover your crane you may store it under a shelter, inside, or under a cover. You should ideally use a light-coloured, water and fireproof tarpaulin for a cover. Dark colours heat up quicker in the sun so black should be avoided. Having a waterproof cover also means you can still use it during the winter months.
If heat is still a struggle it could be worth choosing a crane that has air conditioning so the cab can remain cool. Many of GGR Group’s cranes come with built-in aircon such as the MCC505.
Maintenance in Extreme Heat
It is important to keep on top of any maintenance when temperatures soar. Extreme weathers typically progress underlying and ongoing issues with machinery so you should address any when you spot them.
Engines produce their own heat in normal day-to-day use which is why high outside temperatures are such an issue. If the heat cannot escape, the engine is likely to fail. This can cause serious damage and can potentially be irreparable.
Making sure your engine is able to stay cool enough to run is highly important to the safety and continuity of a job. You can prevent your engine from overheating by avoiding using the crane in the hottest part of the day and keeping the crane in shaded areas. A heat shield can also be used to cover the outside of the engine to deflect the heat away. They can also be used over the windows of a crane to prevent the cab from becoming too warm.
Seals are integral parts of a crane. As the name suggests they seal the crane against things such as the elements and dirt. If left exposed to high heat your seals can lose their elasticity meaning different parts of the crane will be exposed to water, dust, ice, more heat, etc. The seals also prevent leakages of things such as oil, coolant, and fuel. If these escape it can cause a lot of issues.
These seals are used throughout the crane on things such as the engine, doors, brakes, transmission, etc. If the seals are compromised, it can cause a range of issues throughout the crane and if ignored could become dangerous.
When exposed to excessive heat wire ropes can begin to break down making them brittle and frayed. The fraying of the rope can become an issue as it will be weaker and can potentially become tangled in other parts of the crane. The frayed edges can also be dangerous if someone was to come in contact with the rope, making it more likely the person could cut themselves on the sharp frayed fibres.
If you notice any changes in the wire ropes, you should inform the correct people.
Even machinery that is being used on a construction site needs regular cleaning. Cleaning is not just for aesthetic purposes and is an important part of crane maintenance. This is especially true during summer as the drier weather means there is more dust and dirt which won’t be washed away by the rain.
If your crane is covered in dirt then it may be harder to spot damage to the paintwork or small crane parts. A build-up of dirt can also block the mechanics of the crane and potentially cause permanent issues. If your crane has windows, it is also highly necessary to keep on top of cleaning as any impact on your vision out of the cab is dangerous and also makes the job more difficult if you’re struggling to see.
When hiring a crane from GGR Group you will receive it cleaned by us and ready to use. As part of hiring our cranes we will also check all the parts are working correctly so you will be unlikely to have any issues using it in warm weather.
When you are wondering how to achieve the best crane safety in summer you should contact us for advice. We have experts that can direct you on how to keep your cranes cool and what cranes may be best for you. To speak to a trained member of staff or to receive advice you can contact us by phone or email us here.