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Crane Operation – What Are The Hazards?

Cranes enable efficient and accurate lifting across many construction projects. However, using them comes with a list of hazards that are essential to consider before you start to lift.

This blog explores the hazards associated with crane lifts, what could happen if things go wrong, and how to avoid them.

What is a hazard?

A situation, substance, or object that poses a potential threat to life, property, or the environment is a hazard. Thankfully, the risks associated with hazards aren’t guaranteed to become a reality if precautions are taken.

What hazards can occur whilst operating a crane?

The hazards associated with crane operation refer to any possible source of damage or harm that may occur while a crane is on site.

Crane operation – what are the hazards?

Falling loads

Loads falling can cause injury to personnel, damage to property, and potential death.

Constant crane use can lead to failure within the electrical components that maintain control. As such, loads may fall because the lifting mechanism is damaged.


Crane mishandling could lead to and collisions with property and other cranes, causing harm to personnel on site.

Crashes usually occur because of poor route planning, where crane positioning and rotation haven’t been adequately considered to avoid obstructions such as other heavy machinery.

Dangerous weather

Thunder and lightning, fog, torrential rain, and extreme heat make manoeuvring cranes treacherous and potentially life-threatening.

Poor visibility during storms and fog prevents the driver from seeing the signaller – the person responsible for directing the lift.

As a result, inaccurate loading can occur, potentially harming staff on site who can’t see the crane.

Incompetent operators & poor communication

Negligent and unqualified personnel are hazards to themselves and others.

Irresponsible staff can improperly load or overload beyond a crane’s lifting capacity, leading to crane malfunction when the hydraulic system fails under pressure.

Unqualified drivers may also be unfamiliar with the directions given by the signaller, leading to accidents and damage to property.

Overhead power lines

Cranes, when needed, can extend for a greater reach. However, there is the danger that cranes can disturb overhead powerlines, leading to the potential electrocution of the driver.

How to avoid hazards during a crane lift

How to avoid hazards during a crane lift

Knowing potential hazards on sites and how to avoid them is essential for keeping personnel and property safe.

Here are several ways that you can help to protect your team from the harmful effects of site hazards.

Hire experienced and trusted operators

If you plan on hiring an appointed person, ensure they are fully qualified to operate a crane.

As well as a standard driving licence, a competent crane driver should have both of the following:

  • A Class 2 LGV licence
  • CPCS Cards – evidence that the operator has passed the CPCS practical and theory tests

Professional operators will also ensure that personnel are equipped and wearing PPE, making them visible and protected on site.

Plan the lift thoroughly

Without a plan directing the set-up and movement of your crane, accidents are bound to happen.

If you opt for CPA Contract Lifting from a trusted, experienced crane hire firm, they will appoint qualified professionals to plan and carry out the lift, so you don’t need to worry.

Don’t lift during dangerous weather conditions

As obvious as it may seem, refrain from operating a crane during extreme weather.

Schedule construction around bad weather and always check the weather forecast before work begins.

Turn off power to overhead wires

If space is tight and hitting powerlines is probable, cut the power if possible. If not, be sure to take extra caution whilst navigating lifts.

Maintain cranes

Electronic component failures can be random, so cranes must be regularly serviced and maintained.

If you plan on hiring a crane, use a trusted company that maintains its machinery frequently.

Get in touch with Bryn Thomas Cranes

We are an experienced, specialist crane hire firm. If you’d like to know more about our crane hire services, contact us today.

We are always happy to share our knowledge and understanding, helping to find the best solution for your project. You can call our head office on 01352 733 984 or send an email to flint@brynthomascranes.com

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