In the face of strong winds, tower cranes can easily become unstable and, in worst case scenarios, can collapse. Generally speaking, the maximum wind speed that tower cranes can tolerate before having to be taken out of service is approximately 45 miles per hour. Until then, the tower cranes can still be operated; however, you will need to take extra safety precautions. Here are 3 ways you can prepare the tower cranes under your management for strong winds.
Remove All Crane Hoists, Accessories, and Tools
Strong winds can easily blow crane accessories, hoists, and tools off of the actual structure. These falling hazards can cause major injuries to your employees and to innocent pedestrians that just happen to be near the cranes. Pay attention to the weather hazards, and make sure you uninstall hoists and other accessories from the cranes if you foresee strong winds in the future.
In addition, have a construction worker inspect the top work platform to make sure that no one has left any tools unattended. Small bolts, nuts and screws can become major hazards if they get swept up by the wind. They can easily cause major injuries if they fall onto pedestrians underneath and can even cause major damages if they happen to fall on top of vehicles or buildings nearby.
Release Parking Brakes
Make sure that the slew rings of the tower cranes do not fight against strong wind, as wind blowing against the jib of the cranes will impose loads on the cranes that they are not engineered to tolerate. As a result, the tower cranes will be more likely to collapse.
Instead, you want to allow the slew ring of the tower cranes to move freely in the wind. Make sure that the parking brakes are released at the end of the workday before turning off the power.
Park the Crane Perpendicular to the Wind
Not only should the parking brakes be released, but the tower cranes should also be parked perpendicular to the wind. This makes the tower cranes more aerodynamic so that the jib will turn with the direction of the wind easily. This way, strong winds will impose less strain on the overall crane structure.
If you expect strong winds in the future, make sure to prepare the tower cranes ahead of time. You should also keep track of the wind speeds in order to determine whether the tower cranes need to be dismantled before they become a major safety hazard to everyone in the surrounding area.