No matter what capabilities used crane trucks may have, they are only as useful as the operators trained to handle them and the lift planners trained to set up them up. Poor planning by either of these workers can negate any design or safety features, making a job unsafe or inefficient to perform. For these reasons, the purchase or rental of any type of crane truck should be done based on the work that will be done to ensure the correct use of the truck, efficient use of resources, and safe handling by all worker.

Assess the Lift Job

There is more involved in a successful crane lift than simply operating the machine to raise large and heavy objects. Before attempting any lift with a new or used crane truck, equipment operators must assess the job to be done and determine how to choreograph the pick so it can be done safely, without accidents or damage to people or equipment. Following are some steps that should be followed in this assessment:

  • What is Being Lifted – It is essential to know what is being raised, the weight per unit, and how many units are to be lifted. The way in which material is bound or put on a pallet is very important to planning a lift. All pallets, straps, etc. are included in the total weight as well as any weight and lift-bearing limitations. Knowing how the load is prepared for the lift allows planners to account for load shifting, too.

  • What is the Lift Site Environment – The lift site must be assessed, including the surface type, angles, ground, and aerial clearance as well as if there are any obstacles such as wires, trees, or buildings to consider. Weather conditions at the job site are important, especially if wind is predicted.

  • What Are the Job Details – Additional critical information required to assess the lift are certain details: movement will be from where to where; will load be dropped on a roof, truck or ship; is lifting distance beyond the boom length; will the crane be rotated to handle the lift and if so, how much? It may seem like overkill, yet even a slight miscalculation of angle or turn can create unnecessary problems.

Match the Crane to the Job

Once all of the above information has been gathered, the lift supervisor must decide which crane truck, based on its limitations, can handle the job. Differences such as vehicle weight and size, size and strength of outriggers, boom type and limitations, etc. will dictate whether or not a particular crane is a good choice. Only certain new or used crane trucks can accommodate the job if the load must be driven any distance or if there is a need to maneuver the crane or rotate it for proper load placement.

Most importantly, a lift should only be attempted with new or used crane trucks that are known to have the features necessary to safely and properly complete the job. Using any other equipment could be highly dangerous. If the proper crane is not available, consider a rental or distribute the load differently so that available units can safely do the job.

Although it may seem that lifting a heavy load with a new or used crane truck should not be that difficult, there is no room for error in this work. Taking the time to plan, test, and double-check lifts provides the necessary respect for equipment, employees, and the laws of physics and gravity!

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