Domson Digest logo 3November 2015

When Do I Need a Critical Lift Plan?

This is one of the most frequent questions our lifting engineers are asked, and one that has no single definitive answer.

The why is simple – lift plans are used as a precautionary means of protecting your load, your people, and surrounding property during a lift. Lifting can be performed safely, but this very much depends on the unique characteristics of the lift and how it is planned out.

So, how do you know when a lift has the potential to be a risk?

There are a number of resources available which can help answer this question. Standards such as CSA Z150’s Safety Code on Mobile Cranes, and the new American standard ASME P30.1 are both helpful resources. Each standard has a list of best practices you can use to exercise due diligence in your lift planning.

Below are some common activities you can consider when deciding if a lift plan is necessary for whatever project you are working on. These recommendations are based on our own personal experience with critical lift planning in combination with the recommendations stated in applicable standards.

When assessing your lift, you will want to consider:

1)     When there are potential hazards to the work area

Is the soil/ground stable enough for the crane and the load? Can the outriggers be properly stabilized? Are there power lines or other structures obstructing the delivery? Can you obtain a minimum safe distance from potential obstacles? Is there an environmental impact if you strike any nearby pipelines, tanks, storage facilities, etc.?

2)     When there is a potential risk to people

This could relate to any potential hazard involving persons. Are personnel being lifted? Is the load being moved or suspended over areas of the general public? Is overhead protection needed to protect the public? Is there an environmental or chemical risk to the public if the load drops?

3)     When there is a risk inherent in the load itself

Can the load be potentially unstable due to dynamic forces? Does the shape, size, or weight of the load create a risk in some way? Does the nature of the load (i.e. is it flammable?) pose a risk?

4)     When the environment has an adverse effect on the lift

Is there an adverse risk of heavy wind, rain or snow? Can ambient temperature affect the load handling? Is this a daytime or nighttime lift? Is the lift being moved from one type of surface to another (i.e. water to land, land to water, water to water)?

5)     When load handling and rigging capacity are a concern

Is the load weight significant compared to the crane and rigging capacity? Is there a risk of dynamic loading? Is the load weight information accurate/reliable? Do you need multiple cranes to handle the load, and if so, how do you sequence the lift? Is the equipment properly certified and safe to use?

6)     When failure can have a financial impact

If the load fails, how will it affect your deadline? Is the load easily replaceable? What is the potential cost of accidentally damaging any nearby structures?

This is by no means an exhaustive list and you may need to consider other factors. If during your assessment you can identify any of these potential risks as being significant, then it may be prudent to plan for a critical lift.

When it comes to a standard lift plan, it’s likely your company has it’s own managers, operators, riggers, flaggers, and field personnel to safely plan the lift.

dofasco downcomer removalHowever, if during your assessment you determine your lift is a critical one, you may consider the need to bring on additional resources to tackle the unique challenges of your project. These additional resources may range from extra lift equipment and lift operators (i.e. multi-crane lifts) to engineering capability (i.e. geotechnical, marine engineers, structural, etc.) who can check things like load stability, soil stability, and potential environmental risks.

As specialists in lift engineering, Domson’s technical staff are well-equipped to help plan your lift so that everything goes smoothly. We’ve been planning lifts since our inception in 1998, and have participated in many challenging lift projects on job sites all around the GTA, and across Ontario. Please CLICK HERE to see a sampling of our projects.

Here are just some of the ways we give you peace of mind:

We provide a detailed lift plan

  • We provide you with a comprehensive, detailed drawing package which includes instruction on the proper equipment needed, lift sequencing, rigging, matting, planning and elevations to deliver the load.
  • We instruct you on the correct travel path of the load so as to ensure proper boom, load, rigging, and swing clearances during the erection and lifting phases.
  • If required, we will perform a pre-lift visit to ensure the set-up of the cranes and rigging is according to the lift plan.

We analyze your load

  • We help calculate the load’s center of gravity, and identify factors that can dangerously shift or alter the load while in transit.
  • We help determine the proper lift points, load attachments, or contact points to ensure they handle and maintain the load’s integrity.
  • We ensure the outrigger and crawler loads don’t exceed soil capacity.
  • We specify the crane location(s) and the initial position of the load.

We check your rigging setup

  • We make sure your rigging is suitable for the weight and geometry of the load, keeping in mind all dynamic effects, potential adverse weather, and center of gravity.
  • We can design custom rigging solutions.

We check your equipment setup

  • We double-check that you are using the proper equipment with the correct rigging configurations required to safely deliver the load.
  • We can ensure your equipment is properly inspected and structurally fit to do the work. Our in-house team of crane inspectors can assess the structural soundness of the crane.
  • We help you select the appropriate cranes based on capacities, accessibility, and availability.