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What Is a Critical Lift?

What Is a Critical Lift?

To prevent danger, minimize risk, and protect workers from hazard, crews must complete a series of preemptive tasks to secure their job site, equipment, and lift plan. However, if a lift meets certain criteria that require extra caution, operators or site supervisors may label it as “critical” and further extend the preparation process. 

Declaring a Critical Lift 

A critical lift, according to OSHA, “exceeds 75 percent of the rated capacity of the crane or derrick,” or “requires the use of more than one crane or derrick.” However, other organizations, like NIOSH, suggest that a lift may be critical when “the weight of the hoisted load approaches the crane’s maximum capacity (70% to 90%),” or when “nonstandard or specially modified crane configurations” are in use. Other characteristics generally used to determine critical loads include the potential to: 

  • cause serious injury to any crewmember 
  • delay the schedule of operations  
  • compromise the safety of the facility or job site 
  • spread or create significant levels of hazardous substances 

Planning a Critical Lift 

Site managers and personnel in charge of the lift are the only ones with the authority to label it as “critical.” Likewise, it’s also their responsibility to help design a critical lift plan. Because critical lifts present greater risk than regular lifts, equipment inspections, staff training, and critical lift plans must be increasingly comprehensive. The critical lift plan is comprised of information including: 

  • Load size, weight, and radius 
  • Necessary equipment 
  • Configuration of cranes and/or booms 
  • Boom size, length, and angle  
  • Crane capacity and type 

Testing a Critical Lift 

Before making a critical lift, the members involved in the upcoming project, including the supervisor and crane operator, should meet to review the critical lift plan. If possible, the meeting members should conduct a practice lift using the designated equipment to correct any errors or shortcomings in the lift plan and minimize room for error. 

If your crew is preparing for a critical lift, plan with Florida Wire & Rigging. We can provide custom equipment to fit your critical lift plan and inspect your cranes, slings, and other tools to secure your crew every step of the way. For more information on our list of products and services, call us today at 800-432-2269. 

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