How Does Load Testing a Crane Work and Why is it Important?
Cranes are notoriously complicated pieces of machinery, requiring specialist knowledge to operate and maintain. With different types of machinery required for small or large-scale construction jobs, dockside loading, and much more, load testing is a process used to ensure a crane is best suited to the task you are undertaking. Prioritising employee safety, preventing damage to equipment, and ensuring your organisation is compliant with workplace legislation, there are plenty of reasons to explore this process.
Within this comprehensive guide, let Crane and Lifting Services take you through the process of load testing, the various benefits of completing these trial lifts, alongside contextual examples in which load testing may be not only advised, but required. Read on for performance testing advice from your local experts.
What Is Load Testing?
Load testing is advisable in all situations which concern the lifting of heavy objects via a newly installed or recently built lifting device. Employers should ensure that lifting equipment is thoroughly examined at least once or twice a year even if they don’t suspect their crane to be dysfunctional. Load tests are performed in order to verify that specific lifting devices can perform desired functions while holding a test load which is at least equal to the equipment’s suggested capacity. A test load should be at least 100% and no more than 125% of the equipment’s rated capacity unless otherwise recommended by the manufacturer. Weight should be confirmed prior to testing, while All findings related to the advisable capacity and circumstances of the test should be kept on file for the lifetime of the equipment.
Procedures carried out during load testing may include hoisting and lowering, trolley travel, bridge travel, limit switches, as well as locking and inspection of safety devices. All of these processes are useful when observing the state of a crane, with some organisations even requiring the approval of technical personnel before granting use on-site. Standard overhead cranes, hoists and even jib cranes may benefit from thorough stress testing before use, while Crane and Lifting Services can thoroughly inspect and approve your crane solution, trusted as one of the largest independent crane companies with over 100 years of experience.
Accident reduction on construction sites is undoubtedly an important area of focus, and by verifying the design of lifting equipment before putting it to use in a practical context, uneven loads, faulty functions and hazardous happenings can be avoided before they even get the chance to occur. Accidents within the construction industry are potentially serious when they do occur, with all manner of complex machinery, heavy objects and dangerous appliances interacted with on a daily basis by professionals.
Even comprehensive training can’t prepare employees for the unpredictability of man-made machinery, so testing is undoubtedly beneficial. From 2011 to 2017, the US Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries reported an average of 42 fatal crane-related incidents per-year over the 7-year period - a shocking statistic considering the widespread use of lifting appliances worldwide. In many crucial British industries, cranes find prominent use, with the manufacturing, aviation and shipbuilding professions just a few to name which require load testing services.
Safely Using A Crane
Alongside initial load testing, there are many other procedures, practical actions and training tips to explore, reducing accidents for not only employees, but also members of the public. Accounting for the processes of crane travel, rigging, and lifting, hazards are present within each stage of use, so browse below for assorted guidance:
Work With Qualified Personnel
Not everyone is appropriately qualified to work with a heavy duty crane, and safely using lifting equipment requires detailed training, a good understanding of the machinery’s operational requirements, as well as extensive team planning. Not only will employing trained personnel improve the likelihood of a satisfactory project, but ensuring all relevant individuals have their overhead crane licences will maintain compliance with legislation such as PUWER (Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations) and LOLER (Lifting Operation and Lifting Equipment Regulations).
Daily checks will allow you to identify potential issues before they worsen, with re-start checks, engine checks and safety system checks all crucial to conduct on a regular basis for any cautious crane operator. Considerations may include but are not limited to:
● Tire condition
● Oil levels
● Seat belt condition
● Air reservoir checks
● Battery inspection
● Fuel levels,
● Turn signals
Safe Working Conditions
Not only should the crane itself be inspected and confirmed as safe, but the working environment and conditions should be assessed for hazards on a regular basis. Prior to any crane movement, it is essential for a clear path to be established, with obstacles cleared and permanent obstructions avoided. Whether dealing with a power line, or existing structure located on the ground, you should plan in advance to avoid them. Teamwork here is essential, as a signal person should always lead the crane during travel, alerting the operator to potential hazards.
Other Helpful Services
If you’re looking to impress a client, set a precedent for safe operations on-site, or improve a particular procedure, we maintain comprehensive personalised services to keep your site hazard-free. Here are just several of the additional maintenance and training tasks which we can undertake for you:
We provide overhead gantry courses to upskill your employees, with approved gantry crane licences attained following completion. Trainees will experience practical situations during training, and further their knowledge of the legal requirements governing the crane and lifting industry. Recipients of this training will eventually be able to carry out pre-use checks for safe equipment use, and understand the importance of sling angles and safe working loads.
Offering a large selection of safety systems including harness anchor points and falling arrest systems, we will assist you in complying with existing legislation and prioritising the safety of your workforce. We provide Sala Protecta products to ensure that your business complies with all regulations, while our employees are Capital Safety trained and are competent in ES11 - Installer safety and system design, ES12 – roofsafe/ spiratech and ES13 – uni-8 multisafe, uni-8 overhead.
We’re proud to utilise the latest available technologies during crane inspection and maintenance, with industry changes being constantly monitored and best practice always employed. Whether you would benefit from professional assistance for a dockside crane, or routine repairs and inspection for a heavy duty crane. We can install, maintain and repair any model. Friendly crane engineers will assist with anything you require, be that acquiring crane components, or providing bespoke situational technical advice.
Stress Testing, Performance Testing And Other Assistance From Crane And Lifting Services
At Crane and Lifting Services, we provide plenty besides load testing and maintenance, with hoist repairs, ladder systems and fall arrest systems available around The United KIngdom. Sustaining a high level of service, reliable professionals available around the clock, and a diverse selection of cranes for use commercially and domestically, wherever you’re based, we can fulfil your requirements.
We supply hoists from weights of 250kg, all the way up to 5,000kg. and with more engineers employed than many of our competitors, rely on us for guidance from specialists whenever you need it. To make sure that we can provide our services in all situations, we stock a broad variety of crane parts for a range of brands.These include Abus, Craven, Demag, Granada and John Smith to name just a handful. Any questions? Contact us today.