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Thunderstorms and Lightning: Best Practices for Safe Crane Operation

Operating a crane on a construction site is already a complex and demanding task, but when thunderstorms and lightning strikes occur, the risks and complexities increase dramatically. In this blog post, we'll discuss the best practices for safe crane operation during thunderstorms and lightning, to help keep your workers safe, your crane undamaged, and your project on track.


Thunderstorm.
Cranes with Thunderstorm approaching

Preparation


Preparation is essential when it comes to crane operation during thunderstorms and lightning. All workers must be aware of the potential risks of working during a storm and must understand the safety procedures that need to be followed.


Best Practices for Safe Crane Operation:


  • Monitor the daily forecasts for thunderstorms and lightning, and pay attention to early signs such as high winds, dark clouds, rain, distant thunder or lightning.

  • If you hear thunder, lightning may be close enough to strike you. Stop any new task that you can't quickly stop and seek safety in a substantial building. If a substantial building is not available, a metal-topped vehicle with the windows up is the next best choice.

  • Assess the lightning threat and take appropriate action. Lightning can strike as far as 20 km from the storm cloud.

  • For mobile cranes, consider lowering the boom and reducing the boom height. Stay inside the crane, wind up or close any windows, and allow the front to pass. Ensure all personnel remain clear of the machine and its hooks. If a substantial building is available, move to this location if safe to do so.

  • For crawler cranes, stay inside the crane, wind up or close any windows, and allow the front to pass. Ensure all personnel remain clear of the machine and its hooks. If a substantial building is available, move to this location if safe to do so.

  • For tower cranes, stay inside the crane and allow the front to pass. Ensure all personnel remain clear of the machine and its hooks. The tower crane will be earthed for lightning protection.

  • If you see lightning, count the number of seconds until you hear thunder. Divide the number of seconds by 3 to get the distance the lightning is away from you.

  • As a general precaution, the crane should not resume work activities until 30 minutes after the last audible thunder or visible flash of lightning.

  • If the crane is struck by lightning, refer to the manufacturer's instructions for further guidance.


Thunderstorms are a common occurrence on construction sites, and they can pose a serious risk to the safety of crane operators and riggers. While there's no surefire way to completely eliminate the risk of lightning strikes, there are several precautions that can be taken to minimize the danger. One such measure is to use a lightning tracking app like My Lightning Tracker Pro, which is available on the App Store.


With this app, you can monitor lightning strikes in real-time all over the world, and receive notifications whenever strikes are detected in your area. You can also view a history of hotspots where lightning strikes occur most often and more detailed information about where the thunderstorm is occurring on a map. Moreover, the app can alert you when a storm is nearby so that you can monitor it live.



Conclusion:


In conclusion, the safety of crane operators and riggers during thunderstorms is a serious matter that should not be taken lightly. The use of a mobile app such as My Lightning Tracker Pro can be a valuable tool in monitoring lightning strikes and taking necessary precautions to protect personnel and equipment on the job site.


Remember, the most important thing you can do during a thunderstorm is to seek shelter in a substantial building, or if that is not possible, a metal-topped vehicle with the windows up.


Do not attempt to operate a crane during a thunderstorm unless it is absolutely necessary, and only resume crane work activities after 30 minutes from the last audible thunder or visible flash of lightning.


By taking the appropriate precautions and using modern tools like a reliable lightning tracking app, you can help ensure that you're prepared for any thunderstorm that comes your way, and keep everyone on the job site safe.


Contact McLeod today to learn more about safe crane operations.

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