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Call for lifting terminology consistency

Lifting terminology in the crane industry can be confusing. Some are clearly defined in Australian Standards with others derived from industry colloquialisms. The Crane Industry Council of Australia’s Technical Committee examines these variations in this issue’s CICA Tech Corner.

There are five common terms used in the crane industry related to preparing for and conducting a safe lift. These are:

  • Designed lift
  • Engineered lift
  • Lift study
  • Lift plan
  • Lift procedure

Some of the definitions of these terms are not clearly defined which can cause confusion on the scope, content, and application of these terms when planning a lifting task. Many projects interchange to each activity and that further adds to the confusion. Some of these terms are clearly defined in Australian Standards whereas others are derived from industry colloquialisms.

Designed Lifts

Designed lifts are defined in AS2550.1-2011, Section 1.4.4, Section 6.27 and Appendix D.

The following definition, scope, content and application of designed lifts are quoted from AS2550.1-2011

Designed lifts are extraordinary and temporary lifting operations requiring an assessment of the design of the crane, which may require a temporary re-classification or re-rating or a change in the intended use of the crane.

NOTE: The following are examples of designed lifts:

  • Some multiple crane lifts
  • Lifts where the center of gravity changes or is difficult to determine
  • Lifts for hazardous materials
  • Lifts where the load lifted exceeds the published rated capacity of the crane

The person developing the designed lift must be a competent person.  The competent person should define and record the reason for any detailed conditions associated with the review. A third party must review the design characteristics of the crane. The effect the operation has on the service life of the crane shall be considered.  All designed lifts must be recorded and retained in the crane service logbook for the service life of the crane.

The Australian Standard is clear that classifying a lift as a ‘designed lift’ is for extraordinary and temporary lifting operations.  Consider a design lift as a lift that is outside the manufacturer’s generic operation guides or supplied rated capacity charts and consultation with the manufacturer is recommended.  Something as seemingly simple as changing the angle on the boom support system may be possible but could require a designed lift if that angle is not defined by the manufacturer.

For designed lifts, CICA recommends that a professional engineer (refer to AS2550.5-2016 Section 1.4.6) be the competent person.

Engineered Lifts

Engineered lifts are not defined in AS2550.1 or AS2550.5, they are initiated because of the complexity of the lift or because a crane is operating near its lifting capacity. Different from a designed lift, an engineered lift doesn’t specify that a crane is working beyond the design capabilities.  Most often a lift is classified as an ‘engineered lift’ because an engineer is involved either with the initial design of the lift or as a 3rd party auditor of the lift plan.

A competent person should be an engineer who has experience in crane operations suited for the task.  This may be specific to concrete panel rotation, working on a barge or demolitions and deconstruction projects, as examples.

In today’s crane industry many lifts are performed without the need to be classified as an ‘engineered lift’ or a ‘designed lift’, but planning and preparation is required to complete the lift(s) safety.  A three step process should be followed, to – Study, Plan, Proceed.  The level of detail and formality of these three steps may depend on client requirements or the complexity of the lift(s), however, these three steps would always apply to designed lifts and engineered lifts.

Lift Study

Lift study is not clearly defined in the Australian Standards, Code of Practice or Guidances for cranes. A lift study, is a review of the feasibility of the lifting task by way of confirming the lifting gear arrangement, any necessary deductions, the crane rated capacities at pick up and place locations, and any other considerations that need to be considered.  The lift study outlines basic parameters before a more thorough lift plan begins.

Competent person required for conducting lift study is a person who has acquired through training, qualification, experience or a combination of these – the knowledge and skill enabling that person to correctly perform the required task. Depending on the complexity of the lift, list of competent persons includes:

  • Professional engineers (CPEng, RPEQ or equivalent) or
  • Manufacturer’s representative
  • Project engineer
  • Lift supervisor
  • Intermediate rigger or advanced rigger

Lift plan

Lift plan is not clearly defined in Australian Standards, Code of Practice or Guidances for cranes.

The lift plan is a written document and drawings that specify the requirements and resources necessary to safely and efficiently perform the lifting task. As a minimum requirement, the content of the plan should include:

  • The size and weight of the load to be lifted (including weight of any lifting accessories used for the lifting task).
  • Identifying the location of the centre of gravity.
  • Lift geometry for the entire lifting process, including the position of the crane, the load radius, the boom length and angle
  • Rated capacity of the crane for all the configurations of the crane during the entire lifting process.
  • Qualifications for crane crew members performing the lifting task.
  • A rigging plan that details the lifting gear and accessories required, the exact pick points, and any special procedures involved
  • An evaluation of the ground condition or the structure condition where the crane stands on, and if necessary, the configuration of mats or other means to provide sufficient bearing capacity
  • A description of all weather conditions that would affect the lifting task

The lift plan should be prepared by a competent person, and should be reviewed and signed by the plan’s author, the lift supervisor and the crane crew before performing the lifting task. A lift plan should be developed for all type of lifting tasks.

Competent person required for developing lift plan is a person who has acquired through training, qualification, experience or a combination of these, the knowledge and skill enabling that person to correctly perform the required task. Depending on the complexity of the lift, the list of competent persons includes:

  • Professional engineers (CPEng, RPEQ or equivalent) or
  • Manufacturer’s representative
  • Project engineer
  • Lift supervisor
  • Crane crew

Lift procedure

Lift procedure is defined in AS2550.5 Section 1.4.5 and Section 6.10, Mobile crane Code of Practice Section 9.5, and General Guidance for Cranes.

Lift procedure is a document with the requirements of the crane and equipment used with the lift, the method of lifting and personnel involved in the lift. 

Comprehensive documented lifting procedures are required in the following situations:

  • Tilt-up panel jobs
  • Multiple crane lifts, where more than one crane is used to lift a load at any one time
  • Lifting of workboxes with persons in the boxes
  • Installation of bridge beams during bridge installation work
  • Working near live overhead powerlines
  • Lifting large pressure vessels or tanks
  • The use of mobile cranes on barges
  • Erection of tower cranes, and
  • Heavy lifts where the load is 50t or more.

Documented lifting procedures for the lift types mentioned above should include the following:

  • Hazards and risk controls to be applied e.g. for electric lines
  • The type of crane or cranes to be used
  • Maximum load radius to be used for the cranes
  • Where spotter duties are required (e.g. for preventing collision or contact with powerlines), what the duty is and who is responsible for performing the duty
  • The loads to be lifted including the mass of the lifting equipment e.g. slings and spreader beams
  • Position of the load to be lifted and the final position to which it is to be lifted, where practicable (a diagram that shows a plan view of the site may assist)
  • Maximum wind speed where the load has a large surface area
  • Verification of the maximum allowable ground bearing pressure (this must be carried out for heavy lifts)
  • Allowance for any factors that may require de-rating of the crane (e.g. for multiple crane lifts, additional radius caused by tilting of tilt-up panels), and
  • Rigging requirements of the job
  • The slinging and lifting sequence
  • Where both the main and auxiliary hoists of a single mobile crane are to be used simultaneously to lift a load (e.g. for tilt-up concrete construction), a lift procedure shall be prepared. The lift procedure shall specify the maximum share of the load on both the main and the auxiliary hoist during the lift.

Where the crane lift is being carried out in connection with high risk construction work, the documented lifting procedure must also include the information required for a safe work method statement.

The lift procedure should be prepared by a competent person and should be reviewed and signed by the plan’s author and the crane crew before performing the lifting task.

Having a clear understanding of the terms associated with lifting, improves planning and on-site communication.  Clarity around definitions and requirements to plan the lift, assess the risks and control the risks will ensure you have done everything possible to achieve a safe lift.

The CICA Technical Corner is made possible in part by a contribution from IncoLink.  For access to safety resources, Australian Standards and Guidance notes go to the CICA website www.cica.com.au and become a CICA Member.

 

 

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