Part 1: Mobile Crane Stability – Tipping Incidents & Accidents

Of all crane-related accidents, tipping accidents are the most common. Crane operators who fail to follow the manufacturer’s guidelines regarding crane ratings are sure to suffer a tipping incident sooner or later. Possibly you have experienced a tipping incident where you felt the crane come up behind you (such as the feeling in the seat of the pants). Maybe you have had someone tell you that you had lifted one or more of the outriggers behind the crane or maybe you have been less fortunate, and your crane has turned over, changing the incident into an accident. In each of these cases, a loss of crane stability has come into play.

Tip over lifting a light stand

Although most tipping accidents occur in the direction of the load, cranes can turnover in any direction if they lose stability.

The easiest way to prevent a tipping accident is to never lift more load than what’s stated on the load chart and make sure your crane is set up properly. But, people do make mistakes.

A good backup method of operating is to always try to position the crane to make the initial lift with the crane in the least stable direction and then swing to a more stable direction. This will prevent you from accidentally overloading the crane as you continue to lift. In other words, if you miscalculate the load weight you will find out right away and before the load gets into a dangerous position that causes you to tip.

Over the next 5 posts, we will be looking at mobile crane stability–how balance and leverage work with crane stability ratings and the position of the crane come together to create a more (or less) stable crane.

We hope you are looking forward to learning more!

(Article originally published Sept 23, 2015, updated 2017)

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