Lift Planning

Previous articles in this space have covered both critical and non-critical lifts. Now that we know the difference between the two, how should we proceed with the lift? The answer lies in the fact that all lifts must be carefully planned to insure safety and reduce risk. The extent of the plan is determined by the criticality.

Why Plan?
We plan because we want to make a fool-proof, incident-free, safe, and successful lift. With critical lifts, carefully preparing a comprehensive lift plan is the only way to accomplish this. Creating a critical lift plan forces the rigging team to list the things that should be avoided or prevented and to choose the best and most practicable methods to perform the lift.

Who Should Prepare the Plan?
The critical lift plan must be authored by a qualified person. A qualified person is defined by OSHA as an individual who,

“by possession of a recognized degree, certificate, or professional standing, or who by extensive knowledge, training, and experience, has successfully demonstrated the ability to solve or resolve problems relating to” hoisting and rigging.

The Plan
The plan is a written document that specifies the requirements and resources necessary to safely and efficiently carry-out the lifting of the load. At a minimum the content of the plan should include:

  • The exact size and weight of the load to be lifted. The weight of any hoisting components must also be taken in to account. If not readily apparent, the location of the center of gravity should be established and documented
  • The crane load chart maximum load limits must be specified
  • For the entire range of the lift, the lift geometry must be known. This consists of the crane's position, the load radius, and the boom length and angle
  • Each hoist team member and their qualifications must be designated. Members should include the Lift Supervisor, Crane Operator, Signalman, and Rigger.
  • A rigging plan that details the hoisting hardware required, the exact pick points, and any special procedures involved
  • An evaluation of the earth founding the crane and outriggers, and if necessary, the configuration of mats or other means to provide sufficient bearing capacity
  • If applicable, the characteristics of barges, platforms or other operating foundations for water based lifts, and their potential for listing
  • A description of all weather conditions that would curtail the hoisting project

Reviewing The Plan
Once prepared, and before the lift, the plan should be reviewed by the entire rigging team: The plan's author, the lift supervisor, the crane operator, and all rigging personnel.

A Plan For The Future
The American Society of Mechanical Engineers is developing a document the will focus on load handling equipment involved in three types of lifts: (1) repetitive, (2) standard, and (3) critical. It will give examples of situations that might cause a critical lift plan to be written, and who might be involved in the planning process. The anticipated publication of the document which is designated as ASME P30 and is entitled “Planning for the Use of Cranes, Derricks, Hoists, Cableways, Aerial Devices, and Lifting Accessories, is expected during 2013.