This is where we put any articles and written words that are related to anything hydraulic

Navis anemometer

Phoenix Fabricators and Erectors needed to cut a 100-foot water tank, add a 40-foot extension, then put the suspended piece back on. For a company with more than 30 years of experience in constructing, installing, renovating and rebuilding large above-ground water tanks across the US, the project should have been routine.

It was anything but. Call it a perfect storm combining hazards and challenges that most project engineers do their best to avoid. “We were limited by sight constraints,” says Kurt Fuller, Engineer of Record for Phoenix. “Our three large cranes had limited mobility and were set up on a very tight work site. On top of that, we were directly adjacent to a community high school.”

To read the full case study, click here.

For more information about the NAVIS Anemometer systems, click here.

Windy smartphone anemometer

Safety is paramount on any production set and in an industry where getting just the right shot can make all the difference, that safety is even more critical when people and equipment are being lifted high in the air.

To read the full case study, click here.

For more information about the NAVIS Anemometer systems, click here.

self erecting tower crane rental

It was a tall logistical order, but we came up with an integrated plan that included a 35 metre Potain HD40A Self-Erecting Tower Crane mounted on an engineered 20 foot stand set up over the sidewalk, allowing foot traffic to move freely underneath

To read the full case study, click here.

Crane safety rules

Amid recent news of a terrifying double crane collapse on August 3, which crushed multiple homes and shops in Holland, the importance of overhead crane safety continues to show that it cannot be stressed enough. Cranes and hoists are necessary in many construction applications, such as the building of the bridge in Holland where this recent collapse occurred. Equipment failure and improper use of cranes cause accidents, property damage, injuries and fatalities every year. Implementing overhead crane safety that recognizes hazards and adheres to simple inspection and safety guidelines can reduce the likelihood of these unfortunate events.

Hazards You Should Look Out For

  • Electrical Hazards. Coming into contact with energized power lines can be deadly; the rule of thumb is to assume all lines are live. Although it usually harms the person in direct contact with the crane, there is a risk of others being injured. Pre-job safety planning can be instrumental in preventing electrical dangers. Local safety regulations will outline a safe distance between operators and power lines. Marking off the safe distance with tape and signs can be helpful for providing a visual aid to the crane operator.
  • Overloading. Common sense says that a crane should never be overloaded past its rated weight capacity; otherwise, you risk collapse of the crane toppling over. However, it does often occurs when an experienced operator decides to trust their instinct on what sort of load their crane can bear, instead of following safety procedures. Using load-measuring systems and other technologies can help prevent overloading.
  • Side pull. Cranes and hoists are designed to lift straight up and straight down according to the Hoist Manufacturers Institute and the Crane Manufacturers Association of America. A side pull can cause the wire rope to come out of its groove and damage itself by scraping against the drum or remaining rope. It’s not unheard of for the rope to jump the drum itself, causing it to tangle around the shaft and put additional stress on the rope.
  • Falling materials. There’s always a risk of falling materials at any construction site. Mechanical failure, slippage, visual impairment, and incompetency on behalf of the crane operator are all potential causes. It’s important for workers to wear their hardhats and engage in personal safety measures; however, that is often not enough to prevent injury or fatality when a load is dropped.
  • Braking issues. A contributing factor to the hazard of falling materials is reliance on second braking. Primary and secondary brakes are required for all hoists, and electric hoists will have a drum brake or fail-safe disc brake. These are to ensure that the crane will continue to hold its load if the power suddenly goes out.

Secondary Brakes are not Foolproof

There are two main types of secondary brakes, mechanical load brakes and regenerative brakes. Mechanical load brakes are rarely used because they are expensive and generate a lot of heat. Regenerative brakes are more common, but they are not designed to hold the load in the result of a primary brake failure, instead they will lower the load at the standard operating speed.

Keep in mind that no matter what kind of secondary brake a crane or hoist is using, it is unsafe to walk beneath a load. Whether the load takes a controlled fall or just drops, the results for anyone underneath the load could easily be fatal. Proper overhead crane safety assumes that the crane operator is not relying on the assistance of secondary brakes.

Overhead Crane Safety Calls for Daily Inspections

A simple safety check requires the operator to use their eyes and ears and keep record of what they find. A visual survey can often confirm whether the:

  • Area is clear
  • Crane looks operational
  • Crane might be in need of repair

It’s also important to check to make sure that the end stops are in place and functioning. Crane operators should make sure that the hoist is working in all directions, and that the buttons’ directions match its movement. Safety circuits will be disabled and all of the directional buttons will be wrong if the power phases happen to be reversed.

An experienced operator can tell a lot by listening to the crane as well, including unusual sounds when running up the hoist, or trolley and bridge movement. After examining the hoist and going through your inspection checklist, make sure to document any changes or anything unusual.

Although they only take a few minutes and are required by OSHA and most regulatory agencies worldwide, not everyone performs daily inspections on their cranes. The task doesn’t require any special maintenance personnel; all it needs is an operator checking a simple checklist. This one task is a simple step in overhead crane safety and is critical to preventing property damage and injuries.

Most if not all of the accidents associated with overhead crane use are easily preventable by paying attention to potential hazards, performing daily inspections and just using common sense.

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Construction risk management

It is understood that a certain amount of risk will always exist with most business ventures. Construction projects are no exception to this reality. However, it is important to focus on managing construction risk through proper preparation and a thorough review of contract documents at the beginning of a project. Allocating the responsibility for risk to the parties that are best able to manage them can minimize incidents and the cost of each risk. Keep these simple tips in mind when preparing for your next project.

Allocating Your Risk

A part of managing construction risks includes working together with all parties during contract preparation to anticipate potential risks and assign responsibility for them to the party best capable of handling them, if they should arise. The owner would typically be best at managing flaws in design, placement and environment, while the contractor would be better at handling issues with personnel and performance. Management of indemnity and general insurance are key to managing construction risk in these scenarios.

Protection with Indemnity Policies and Provisions

Liability that arises from professional negligence is best managed through professional indemnity insurance. Most indemnity policies contain a contractual liability that is equivalent to professional negligence. Many professional consultants are required to carry such insurance. A proactive way of managing construction risk before beginning a project is to ensure that your coverage is up-to-date and will meet the needs of your particular project before beginning.

  • Product Liability Insurance – This coverage protects against liability for injury to people or damage to property that arises from products supplied by a business. Suppliers of equipment to a construction or engineering project, such as lifts or escalators, may be required to maintain such insurance. You may want to hire a consultant to ensure that the insurance carried by the supplier matches the needs of your project. Indemnity clauses regarding product liability should place responsibility squarely on the contractor.
  • Public Liability Insurance – Liability arising from death or personal injury to third parties and for damage to property belonging to third parties falls under this type of coverage. Normally you would provide adequate security to ensure that public liability remains at a low-risk during your construction project. However, by assigning responsibility through definitive clauses, you are ensuring that should the risk arise, it will be handled with the care that is required for such incidents.
  • Latent Defects Insurance – This insurance generally protects the owner against the cost of remedying the structure of a building due to unknown and unforeseeable defects. While an owner would typically cover this, individual provisions may be made for material placement and quality-of-work issues that revolve around the contractor’s intrinsic responsibility regarding these facets of the project.

Managing Construction Risk in Funding and Feasibility

Two other forms of risk that commonly have a negative impact on construction projects are funding risks and feasibility risks. These are often described as “invisible risks” because they are rarely evident until they arise. However, careful preparation and research can go a long way towards preventing them. Both require different strategies to manage, but both come from the same source – reliability of the available contractors and their solvency and professionalism.

Feasibility risks arise from hidden weaknesses in the original business plan proposal. They can include (but are not limited to) environmental concerns, including:

  • Unforeseen factors in location
  • Issues with coding and zoning laws
  • Weather-based delays

A proper analysis of location, as well as a review by an expert in local zoning and coding is necessary to ensure that both the contractor and the owner are prepared for the hidden costs of feasibility defects before signing the contracts for your project.

Funding risks are inevitable but are rarely prepared for. They can include a multitude of situations such as:

  • Subcontractors refusing to abide by original quotes
  • Cost of potential fines
  • Expenses associated with extended service contracts

While it is impossible to entirely avoid funding risks, setting clear budgetary limits for contractors and the proper examination and mitigation of feasibility risks will go a long way towards preventing unexpected costs from derailing a project.

Risk Management Is “Management”

Realizing that managing construction risks is just that…managing, not preventing, is necessary for coping with the inevitable. Remember these three steps: “Research, prepare, assign.” This is considered an important mantra for any successful owner or contractor. Ensure that you have identified all the factors that may be potentially problematic before beginning a project by:

  • Consulting with experts and professionals
  • Preparing your proposal and budgetary restrictions
  • Ensuring that responsibility and its accompanying insurance and indemnity is appropriately assigned before finalizing your initial contracts
Tower crane safety rules

Truthfully, operating a tower crane can be challenging in the best of weather conditions. However, as anyone who has worked in the construction industry can tell you, Mother Nature hardly ever cooperates, making it important to know about operating tower cranes in extreme weather. Weather delays can easily double the amount of time it takes to complete a job. Regardless, every project needs to be finished and this means that sometimes, tower cranes have to be operated in less than ideal conditions. By taking a number of precautionary measures, the risk involved with these operations can be minimized.

Windy Conditions

When understanding how to safely use tower cranes in extreme weather, windy conditions come to mind first. All cranes have a designated maximum wind speed under which they can be safely operated. If winds exceed this speed, the crane cannot be operated safely. Wind ratings vary between different cranes, models and configurations, so it is important to know how weather conditions affect your particular crane or its setup.

If a lift must be done in windy conditions, a number of factors should be considered. Generally, manufacturers will provide guidelines for the maximum wind speed a lift can be done in. If these recommendations are not available, wind speeds of 20 miles per hour are the absolute maximum a lift should be conducted in. You may want to consider delaying the lift if the wind is blowing in the 15 – 20 mile per hour range.

The characteristics of the load can diminish the safety of a lift in windy conditions. If the load could catch a large amount of wind or be difficult to control if the wind catches it, consider delaying the lift. Knowing the direction of the wind is also important, as winds from the side or rear can cause the load to swing in a way that would strain the crane or reduce its maximum load.

It is also important to remember that wind speed tends to increase with height, so lifts higher above the ground could be more susceptible to high winds. If the lift is being done between two structures, it could be subject to a wind tunnel effect when wind gusts are funneled between the structures, thus increasing wind speed.

Cold Weather Conditions

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, extremely cold temperatures can also have a negative effect on the performance of tower cranes. Cold temperatures can affect many elements of a tower crane, including its hydraulics, rigging devices and hoists. Cold weather can also reduce the tensile strength of the crane and in extreme cases, cause a catastrophic failure during operation.

At zero degrees Celsius, the cold begins to have an effect on hoists and rigging devices. In subzero temperatures, the weather can affect the crane’s hydraulics and maximum load capacity. If a lift is being conducted in the extreme cold, the potential failure of hydraulic systems should be considered and the maximum load should be reduced by 25 percent.

If the temperature dips to between minus 30 to 40 degrees Celsius, the crane’s maximum load should be reduced by 40 percent and delaying the lift should be considered. If temperatures on site are below minus 40, all lifts should be halted unless they must be used for emergency reasons.

Cold Weather Precautions and Adjustments

If a crane is being operated in a cold climate, several changes can be made to make its operation safer. Cold weather finishes, such as two-part epoxies or hold-dipped galvanized steel are available and can withstand temperatures as low as minus 57. Enclosed track systems, which can be constructed from these materials and are used to surround moving parts, can protect the crane’s trolley from the ice buildup that is common at lower temperatures.

The operation of motorized systems can be problematic in subzero conditions, but can potentially be solved by implementing electrified systems, such as conductor bars. Conductor bar sections serve as a cold weather alternative to box track festooning. They are made from galvanized steel and are designed to carry a specific current without overheating. Conductor bar sections can prevent the buildup of ice and other debris on the crane’s joints.

A number of crane parts are also available for cold weather-specific operations. Heated control enclosures and gearboxes, arctic duty motors and low temperature lubricants are just a few examples of equipment that can be utilized in these less than ideal conditions.

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crane lifting safety tips

Crane operation, to be safe and efficient, requires skill, the exercise of extreme care and good judgment, alertness and concentration, and a rigid adherence to proven safety rules and practices as outlined in applicable and current ANSI and OSHA safety standards.

Every crane operator, including those involved in slinging loads and directing lifting operations, must be trained and competent in every facet of crane operations.

There are four key points that employees must be aware of in safe crane operation:

  1. How to plan and manage lifting operations
  2. The development of safe procedures for working with cranes
  3. How to supervise lifting operations properly
  4. Examining and reviewing operations and processes carefully

What Safe Crane Operators Need to Know

Although tower and mobile cranes are used extensively on many construction projects, they present three significant dangers:

  • Crane collapse – these incidents create tremendous potential for multiple fatal injuries, to both employees and bystanders;
  • Load falling or sling line snapping – Due to the height of the tower cranes, there is a possibility that high winds and tight spaces might make loads fall which would create a significant potential for death or major injury.
  • Accidents due to lack of awareness or communications – There have been incidents where people have been struck by moving loads, or even cranes contacting overhead electrical wires.

In many cases, it’s usually the crane operator and supervisor who assume legal responsibilities for safe lifting operations. When a crane is hired, the responsibility for planning, supervising and carrying out lifting operations rests with the operator, or by the crane hire company if they explicitly state so in their contract with the crane operator.

One point to be aware of is that customers who hire cranes may not have the necessary skills or experience for safe planning of crane operations and will most likely opt for a ‘Contract Lift’ from the crane hire company.

Planning Lifting Operations

It goes without saying that all safe crane operations must be planned in advance. This means that all foreseeable risks are addressed, and the safety of bystanders and employees are accounted for. The supervisor should have practical and theoretical knowledge including extensive experience of the lifts being undertaken.

By doing a risk assessment, identifying the resources required, setting up procedures, and assigning responsibilities, the supervisor verifies that any lifting operation can be carried out safely. The operational plan should include that the lifting equipment remains safe for the range of lifting operations for which the equipment might be used.

Safe Crane Operations

A crane operator must plan lifting operations carefully to ensure they are carried out safely. This plan should result in a safe system of work that may need to be written down if it is a complex lift. This record is sometimes known as a “method statement” and crane operators should ensure that everyone involved understands it.

The method statement should include:

  • The planning details. This includes site review, preparation, crane assembly and dismantling;
  • Identifying the proper equipment. This means the selection and use of the correct crane and other work equipment such as slings and signaling equipment.
  • Maintenance and care. The maintenance and care of the crane and other equipment should be scheduled and there should be a plan to address any potential issues. Also a documented process should be created for every examination and movement of the crane.
  • Safety measures. Any safety measures implemented to secure safety of the general public and any employees not involved in the lifting.

The right level of supervision must be in place for lifting operations, reflecting the degree of risk and personnel involved in the particular lifting operation. A competent crane supervisor should have sufficient work experience to carry out all duties and must have taken the relevant courses and certifications. They also must have the authority to stop any lifting operations should it become too dangerous to proceed.

Thorough Examination

There are strict legal requirements concerning the thorough examination of all cranes: Lifting equipment must be thoroughly examined at the prescribed intervals. This entails a detailed and specialized examination by a competent person.

The examination will usually be arranged by the crane hire company, although it is the responsibility of the crane user to ensure that all necessary examinations are carried out and that the required reports are in order. Records of thorough examinations and tests must be: readily available to enforcing authorities; secure; and capable of being reproduced in written form.

Each crane operator is held directly responsible for safe crane operation. Whenever there is any doubt as to safety, the operator should stop the crane and refuse to handle loads until safe conditions have been restored.

Much like a drivers license, there are minimum standards that every crane operator must adhere to. Crane operators must be at least 18 years of age and must also have good hearing and peripheral vision. These attributes are necessary for safe crane operation.

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high rise safety equipment

The intricate requirements in high-rise construction work demand specific solutions and in-depth expertise far beyond simple paperwork. There are many causes for injuries in high-rise construction work and most of them are related to individual falls and handling of goods.

High-Rise Construction Risk Assessment

Work accidents related to safety often include: ladders, falling waste, individual falling and trips, electrical shock, and crane and hoist operation. The key measures of improving on-site job safety in high-rise construction lie in the areas of:

  • improvements in facility design
  • safety equipment
  • education
  • awareness

Individual falls are one of the most common accidents that occur during the construction process and the main causes are distracted employees, unsafe balustrades or slippery footing. The attempt to remove any one of these causes might lower the risk of accidents, but each injury also has specific causes that need to be addressed.

It is the manager’s job, as the direct owner’s representative, to ensure that all contractors and their employees follow the safety regulations completely and use the fine-and-reward system to increase safety at workplaces.

Key Safety Strategies for High-Rise Construction

Quality control in high-rise construction is critical to ensure that the minimum quality standards are applied on site, in order to ensure efficient performance and maintain good construction quality.

During the high-rise construction process, safety precautions include vigilance, understanding the risks of the working practices and employing professional physical safeguards like barricades, braces, railing, and guy lines. Also, the following protection systems should be standard in high-rise construction projects:

  • standpipes
  • sidewalk sheds
  • jersey barriers
  • vertical netting
  • horizontal netting

Making responsible decisions in the planning and design stages can ensure safety during a high-rise construction project. Safety also relies heavily on educating the workers and ensuring optimal cooperation and communication between owners, inspectors and project managers during the construction phase. Workers should be educated to inform their managers of the possibilities of accidents and avoid taking unnecessary risks.

Other safety precautions should include no smoking on the premises. Managers should rigorously check and monitor all possible causes that may lead to fire or explosions, including flammable materials and chemicals found on-site.

Specialized Project Management and Supervision

Given the high degree of human error, safety is also increased by strengthening rules, regulations and fines, as well as frequent training, daily inspections, weekly safety audits, safety signs and billboards. Plus, incentives and performance bonuses should encourage workers to obey the rules and give good examples for ensuring safety on site.

In order to ensure safety, project managers must:

  • identify foreseeable hazards that could give rise to bodily injury or death risks
  • eliminate or minimize the risks as much as possible by implementing control measures
  • maintain risk control measures and revise them so as to maintain, as much as possible, a safe work environment

Each of these safety methods is applied based on specific on-site requirements and considerable planning. In order to guarantee proper handling and execution of the designs and plans of high-rise construction, workers must undergo a series of periodical training sessions.

It is highly recommended that owners work closely with professional project management teams in order to ensure that the schedule is reached within budget and quality standards and safety demands are successfully met.

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Cost of Health and Safety in Construction

Profit margins in the construction industry are generally small (about three to four percent) and the competition is fierce between rival companies trying to win business. Often, contractors will undercut contracts in order to win bids. The result is enormous pressure to get the job done on time and under budget. Many construction companies have put clauses in their contracts that provide bonuses for finishing a job early, which provides an incentive to finish the work ahead of schedule, leading to periods of intense overtime. Unfortunately, this can leave worker health and safety as a low priority.

The direct costs of injuries can be a substantial burden on employers given the small profit margins in the industry. A $10,000 injury can wipe out the profit margin from a $333,000 job that has only a three percent profit margin.

Investing in Health and Safety

The process of preventing employee injuries and illnesses itself has many components, including the integration of health and safety issues into the management of projects. This requires a “culture shift” in the way workers on construction sites are managed.

The construction industry has come a long way in improving its safety performance — with significant reductions in workplace injuries and fatalities — but despite the progress, the fatalities that occur in the industry are still devastating, and more improvement needs to take place.

The key to achieving healthy and safe working conditions is to plan, control, monitor and review any issues that may occur. Making changes to improve health and safety standards and reduce accidents and ill health can also increase profitability, productivity, recruitment and retention and quality.

Time and thought invested at the start of a project will pay dividends not only in improved health and safety, but also in:

  • Reduction is the overall cost of ownership, because the structure is designed for safe and easy maintenance and cleaning work, and because key information is available in the health and safety file;
  • Be able to create more predictable cost benefit analysis;
  • Clear Communication and collaboration; and
  • A better quality finished product.

Final Thoughts

The efforts devoted to planning and managing health and safety should be in proportion to the risks and complexity associated with a project. When deciding what is needed to comply with regulations, the focus should always be on whatever actions are necessary to reduce and manage risks.

By taking an active role in developing a safety and training program, construction owners benefit from reduced costs, faster project turnaround, and better work quality.

A prepared construction contractor benefits tremendously because they understand that safety affects the successful completion of the job and adds significantly to their bottom-line. Additionally, the costs of accidents are significantly reduced, which also continues to improve the bottom-line.

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Crane Company

Insurance premiums are a complex business for construction companies, who face more costs and risk than many other industries. Adding to the difficulty is that insurance policies renew every year, leaving many business owners scrambling to protect their business’ interests and their bottom line. However, there are a few ways to make the obtaining insurance for construction companies a smoother process.

Right now, the insurance market is soft and prices are down, but the market is also in a state of flux due to changes in contract liability coverage and exclusions for wrap-up programs and residential work. And while with the help of a good broker and accountant a business owner can address many of the concerns regarding insurance for construction companies, it helps if they have a personal understanding.

When a business owner understands the details of insurance for construction companies, they often earn the respect of their insurance broker and demonstrate their expectation for the broker to help arrange the best possible policy for their business.

Safety First

The key to keeping costs of insurance for construction companies low on an annual basis is to keep the number of claims to a minimum — for a business with large deductibles and poor losses, claims payments can quickly add up.

By implementing a strong safely program, training employees on best practices, and emphasizing the need for education and the application of safety skills, many problems and claims can be avoided. The added advantage is that when something does go wrong and the contractor makes a claim, overall costs are more reasonable.

It’s important for business owners to take a safety-first attitude to insurance, and to ensure that every project their company takes on will be coverable by the chosen insurance plan. Gaps in an insurance plan can be costly when accidents happen.

Rates, not Premiums

While it’s easy to think of an insurance premium as the bottom line, that number may distract business owners from other important information.

An insurance premium rate is the dollar amount paid for every $1,000 of revenue or $100 of payroll. When that number is multiplied by the actual revenue or payroll, it results in the company’s premium, which will change year-to-year with the business. It is more useful to compare premium rates over the years than the fluctuating premium price-points.

Quoting Insurance for Construction Companies

In the construction industry, smaller contractors often bid on requests from project managers, leading to competitive pricing on jobs. However, the insurance industry doesn’t allow for this patchwork system, and only accepts submissions from one agent per insured.

To create some advantageous competition, there are a few things a business owner can do to receive the best rates and policies when seeking insurance for construction companies. First, they should assign markets to every agent they are working with, so that they’re sure to see all of the options. Additionally, they should share the information from each option with every agent they work with, so the agents know that the company is working with a wealth of data, which is at their access to offer the company better proposals.

Business owners are recommended to make sure they’re getting all of the information that the agents receive from the issuance carrier, including full quotes and declinations. Requesting copies signed by the carriers can help to ensure this.

Deadlines Make Things Happen

Just as in construction, trying to build an insurance plan without reasonable deadlines can make production come to a standstill. The best course of action is to begin the process about a month in advance of renewal, and set deadlines for proposals two weeks before needing to renew. That way both the business management team and the broker have time to review and choose an option, negotiate its price, and confirm the right plan for the company.

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