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Developing Your Critical Lift Plan

Developing Your Critical Lift Plan

Being a contractor is all about planning effectively. You have to plan every aspect of your project, from start to finish and beyond. When plans go awry, you know that the ultimate responsibility falls on your shoulders. Regardless of the size of the project, the details matter. 

Many construction projects in the Carolinas require lifting and moving heavy equipment and materials. Sometimes, the planning for crane usage can be as involved and detailed as the project itself. However, when it comes to cranes, the consequences for failing to create a thorough plan can be devastating. This is especially true if you have to perform a critical lift. 


In this article, we are discussing critical lifts and how to develop a critical lift plan that ensures you move the materials you need to move in the safest possible manner. 

What Is a Critical Lift?

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) defines a critical lift as one that exceeds 75% of the capacity of a crane or requires more than one crane. There are other factors that could cause your lift to be considered critical:

  • The lift requires the use of atypical rigging or highly technical processes.
  • The load is at some point outside of the visual field of the crane operator.
  • Damage to or the loss of the lifted object would result in significant monetary consequences.
  • Damage to or the loss of the load would lead to substantial delays to your project. 

If you have an upcoming critical lift, you need to make sure you have a critical lift plan in place before you start the process. 

How to Develop the Critical Lift Plan

The details matter when it comes to preparing for your critical lift. Here is an overview of how to develop your critical lift plan. 

Evaluate Your Job Site

Your crane operators and lift personnel need to know all they can about your job site, which includes:

  • Whether your operation takes place on solid ground, bedrock, soft soil, clay, etc?
  • Whether or not it has rained recently, been wetter or drier than usual, and anticipated forecasts for the lift day
  • Whether there is plenty of room to make the lift or if there are structural challenges

Your job site has a profound impact on your critical lift project. 

The Right Equipment in Place

Once you know what to expect on the job site, you can ensure the right equipment is in place for your critical lift. The equipment you are most likely to need for your critical lift project includes:

  • Crane(s) capable of completing the lift
  • The right type of matting for the specific job
  • The right type and amount of rigging equipment
  • The personnel required to ensure the lift is made safely and correctly
  • A wind gauge monitor (anemometer) will be used throughout the lift
  • All the proper paperwork, correctly filled out and accessible
  • Load weight verification documents should be on hand
  • Other equipment as needed

When it comes to crane rentals, you need to make sure you find the right machine for the job. Here is a description of the most recent addition to the Parker’s Crane Service fleet:

“Our newest crane is the Grove GMK5150L. It brings outstanding lifting capacities and greater job site accessibility for our clients. With its impressive lifting capacity and job site maneuverability, know that when this crane rolls on your job site, we are there to do business.”

Once your equipment is in place, you need to make sure you have the right people on-site to ensure the lift is done safely and smoothly. 

Critical Lift Personnel

When performing critical lifts, you don't want your people to be responsible for multiple aspects of the project. You want crane lift personnel to be doing a single task. You likely need the following:

  • A Certified Rigger
  • A Certified Signalperson
  • A Certified Operator
  • A Site Supervisor
  • A Certified Lift Director

Certification is key to making sure the people you have on your job site are prepared to perform the safest critical lift. 

Critical Lifts in North Carolina and South Carolina

Parker’s Crane Service has helped countless clients throughout the Carolinas and beyond perform safe, effective critical lifts. When you rent a crane through us, we offer inclusive services, including staff resources, risk management, full maintenance options, insurance and safety programs, and competitive rates.

We have a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to practicing safety on our sites and with our cranes. With decades of experience in this field, we are proud of our impeccable safety standards. 

If you have an upcoming critical lift project, we would love to talk to you and help you develop your plan. Contact the team here at Parker’s Crane Service for more information about safe, effective critical lifts. We will help make sure your project goes smoothly.