New Europe-wide tower crane safety campaign

21 December 2009

The Committee for European Construction Equipment (CECE) has joined the campaign by major tower crane manufacturers to ensure the EN 14439 product standard for tower crane safety is used.

Comansa, Jaso, Liebherr, Manitowoc-Potain, Terex and Wolffkran have backed the objectives of the two-year-old standard, said CECE. They include increased safety, minimum requirements for noise emissions, ergonomic design and comfort for the crane user and riggers.

Talking about the standard, a CECE spokesman said, "The most important innovation is the achievement of a uniform level of safety for tower cranes in service on European construction sites, regardless of whether the crane stands on the Atlantic coast, in the north of Scotland, in the Greek Isles, Sweden or any other country."

The standard states that tower crane users must take local wind conditions into consideration and adjust the configuration of the crane accordingly. This initiative was prompted by the relatively large number of severe storms in recent years, as well as the availability of geographical wind history statistics, explained CECE.

Countries and regions are divided into wind zones A, B, C, D, E and F. Wind region C and a repeating interval of 25 years - C25 for short - has been set as a minimum standard for structural analysis, proof of stability and information in the operator's manual.

"Moreover, it is essential to consider the safety loading condition with a 'storm from the front' or, alternatively, a 'storm from all sides', which covers the weather-vaning capability of the crane into the main wind direction. Depending on the crane configuration and the wind zone, this can possibly lead to a larger foundation load, more central ballast or the use of strengthened crane components," added the spokesman.

Other significant elements of the standard include:

* Better ergonomics and more comfort for the crane driver

* Minimum outfitting with technical safety equipment

* More safety for the crane driver, erectors and maintenance staff

* Safety in climbing tower cranes

* Greater flexibility for crane users

Once the above requirements are met, users can proceed under the assumption that they are adhering to current legal requirements, says CECE.

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