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Considerations - Question 5

If the lift could be unstable, can other working practices be introduced which could increase stability and minimise risks?

Factors that affect the stability of the equipment selected include the characteristics of the surface on which it is to be used, the size and nature of the load, the way in which the load is intended to be lifted and the maximum wind loading. Equipment must not be used if there is a danger of overturning and proximity hazards such as overhead power lines must be avoided.

Consider use of checker plates for holes in the ground. Prepare the ground if working outside.

Use stabilisers or other anchor mechanisms if this improves stability.

Upon initially raising the load off the ground, it is recommended that the operation is halted whilst checks are made to ensure that the load is steady, secure and unlikely to swing. Where there are signs of the load not acting appropriately or unsafely, the load should be put down and re-positioned and secured and further checks made to ensure that the lift can take place safely.

Perhaps you require persons to support the load as it is gradually moved into position as part of the lifting operation. Consider the use of gloves if this is required.

Loads that are subject to flexing or which may be unstable in another way may need to be supported. The competent person must plan the lift to ensure that the lift is controlled.

Where an overhead crane is used, the load will often be attached to the hook by means of slings or other suitable lifting gear. Protective material must be placed between the slings and any sharp edges to prevent damage and a check shall be made to ensure that the bend diameter complies with the manufacturer’s instructions for use. Where several slings are used in the same eye or hook, they shall not lay on top of each other. When slings or chains are used, consideration shall be given to the number of legs, the angle and other factors that alter the capacity of the sling. Slings should be lifted with care, so that the tension is applied slowly to avoid jerking. The load must be also be evenly distributed between the legs to avoid it slipping or swinging in the air.

Consult with the lifting equipment manual to ensure that it is suitable to use in the environment. When working outside, ensure that the load is not lifted when wind conditions are above the recommended limits.

Any equipment that is dismantled and assembled at different locations such as tower cranes must be stable under all foreseeable conditions.