All lifting operations come with risk. There are many hazards when using a mobile crane, including injury to the crane operator and other site staff or even loss of life. Other hazards include damage to the crane or load, and damage to the objects or buildings within close proximity to the crane.
THE RISKS OF USING A MOBILE CRANE NEXT TO RAILWAY LINES
When working near a railway, whether its for construction purposes, infrastructure or repairs, there is always the risk of disrupting the railway operations.
When using a mobile crane, dangerous incidents are more likely to occur during activities such as rigging, use, maintenance and de-rigging. If a mobile crane was to fall onto the rail tracks, it could lead to a catastrophic accident and pose a threat to life. The same goes for if a piece of equipment or the load itself was to fall onto the tracks.
There is also the risk of a mobile crane colliding with an object within the working environment such as a tree, lamppost or fence. This could then fall on the tracks and cause serious damage and harm.
SAFELY USING A MOBILE CRANE NEXT TO RAILWAY LINES
Before using a mobile crane next to a railway line, there are various factors to consider. You must first survey the site (or have a professional do it) to identify and eliminate any potential risks.
An experienced and authorised person should then create a detailed lift plan. This will outline the lifting equipment that will be used, the details of the load, the atmospheric and environmental conditions, any potential risks or hazards and the safety of the work area etc.
When working near a railway line, there should be an out-of-bound area alongside the railway line which measures at least 4m. At no point should any part of the crane, load or any other machinery/transport vehicles enter this area. Similarly, when positioning a mobile crane, it should be placed far enough away from the railway lines so that if the crane was to fall over, it would not land on or near the railway lines.
If the mobile crane or the load is going to go directly over the tracks at any point, the lift will not go ahead until Network Rail has approved the strict site control measures. If a load is over-sailing the railway lines, there will have to be a line block arranged through Network Rail.
All members of staff on-site, particularly those involved in the positioning, rigging, alterations and de-rigging should be briefed on the plan beforehand and should be competent and qualified. Also, Network Rail should always be notified in advance of any mobile crane operations taking place near a railway line.
BEFORE USING A MOBILE CRANE NEXT TO RAILWAY LINES
Before using a mobile crane within close proximity to railway lines, it will be beneficial to read the Construction Plant-hire Association’s latest safety guide.
Entitled ‘Good Practice Guide: Requirements for Mobile Cranes alongside Railways Controlled by Network Rail’ this handy guide was released at the beginning of 2019 in conjunction with Network Rail.
Here at Altida, we have worked closely with Network Rail in the past, this has given us a deep understanding of the lifting and access requirements and challenges of the railway industry.
We can recommend the right crane hire, access hire and crane operators for your upcoming project, whether you are moving carriages, taking materials to inaccessible areas or building near the railway lines.
GET IN TOUCH WITH THE MOBILE CRANE HIRE EXPERTS
Here at Altida, we are experts in everything to do with lifting and can make the process of hiring mobile cranes simple. We can offer a free, no obligation site survey and can generate a thorough and detailed method statement for you.
If you’re planning a lifting job near a railway; we have the right crane hire service for you with fully certified and experienced crane operators. We will do all we can to ensure the safety of your lifting operations.