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Crane Hire or Contract Lift? – That is the question.

Crane hire companies have a complete range of industrial cranes available for hire.

Even deciding what kind of crane you need is a complex process that will require you to provide planned location, weight of load and distance from the centre of rotation (slew) of the crane that the load will be moved. This is because a crane can move a heavy load a small distance from the centre of slew, or a lighter load a larger distance from the centre of slew. There are tables for each crane type, detailing safe distances and loads that can be moved.

You have two options, Crane Hire or a Contract Lifting Service

Crane Hire

Hiring a crane is a much more complex procedure than you might expect if you are a first time hirer.

As can be expected with any large piece of industrial machinery there are complex Health and Safety procedures to comply with.

When hiring a crane conditions the client must provide an appointed person and supply the hire company operator with a detailed method and safety statements, drawn up by a competent and trained person, prior to the lift. The appointed person must supervise the lifting operation as detailed in BS 7121 (Safe Use of Cranes) and provide qualified personnel such as slingers, signallers and crane operators.

Hiring cranes and plant is inevitably accompanied by risk. The cost of a modern mobile crane ranging from £100,000 to more than £2million, the financial consequences in the event of an accident could be immense.

As a customer hiring a crane or other item of plant, you will have to satisfy the crane hire company that you have adequate insurance cover for the following risks:
1. Loss of, or damage to, the crane whilst on hire.
2. Continuing hire charges whilst the crane is under repairs
3. Injury to the operator.
4. Third party cover (injury to other parties, including damage to their property.)
Crane hire companies can arrange cover for loss of, or damage to, the crane whilst on hire and continuing hire charges whilst the crane is under repair. Insurance cover for lifted materials is also available.

Contract Lifts

As described in Crane Hire, all crane lifts must comply fully with BS7121 Safe Use of Cranes part 1 General 1989 and the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations LOLER. Both these regulations lay down the requirements of all personnel involved in a crane lift.

In a Contract Lift, the Hire Company will choose the correct crane for the job, raise the risk assessment and method statement, arrange the traffic management and the correct level of insurance. With the introduction of BS7121 (British Standard Code of Practice for the Safe Use of Cranes) and LOLER (Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations) clients who do not have sufficient experience and knowledge of crane operations usually prefer to place orders on a contract lift basis.

A Crane Hire contract becomes a Contract Lift contract when the crane owner supplies the Appointed Person and, hence, accepts responsibility for all aspects of the lift.

All crane hire companies offer a Contract Lift Service. This relieves customers of the responsibility for preparing a method statement, risk assessment, berthing study, lift diagram and managing and supervising the lifting operation. The crane hire company takes all the risk and concern away from customers, with a complete and professional tailor made package where their trained and experienced personnel manage the whole lifting process from initial concept right through to supervising the final lift.

In a Contact Lift the customer is still responsible for providing accurate information relating to both the items to be lifted and to the ground conditions. The customer must also have public liability insurance.

The preparation time required to produce the relevant Method Statements and Risk Assessments for a Contract Lift will require a longer notice period than for Crane Hire.

Hiring a crane is a lot more complex than hiring a van. There are all sorts of Health and Safety considerations to be taken into account. In many cases companies would be better advised to go with the Contract Lift option offered by many crane hire companies.

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