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8 Components of a Crane and Their Function

Cranes are essential pieces of equipment on construction sites around the world. They make various steps of the building process possible, from reaching the heights of urban skyscrapers to installing trusses on the roofs of rural barns. With cranes, construction crews can work with materials that would be impossible to lift by hand.

Different parts of a crane come together to create the large piece of equipment you recognize from miles away. If you work with cranes on your job site, then it’s important for you to understand the parts of a crane and their functions so you can use your cranes to their fullest potential.

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Crane Parts and Functions

Cranes are a wonder of engineering, and every part is essential for its functioning. Here are eight of the most important crane components you should know about.

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1. The Hook

This may be one of the most recognizable and important parts of a construction crane. The hook is the main connecting point between the crane and the load it needs to carry. When you need to move large or heavy items around your job site, you can trust the hook to hold them so the rest of the crane can do its work.

Hooks should be durable and strong so they can handle substantial loads of materials. But hooks rely on other items to pick up a load. The next items on this list play a crucial role in the crane’s ability to lift objects with the hook.

2. Wire Rope and Sheaves

Cranes use heavy-duty wire ropes to lift extreme loads. These ropes are actually cables made of steel wires twisted into the shape of a helix. Then several of these helixes are twisted together to create an even stronger rope. These wire ropes give the crane its strength to lift objects with the hook.

Sheaves are crane components that can increase the weight the hook can lift. A sheave is a pulley system that holds wire ropes that connect to the rest of the crane. The more wire ropes, the more weight is distributed. This allows the hook to lift heavier loads than a single wire rope would be able to lift.

3. The Boom

The boom is one of the largest crane parts, often visible from several miles away depending on the size of the crane. Acting as the arm that holds the load, the boom allows a crane to move heavy items around and send materials far from where the base of the boom is.

There are two types of booms:

  • Lattice boom: This boom consists of welded steel, reminiscent of the appearance of a lattice. This gives it great strength while reducing the weight of the boom.
  • Hydraulic boom: This boom has telescoping sections, allowing it to extend to reach far places and collapse for easy transportation.

4. Counterweights

Cranes hold a huge amount of weight. They’re able to do this without tipping over by using counterweights. These weights go on the back of the crane and offset the weight of the load. Without counterweights, cranes would tip over in the direction of the boom lift. Counterweights always stay opposite the boom lift to keep the crane grounded and secure.

Counterweights are removable to make transportation easier. You can add or subtract the number of weights in the counterweight system to meet the needs of your current load. Some counterweight systems are towable for even more freedom.

5. Outriggers

Outriggers are crane parts that provide extra safety when moving materials around the job site. Along with counterweights, they ensure that cranes stay standing even when transporting the heaviest of loads. Outriggers extend from the bottom of the crane and stabilize it from the ground. They lift the crane off its wheels, removing the possibility of the crane shifting its position from slight wheel movements.

The combination of outriggers, counterweights and a complex hoist system helps keep your crane secure as it moves heavy loads and materials around the job site. When it comes to operating cranes, safety is key for your entire crew. Outriggers add the extra layer of safety you and your workers need.

6. Wheels and Tracks

Wheels and tracks allow cranes to move around the job site, depending on the terrain. Wheels offer increased mobility, from maneuvering around a job site to driving down the highway at high speeds. They’re the best option for bumpy, uneven ground, but tracks might be your best option if the job site is soft and muddy.

Tracks are long and wide, giving a crane an increased level of stability over wheeled cranes. They’re a bit slower than wheeled cranes and need smooth, even ground for easy operation. But their safety and stability make them an attractive option for many job site managers and engineers.

7. The Hoist

The crane’s hoist, or hoist drum, is the part of the crane that creates lift. It uses a cranking mechanism and a wire rope to raise and lower the hook. It can hold thousands of feet of wire rope, allowing you to move heavy materials over great distances and heights with enough cable left over to maintain a safe hold.

The hoist is what makes it possible for the crane to lift items off the ground. Like the other items on this list, it’s an essential part of the crane and is crucial for it to work. You can find the hoist drum behind the main boom.

8. The Jib

Sometimes cranes need to move materials to an area beyond the reach of the boom. That’s where the jib comes in. This part of the crane is an arm that extends horizontally, providing extra space between the load and the crane. This is useful when you need to move larger or longer loads that require the crane to be farther away during movement.

A regular jib is usually fixed, but a “luffer jib” is a hinged variety found on some cranes. You can move it up or down using its hinges, depending on the location of the main boom at the time of movement.

Contact General Crane for Crane Work in New England

General Crane has been serving areas in New England since our founding in 1972. Since our early days when we only had a single crane to our name, we’ve grown to provide dependable service across construction industries. When your job site needs a crane, we’re the ones to call. We offer novel solutions and provide crane rentals with cranes of several sizes for any job. We even offer boom trucks when you need extra maneuverability on your job site.

Call us today at 860-528-8252 or contact us online for more information. We look forward to serving you on your next New England job site.

 

Looking to buy a crane instead? Check out our guide on BUYING A CRANE VS. HIRING A CRANE.

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7 Industries That Use Cranes

The crane industry is likely to grow due to the increasing demand for cranes in construction and other industries. Consequently, businesses that need cranes will have many companies to choose from for their rentals. Cranes are so vital to modern society that few industries would be able to do their jobs without these lifting tools. Uses of these towering tools go beyond basic construction, though. Cranes can offer the heavy lifting for businesses in many sectors.

What Industries Require Crane Work?

The versatility of cranes makes them capable of fulfilling the needs of several industries. Crane industry services include renting cranes for moving heavy materials and aiding in construction. Specific uses of cranes depend on which industry rents them.

1. Residential and Commercial Construction

Residential construction companies can benefit from rental cranes on site. Since building projects can include multifamily homes, modular construction projects and single-family units, a crane allows crews to move heavy equipment or lift materials to higher floors. Even for single-story home construction, cranes can assist with site preparation by removing trees and aiding concrete pouring.

Another application of a crane for construction is for commercial projects. Since many commercial buildings have larger dimensions than residential homes, construction projects often need to reach greater heights. On-site cranes help complete these projects quickly and efficiently. For example, cranes can move steel beams and roof trusses around the worksite or upper construction levels. Additionally, they can transfer large electrical or HVAC equipment to the roof or attic level safely.

Both residential and commercial construction projects may require tree removal as part of the site preparation for their projects. For these types of projects, a crane is needed. A crane can pull a fully grown tree and move it from its site for relocation or to save on the cost and mess of cutting the tree down. Transplanted trees from other sites require large cranes to support their bulk and lower them gently into the prepared planting hole. Well-trained crane operators can accomplish these tasks through their expert maneuvering of the crane’s controls.

2. Public Construction

Public construction projects often have constraints on the amount of ground space available for work, especially if the project occurs along major thoroughfares. Blocking lanes for construction work often requires special permission from the city. And the city may have requirements for how many lanes of traffic construction work can block and at what times. Therefore, using the smallest footprint for these types of construction projects can be less disruptive.

Implementing overhead cranes for moving equipment and lifting building parts can solve the issue of needing more space. However, for work in public locations, construction teams must use additional precautions, especially with crane work. For instance, safety regulations for these types of projects may be tighter due to local requirements. Accident prevention and highly trained operators can ensure incident-free construction at public commercial construction sites.

3. Telecommunications

The growing need for telecommunications networks means that this sector will consistently use cranes. To build the towering structures required for relaying cell signals, construction teams need cranes. Using a crane for cell towers allows the team to execute all segments of the construction efficiently. For instance, a crane can help lay the concrete foundation, erect the tower and install the antenna system on top.

Even after construction, the telecommunications industry may still require cranes for tower maintenance and repair. Towers that need inspection or individual repairs may need cranes to lift repair personnel to the site. For moving equipment required for upgrades, a crane will provide the additional lifting force needed. Lastly, the old towers that require removal will require a crane for deconstruction and safe removal of their components.

These tasks would not be possible without the powerful lifting capacity of cranes.

4. Steel

Steel construction could not happen without the lifting power of cranes. Building with steel includes commercial and occasionally residential construction. However, it also includes the erection of cell towers, bridges, industrial facilities and overpasses. On all these projects, a crane for steel movement and lifting is necessary to get these jobs finished on time and safely.

Another aspect of moving steel includes placing large steel signs for businesses. Since many of these signs have integrated electrical connections for lighting, they need care during movement and placement to ensure that they will work when connected to a power source. An expert crane rental provider can determine the type of crane required for placing a steel sign. And a professional operator can safely maneuver the sign into place without damaging the sign or surrounding structures.

5. HVAC and Other Mechanical Structures

Air conditioning units or furnaces can weigh thousands of pounds. And many units sit on roofs of homes or businesses. To move these weighty units into place, contractors need to rent a crane for HVAC placement.

Additionally, other mechanical projects that require the extra assistance of a crane include moving water heaters, installing septic tanks, moving industrial-grade equipment to roof-tops and more.

6. Power Generation

Power generation and transmission rely on a large network of lines and the towers that support them. For placement, repair or deconstruction of these electrical towers, cranes can help. When a company uses a crane for power lines, they can install or remove poles that support the lines. Additionally, they can construct large steel distribution towers. For replacing transformers, a crane can bring the unit up to the tower location. For emergency work after inclement weather, rental cranes can make restoring power faster by supplementing a power company’s existing fleet of boom trucks and cranes.

Because power lines may have power during maintenance, a crane operator must use extra caution to avoid contacting the power lines or bringing the top of the crane too close to the lines. Highly trained operators with clean safety records are required when using cranes with power generation businesses.

7. Shipping and Storage

Shipping crates or storage containers sometimes need moving around a warehouse or distribution site. To get these heavy, bulky pieces into place, cranes are crucial. To avoid damage to products that could cost a storage or shipping company in liability, the business needs a crane operator who puts safety first. With crane rental that includes trained operators, shipping and storage companies get the safety and skill they need for moving goods.

Contact General Crane for Full-Service Crane Work

For more information on how overhead crane industries can benefit your business or to request full-service crane work, contact us at General Construction Crane Service. We take the overhead out of using cranes by handling the maintenance, operator training and delivery while you focus on making the most of the crane at your site.

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What Is a Crane Operator?

By 2029, the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts a 4% rise in employment in the equipment operation industry. One specialized area within the equipment industry is crane operation, and it can be a rewarding career. Most heavy equipment operators enjoy the frequent change in scenery and work site conditions.

Learn more about the crane operator job description, like typical job responsibilities, what industries you may seek work in and how to become a crane operator with or without certification.

Crane Operator Responsibilities

Crane operators are heavy equipment operators whose training or work background explicitly focuses on operating a crane. Cranes are a type of heavy machinery that workers use to lift and transport supplies, materials, platforms or other workers to complete a project. A crane operator may have focused training on specific types of cranes or may work with various crane machines, depending on the job or employer.

Some common fixed and mobile crane types are:

  • Tower cranes.
  • Telescopic cranes.
  • Crawler cranes.
  • Carry deck cranes.
  • Rough terrain cranes.
  • Truck-mounted cranes.

Crane Operator Tasks

Though a crane operator may work under several others’ direction, like project or site managers, they are responsible for understanding how to operate and maintain their machine safely.

Typical tasks include:

  • Maintenance: While most crane operators aren’t responsible for major repairs or part replacements, part of operating your machine is understanding how each component works, so you know if something’s wrong. You will need to practice basic machine maintenance, including part inspection, and stay informed about service alerts or routine service appointments. You may also be responsible for determining whether specialized crane equipment, like a higher-than-average mast, is needed for a specific task.
  • Safety: Safety: Keeping yourself, your coworkers, pedestrians and personal property safe is the most critical part of crane operation. Attend all required training classes and stay informed about changes in your machine, the industry and the work site. Know how to operate your equipment in all weather conditions, including rain and low visibility. Always maintain a clear field of view while working. Make sure your site manager briefs you about job-specific risks or considerations before beginning a new task.
  • Operation: Operation refers to the steps you take to use your machine, including controlling the crane and its speed, movement, direction and position. You will need to know how to lift and lower on all terrain types. Operation includes following all signals and instructions provided by coworkers, clients, employers or site managers.
  • Paperwork: Depending on the assignment, you will probably be required to maintain work logs at the end of each shift or week. Additional paperwork includes securing and requesting necessary materials, equipment or services to complete your job by an established deadline.
  • Communication: Successful equipment operation relies on teamwork and communication with other equipment operators and management. Coordinate with all relevant parties, including contractors. You will work together to create and stick to a plan of action and make adjustments as needed.

These tasks are not exhaustive — each employer, worksite and project may have specific objectives, safety guidelines or requirements.

Industries That Use Crane Operators

Cranes are an essential part of many industries, including commercial, industrial and residential projects. While many crane operators work outdoors, some jobs may require indoor or underground work.

Common crane operator industries and jobs include:

  • Iron and steel milling and production.
  • Manufacturing facilities.
  • Tree removal and installation services.
  • Rail transportation.
  • Electric power generation.
  • Water transportation.
  • Warehouses.
  • Underground mines.
  • Docks.
  • Aerospace.
  • Carpentry and general construction.
  • Cellular towers.
  • Film production sets.
  • Bridge and highway construction.
  • Roofing installation and repair.

As a crane operator, you can seek work with contracting companies, construction sites and project managers. Many seek employment with full-service crane companies, which gives you access to the latest industry training.

How to Become a Crane Operator

As with any equipment operation position, you should be able to safely lift weight and operate machinery, sit and stand for several hours and wear all required safety and visibility equipment on the job site. Crane operation is not a good fit for anyone seeking a quiet, low-impact career — many job tasks will be labor-intensive and require great focus.

If you’re interested in pursuing crane operation, you need the following skills and abilities:

  • Alertness: Safe crane operation requires someone who can stay awake and alert on the job at all times, without exception. You should also be able to multitask while remaining aware of your surroundings.
  • Mechanics: Some jobs will require an extensive work background in mechanics. Others may not. That said, it’s a good idea to have some sort of mechanical experience, especially those involving precise movements or heavy loads.
  • Communication: You must know how to communicate verbally and nonverbally, including taking instructions and carefully following all rules.
  • Performance: A good crane operator succeeds under pressure, meets work deadlines and manages their time well to meet objectives. They should promote safe crane operation and avoid accidents.

Every job — especially those involving heavy machinery — comes with specific risks. Always follow safety rules, including required uniforms and protective gear, and stay up-to-date on training. Though each job varies, the responsibilities of a crane operator may involve working in inclement weather and loud environments.

Education

Most employers require a high school education or similar for entry-level crane operation positions. However, you will need additional training in crane operation if you’ve never worked with the equipment before. Some of this training may be provided on the job, while some employers may require outside training or certification before hiring you. You can enroll in these programs at community colleges and vocational or technical schools.

Certifications

If an employer or project manager requests specific crane certification, it means there are legal or safety considerations you must meet and maintain. Some programs will certify you in general crane use, while others are targeted toward specific crane types or applications. The National Commission for the Certification of Crane Operators (NCCCO) is one widely recognized certification program.

The path to crane certification typically involves passing a written and practical crane operation test while fulfilling all other state requirements.

Some certification programs may have entry restrictions, like age, experience or education. Some employers may require a crane operator’s license in addition to your certification — consult your state and local laws for further guidance.

Work With General Crane in CT for Full-Service Crane Work

General Crane is a full-service crane company offering safe, efficient crane service throughout Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island. Our dedication to a job well done is backed by our incident-free record and decades of industry experience on projects of all types and sizes.

Give us a call at (860) 528-8252 or contact us online to learn more about our services.

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Choosing a Crane Hire Company: 9 Key Things to Consider

If you need a crane rental service, you want to choose a company that has knowledge, experience, a good track record and a well-serviced fleet of machines. To help you narrow down your search for the best crane rental company in your area, we’ve selected nine important things for you to consider:

1. Safety

The first thing you should consider is whether the company adheres to safety rules and standards. The company should have insurance for their employees in case an accident happens on-site. If they don’t, they may be unable to compensate you for damages, meaning you may have to pay for them yourself.

The steps the company takes in the event of an accident are important to consider. You don’t want to risk hiring a commercial crane rental service that doesn’t have complete insurance coverage from a trusted insurance company. When considering options, ask or look for a crane service provider’s proof of insurance.

2. Experience

You may feel tempted to go with the cheapest option. Instead, it may be wiser to choose a crane rental company that has been in the business for many years, even if they charge a little more. If a company’s operators lack experience, you’ll end up paying more in other ways, for example:

  • The project may take longer.
  • The project might not move forward.
  • Your property may get damaged.

When vetting a crane service company, ask how many years of experience their operators have. Feel free to ask them about challenging projects they took on and how they were able to complete them. When hiring a company with many years of experience, you can save both money and time.

You can also ask about the operators’ training requirements. The operators should be able to provide their credentials. Once you obtain these credentials, compare them with those of other crane services you’re considering. Our operators all have a CT Crane Operator License, and their combined experienced totals over 100 years. Whereas many organizations experience accidents every few months, at General Crane, we have been accident-free since we started in 1972.

3. Responsiveness

When speaking with a company, one of your first impressions comes from how fast they respond to you. This includes how fast they answer your emails, return your calls and provide you estimates. Prompt responsiveness in these areas is a sign they care. If a company is responding to its customers in a timely manner, you can expect the rest of your experience may follow suit as you move forward with your project.

4. Timeliness

Like responsiveness, timeliness is another sign of a company’s professionalism and its care for its customers. If a company provides an estimate when they say they will or arrives at the work site before the scheduled time so they can set up, there’s a good chance they can keep your project moving in other ways as well. At General Crane, we are known for being prompt and courteous of other’s time.

5. Availability

When hiring a commercial or residential crane rental company, confirm whether they are available on the days you’d like the project completed. If you’d like to hire the service for multiple days, confirm they will be available for that entire period. Ask the company to let you know when the crane won’t be available, and take a look at the operator’s schedule as well. If you hire a crane with an operator who is frequently unavailable, this can be a major inconvenience. Check with the operators and a representative of the company to ensure their availability lines up with your needs.

6. Reputation

Another great indicator of the company’s quality is what their customers say about them. The company you choose should have a large number of positive testimonials about the work they’ve done. The best rental companies tend to have many regular customers who depend on them for their short-term crane contracting services. If many customers are saying good things, this is a good sign.

You should also consider the time they’ve been in business. If they’ve been operating for decades, this most likely means they’re experienced and trusted in their community.

7. Customer Service

If you’re like most people, your decision to hire a company may depend on your customer service experience with them. Customer service is a good gauge for a company’s overall professionalism, so when shopping for a crane service provider, pay attention to how they treat you over the phone, on their site and in person.

If they treat you with the attention, respect and care you deserve, you can likely trust them with an important project. If a company values its customers, it shows. Pick one that makes you a top priority.

8. Equipment

Reputable companies are generally equipped with large fleets of cranes capable of lifting a range of classes. At General Crane, we have a broad range of cranes suitable for a wide variety of projects, including:

  • Cell towers: Having supported the telecommunications industry for decades, we have expertise in cell tower construction materials.
  • Mechanical and electrical contractors: We also regularly support mechanical and electrical contractors with a variety of projects, including installing and maintaining power lines, plumbing, refrigeration and HVAC systems.
  • Residential construction: We have cranes that help build pre-fabricated and modular homes, transport and lift a variety of building materials and perform tree work.
  • Structural steel: General Crane also assists with the installation of structural steel in commercial and residential buildings, industrial facilities, sports and entertainment complexes and bridges.
  • Roof trusses: Due to their enormous size, roof trusses usually need to be lifted and maneuvered into place with a crane. With our equipment, we can perform this challenging task efficiently and quickly.

Learn more about what we can do by visiting our capabilities page.

9. Maintenance

In addition to a good fleet of cranes, you want a company that inspects and maintains their equipment regularly and thoroughly. Any reliable and reputable crane service company should keep records of their maintenance inspection. Ask for these records, as they can let you know whether you’re paying for a well-maintained, efficient machine that can perform the tasks required for the project.

You will also want to hire a company that is capable of dealing with machinery breakdowns during the project. If a machine stops working mid-project, it’s nice to know the company will send a technician out right away to get it up and running as soon as possible.

Choose General Crane When You Need a Professional Crane Rental in CT

General Crane strives to make sure every step of your project is completed in the most cost-effective, efficient and safe way possible. As a crane company in CT, we’re equipped to serve the counties of Hartford, Middlesex, Litchfield, New Haven, Fairfield, Tolland and Windham. If you’re considering crane companies in CT, call us at 860-528-8252 or fill out our contact form so we can assist you with your crane rental needs today.

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Buying a Crane vs. Using a Crane Hire Company

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If you need a crane around your work site, you have two options — buying or renting. When you purchase your own crane, the machine is yours, along with its maintenance, storage and liability. You’re also responsible for securing and training a crew who knows how to operate the crane safely and efficiently. When you choose to rent a crane, you can hire an experienced and licensed crane crew along with it, easing the burdens of ownership and operation.

How do you know if you should buy or hire a crane? Read on to learn more about crane hire companies and why they might be the best fit for your project.

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Advantages of Using a Crane for Hire

Cranes are a versatile piece of equipment. You can use them to lift and lower materials in addition to other material handling and transportation needs. Because you can use cranes for a range of tasks, they make you more marketable and efficient across industries and projects. If you’re trying to decide between buying or renting a crane, consider the following advantages of crane rental companies:

1. They Have Years of Experience

Crane operators for hire have years of hands-on experience operating a crane under various circumstances. This makes them very efficient, which saves you time on your project. Because the operating crew already knows what they’re doing, you also don’t have to worry about hiring new employees or retraining your existing team to handle operations. This can help you create a safer workplace where you can focus your time, budget and efforts on other areas of your job.

Full-service crane companies, including General Crane, offer around-the-clock availability throughout the year, so you can work when you need to.

2. There Are No Upfront Buying Costs

When you buy a crane rather than renting it, you are responsible for securing the money you need for the initial purchase. You also have to account for the fuel, storage, transportation, maintenance and insurance of that equipment. If you’re a small or new company, this can be a substantial investment that may not be the most beneficial for your situation.

When you rent a crane, you can choose when and how long you need that equipment around your work site. Instead of a large investment, you only pay for the duration of time you’re using it. The company you work with will take care of the details, allowing you to concentrate your time and money on your project. When renting equipment, you also never have to worry about that investment depreciating over time.

Crane hire cost depends on several factors, including the type and size of the crane, the duration of your rental period and the company you work with. You have the freedom to customize your rental by choosing cranes with special features and attachments. If you only need a crane for a few tasks around your site, renting is often the most economical decision.

3. The Company Takes Care of the Crane

Full-service crane companies take a lot of stress and responsibility off your plate. When you work with a crane company, they’ll take care of:

  • Storing the crane somewhere safe.
  • Inspecting, servicing and maintaining the crane.
  • Making replacements and repairs.

Some companies, like General Crane, also offer 24/7 emergency service, so you can get the help you need when you need it.

4. They Are Fully Insured

When project managers set out to buy a crane, one of the most significant roadblocks can be insurance coverage. When you own your equipment, you’re responsible for contacting your insurance company about whether or not the crane will be covered. In most cases, this means altering or purchasing additional coverage. Otherwise, mistakes and malfunctions can be very costly.

When you work with a full-service crane rental company, they already have all the necessary licenses and insurance to operate the machine. If the crane malfunctions or a mistake happens around the worksite, they have it covered. This means you don’t have to worry about insurance paperwork and choosing new policies. Plus, you have the peace of mind that your project is safe and on the right track.

5. It’s a Good Way to See What You Like

If your project or business model includes owning a crane someday, using a crane company might still be a great option to start. When you rent equipment, you get the chance to experiment with different manufacturers, crane types and sizes, attachments, optional features and more. This lets you see what you like, dislike, need and want in a controlled, cost-efficient environment. By using your rental to your advantage, you avoid investing significant capital into a machine that might not be exactly what you’re looking for.

Renting before owning is also a good way to see the day-to-day logistics of owning a crane. You’ll get a better idea of how they operate, the best way to store them and what you need to consider and finalize before purchasing your own.

Should I Buy or Rent a Crane?

Should you buy or hire a crane? The answer depends on your specific circumstances, needs and available resources:

  • Frequency of use: Do you require a crane for a one-time job or single task, or is it an ongoing need? Will you use the crane in your daily operations? If so, how many tasks do you expect to use it for each day? If you only need a crane for a few projects or a brief interval of time, renting may be the better option.
  • Available resources: Take a close look at your existing resources. Do you have the available space to store your crane? Does that storage area have high ceilings to accommodate the height of the machine? Do you have the necessary capital to make a large investment? What about ongoing expenses, like fuel, maintenance and repairs? The more resources you need, the more you’ll have to invest to own a machine. Renting eliminates many of these concerns, making it an easily adaptable option for all types of projects.
  • Crew experience: Do you or your crew members know how to operate a crane, or will there be a learning curve? Is operation training in your budget? Are you working under a tight deadline that may not give you the flexibility to learn a new piece of machinery? If you don’t have the experience, time or crew necessary for owning a new machine, partnering with crane hire companies is a great way to meet your needs.

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Contact General Crane for Your New England Project

Investing in a crane can be an expensive, time-consuming venture. When you choose to work with a full-service crane rental company like General Construction Crane Service, Inc., you don’t have to worry about extending your insurance, retraining your crew or securing storage and maintenance for a new machine. Instead, our hardworking crane operators are available to help you get the job done and offer years of industry experience and training. Customize your crane rental to fit your project needs, and let us take care of the rest.

Contact a General Crane representative to learn more and request a quote today.

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Safe Crane Operation: 5 Top Crane Safety Concerns

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As a pivotal piece of industrial equipment, cranes are powerful hoisting and lifting machines that come with an enormous amount of responsibility to operate safely. Crane operators need extensive training to learn how to control their machinery properly, and they also require unwavering dedication to safety.

All crane operators must understand the most common crane accidents resulting from typical crane safety hazards. Each time a crane is in use, operators must run through a mandatory crane safety checklist to prevent property damage, injury and loss of life.

Common Crane Safety Hazards

Sadly, injuries from working with cranes often result in fatalities. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) says that from 2011 to 2017, there were 297 fatal crane accidents, for an average of about 42 deaths annually.

Crane incidents can be devastating. As with most industrial incidents, crane accidents typically involve operator error. Operator mistakes happen for many reasons, whether due to improper training, distraction, fatigue or, in serious cases, intoxication from drugs and alcohol. Being aware of the common crane accidents can help minimize operator errors, allowing crews to think and act fast, potentially saving lives.

In addition to using common sense, all operators and crew members must follow crane safety standards defined by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) regulations for cranes and crane operators. Here are the top five dangers of working with cranes that all operators and workplace managers should plan and train for:

1. Electrocution

Electrocution is a grave crane safety hazard that crew members should take extremely seriously. All workers, including the operator, are responsible for spotting for electrical hazards. Given the heights that cranes reach, the crane’s boom could make contact with overhead power lines. When this happens, the electrical current can travel along the boom, into the material line and through the tagline, eventually running directly through the worker securing the tagline.

One of the most important safety tips for crane operators to follow is to have local utility technicians mark off overhead lines with safety flags. This improves visibility and hazard awareness for crane operators. Employers must also always establish a safe distance between the crane’s operating site and any power lines. At a minimum, cranes must be handled with 10 feet of clearance from the power line. This distance includes the fully extended load.

2. Falling Loads

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When most people think of crane accidents, they imagine a massive load being dropped from the crane at its maximum height. This is a genuine danger of crane operation that all worksite managers need to prepare for.

Falling loads happen for many reasons. Firstly, when the load isn’t properly rigged up or secured to the crane’s load line, the material can slip. If the load isn’t properly balanced, it can offset the machine’s center of gravity, causing tipping. Another possible danger occurs when the primary load line or a tagline is compromised. Without the full support of an intact cable, the load destabilizes, and one or more lines might eventually give way and release the load.

Two-blocking can occur when the operator doesn’t allow for sufficient slack when extending the boom. This results in excessive tension in a cable and causes the load to snap off. Another factor for operators to consider is the weather conditions. When cranes operate in harsh elements, loads that aren’t correctly secured with taglines can become unstable due to the wind’s force and uncontrollable swinging.

A final way for falling loads to happen is when the load is simply over capacity for what the crane is designed to handle. Riggers must follow OSHA regulations for cranes by knowing the load weight and capacity, followed by adequately rigging and shackling the load. Operators also bear the responsibility of smoothly controlling the load to prevent falling.

The operator must ensure proper mechanical functioning through inspections, maintenance and repairs to avoid mechanical failure that could increase the risk of falling loads.

3. Struck-By Hazards

Struck-by hazards are one of OSHA’s fatal four incidents, meaning they are a common and deadly, yet preventable, type of construction accident. With crane operation, the risk of struck-by accidents comes from the crane’s swinging movements. When the crane is either hoisting or moving a load, an unprepared worker may be struck by swinging parts.

The BLS data from 2011-2017 indicates that of the 297 fatalities that occurred within this timeframe, 52% of the deaths involved struck-by incidents. Nearly 27% of these struck-by deaths happened when the worker was hit by a load that fell from a moving crane.

4. Caught-In/Between Hazards

Caught-in/between hazards are another one of OSHA’s fatal four construction accidents. With crane operation specifically, caught-in/between accidents happen when a worker is physically pinned or compressed by the crane’s swinging superstructure or crushed by its moving parts.

Every piece of construction equipment — from a simple skid steer loader to a massive industrial crane — has moving parts, and moving parts create pinch points. The most important step any construction company can take to prevent caught-in/between accidents involving cranes is to provide, teach and enforce two-way radio communication between the operator and ground workers.

Ground workers are most at risk of being compressed in pinch points, so they need to know when the operator begins operating the crane — especially when they start moving its swinging parts or driving it forward or backward.

5. Transportation Incidents

Transportation-Incidents

A final and often overlooked danger of working with cranes is the hazard involved in transporting cranes to and from worksites. These incidents are often referred to as the fifth hazard in OSHA’s list of fatal four. Cranes are enormous rigs, often needing to be driven long distances on industrial vehicles to reach their destinations. Crane transportation is a slow and cumbersome process where many things can go wrong, from collisions to runovers to brake failure.

From 2011 to 2017, over 13% of fatal crane accidents occurred during transportation. Oversized loads like cranes are dangerous and can fatally injure workers who aren’t sufficiently trained or aren’t following crane safety standards for transportation.

Trust General Crane for Safe Crane Work

All industrial contractors share a common goal of crane work safety. On construction sites, everyone puts their safety in their fellow workers’ hands, giving each person the responsibility of following their crane safety checklist.

Crane operating requires significant training and experience to prevent all the above dangers, which is why DIY crane operation is strongly discouraged. Sadly, in many fatal cases, the primary causes of injury were attributed to inexperienced crane operators. For this reason, all contractors must know the value of hiring an experienced crane company with certified crane operators. Using the services of a professional crane company limits your liability, protects your business financially, prevents property damage and, above all, saves lives.

Trust your next crane job to a full-service crane company. Choose General Construction Crane Services, Inc., for your next crane rental. We provide impeccably maintained cranes, and you’ll also benefit from our highly trained and certified operators who have an impressive incident-free safety record. Call us today at 860-528-8252 or contact us online for a quote for full-service crane rentals in New England.

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10 Reasons to Use a Full-Service Crane Hire Company

reasons to hire full-service crane company

When you need a crane on your job site, you have a few options. Yes, you could buy or rent a machine and operate it yourself, but there’s another solution. Instead, work with a crane service company that provides a team of skilled workers in addition to a crane rental. A full-service company provides you with the equipment you need for your project and a knowledgeable team to run the machinery.

Not sure if you should hire a full-service crane company? It’s a big decision for your worksite and one that will come with a vast array of benefits. Check out the top 10 reasons to hire a full-service crane company below to help make your decision an easy one.

1. Experience

Running a crane requires a lot of experience. Crane operators have training and experience with a specific machine and general crane operations, and that experience brings other benefits to your site.

If you were to bring a crane expert onto your team permanently instead of hiring a full-service crane company, you’d have plenty of costs to cover. Crane experts need additional licensing, recertification and training that you’d have to pay for. Instead, work with a company of trained professionals who have the necessary certifications and training.

2. Efficiency

Experienced professionals bring efficiency to a job site. When crane operators know what they’re doing, they do it well and efficiently. When you hire a crane company that’s reliable, you’re sure to get that efficiency throughout your project. You’ll work with a team that understands how essential it is to be timely on a worksite, and that enhances your ability to work efficiently.

3. Safety

Again, experience provides another benefit. In this case, knowledge and experience operating a crane make your job site a safer place. A credible crane service company will have policies in place that involve training for crane operators and employees. That ensures everyone on a worksite handles equipment properly and stays safe. You could see fewer reported incidents, fewer accidents and other problems. That’ll make your team look reliable and trustworthy.

4. Cost and Time Savings

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Buying heavy machinery is expensive. When you hire a full-service crane company, you’ll avoid up-front buying costs. Instead, the cost of your equipment is that of a rental. If your company only needs cranes on certain occasions, don’t put all your money into buying one. While the rental cost will vary depending on who you work with and what you need, renting a crane will be more cost-effective than purchasing one.

Full-service crane companies can also handle the logistics for labor and delivering your equipment. They could acquire the necessary permits for parking and street closure if your worksite requires it, as well. That’ll save you time and money on your job site, and you’ll only have to focus on your crew and machinery.

5. Maintenance and Storage

When you own your machinery, you’re responsible for any and all maintenance, care and storage. When you rent a crane, you don’t have to worry about pricey inspections or upkeep, which saves you even more money as a bonus. You also don’t have to worry about storing the machines you rent. A full-service crane company will take the cranes away when the job is done, giving you one less thing to pay for and think about.

6. Insurance Liability

With a crane operator on your team, you risk various liabilities. If they make a mistake or your crane breaks down, you could have costly consequences on your hands. With a reliable crane company, you’ll work with a full-service team that has their own insurance. Find a fully-insured company that covers any damage or accidents that happen and cut down on your job site liabilities.

A reliable crane rental company should also have little to no reported incidents. That shows a dedication to safety and quality work, which again cuts down on liabilities.

7. Material Transportation

If you get the right crane for your job and work with a qualified operator, moving materials around your job site will be more efficient. An experienced operator will lift, stack, store and move materials with ease, and they’ll help you pick the right crane for the job.

A qualified operator from a crane rental company will move materials efficiently and carefully. They’ll consider how they transport the materials, evaluating how the placement could impact walkways or common areas. An operator will also take special care around power, water and gas lines.

8. Versatility Across Jobs

full-service crane company versatility

Whether you and your crew specialize in one area or complete a variety of jobs, rent a crane from a full-service company. You’ll get versatility for various job sites, letting you take on projects you may not have been able to before. Work on anything from small to large sites, demanding jobs to simpler ones, thanks to your access to specialized equipment and services. Working with a full-service company to get a crane with an operator gives you access to various machines without having to buy each kind.

9. Expanding Your Team

When you hire a full-service crane company, you expand the abilities of your team. You can take on various jobs and tackle different tasks with your new temporary team members. With a credible company, the professionals you expand your team with will bring knowledge, experience, safety, efficiency and other useful qualities to your site.

10. 24/7 Emergency Service

Find a crane rental company that’s available every hour of the day, every day of the week. You’ll get emergency service when you need it and quick answers to your questions. Quick response means you can meet your project’s needs efficiently and have a quicker turnover time.

Hire General Crane for Your Crane Needs in New England

Trust General Crane for your crane service in Connecticut, Massachusetts and surrounding states. At General Crane, we’ll only send experienced crane operators to your worksite, no matter how big or small your job is. Our goal is to provide safe and dependable service at every job that needs a crane rental in CT and neighboring states. Plus, our team has over 100 years of combined experience working with a large selection of cranes, ideal for a variety of jobs.

If you need a crane company in Connecticut, hire General Crane today. Contact us for more information about our crane rental and operator services.

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The Three Biggest Dangers When Moving Steel

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Erecting and moving heavy materials can be a matter of life and death.

No matter the job, big or small, every construction site presents its own challenges and dangers. But when it comes to moving heavy materials, the cost of a mistake can be a serious injury or even death. Having an experienced professional crane operator is vital for the safety of both the crew and everyone else on or near the worksite. Make sure your operator is well-versed in handling each of these three critical areas.

Load management

A crane operator must be well aware of the capabilities of the equipment he or she is using. Attempting to lift a load that is too heavy for the equipment can lead to a catastrophic accident, including the tipping of the crane. Additionally, the operator must understand load balance and how weather conditions might affect the lift. You’ve probably seen video footage of the nightmare scenario when a steel girder goes slightly off balance or gets caught in a gust of wind. The shifting weight can lead the girder to spin like a helicopter blade! An experienced operator, coupled with the right equipment for the job, will minimize the risk of accidents like these.

Falling

Naturally, one of the worst things that can happen when a crane is lifting any materials is for the load to fall. At the very least, it causes financial loss because of the damage to the material and to whatever it lands on—but you know that the risk to human life is much greater than that.

Always ensure that your crane provider utilizes properly maintained equipment that is regularly load-tested. You also need an operator who understands how to secure all shapes and sizes of heavy loads. Ask questions, and make sure you are working with a company with a full understanding of proper load handling.

Electrical hazards

The load isn’t the only thing that must be considered when utilizing a crane. Obstacles on the job site must be planned around, as well—and among the most dangerous obstacles are high-voltage power lines. If any metal part of a crane (or the load on a crane) comes in contact with a power line, it can kill not only the operator but also multiple people in the vicinity of the crane.

Analyzing a site before beginning a job and creating a safe plan is crucial. Make sure you are working with a company with experience planning for a variety of site layouts and obstructions, and get a clear understanding of the plan before the job even begins.

Safe lifts can be accomplished with the right equipment and the right operators. General Crane’s team will work with site engineers and general contractors to come up with the right plan, and our operators will provide the necessary hands-on experience to help keep everyone safe on the job site.

 

 

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What’s Your Sign?

The right size crane can help even a small business get their signage done right.

When you think about a construction job that needs to utilize a crane, you probably think about something big. You’ve no doubt seen major construction projects like high-rise buildings or gigantic solar panel installations with massive cranes on site, moving materials into place. But construction cranes can be of value in much smaller applications, too.

General Construction Crane recently partnered with a restaurant to help them get their exterior signage erected. We were able to provide the right size crane for the job, and because we are experienced in jobs of all sizes, we were able to complete the job quickly, safely, and efficiently.

It might not seem as important as an enormous steel girder or a large RTU located a long distance into a roof, but building signage can be large and expensive. Why take chances? Utilizing not just any crane, but the RIGHT crane, can save you money and protect your investment.

General Crane has been fulfilling crane rental needs large and small for nearly fifty years, so you can trust us to be able to provide the right piece of equipment for your job. And, just as important, our experienced operators have worked on all kinds of installations. Even if your space is tight and your sign is relatively small, we know how to get it installed right.

We understand that small businesses like restaurants have to watch their budgets closely—and we value the trust they place in us. Our operators can help get their signage and awnings in place quickly and safely, saving them money and getting their businesses looking sharp and customer-ready as soon as possible. No matter what size your job, contact General Crane and find out how we can help you.

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Public Construction Jobs Are a Public Trust

Municipal projects need experienced crane operators as much as for-profit ventures do.

Municipalities and governmental organizations have many of the same concerns as private sector companies when it comes to construction projects. They need to be efficient and safe, and they have to get the job done on time. The difference—government specifications can often be incredibly strict, and the projects are usually being done with public funding and for the benefit of the community at large. So if something goes wrong, it is the public they must answer to.

How can a municipality be sure they are getting the safest, most reliable crane service? In southern New England, they can turn to General Crane, a leading provider of cranes and crane operators for nearly fifty years. One municipality recently turned to us for tree work. The costs involved with their previous service provider were simply too high because that company required too much time to complete work. With the expertise we offer, we were able to be more efficient with our time, saving the town’s taxpayers’ money.

We understand your responsibility to the public. Mistakes or malfunctions can cause expensive delays, and on a municipal project, delays are both frustrating and highly visible. And, of course, public safety is of paramount concern. General Crane’s experienced operators understand how to safely perform even the most difficult hoisting and lifting moves, keeping both crew members and the general public out of harm’s way.

Just like we do with our private sector projects, General Crane takes into account critical deadlines, cost concerns, and safety planning with all our municipal jobs. When you are working for the public good, you can’t cut corners! Trust a company with the experience to do the job safely, on time, and on budget. Contact General Crane to find out more!