Making sure that decent mats (sometimes called spreader plates) or timbers are always under the crane’s, aerial lift’s and larger telehandler’s outriggers or wheels/tracks is an essential part of crane operation and safety.
Multiple outrigger positions, capacities and load charts add superb versatility to a crane or work platform, allowing set up and operation in tight spaces. However this extra capability, when added to the wide range of counterweight choices and other stability related limits on the working envelope, does create a complex web of permutations. And as you might expect a wider range of set-up configurations leads to a much greater chance of making a mistake that results in an overload situation which can so easily prove fatal, and is always costly.
What to do
Technology however is catching up fast, as are regulations and standards. On the technology front an increasing number of products are now equipped with fully automatic outrigger sensors which are linked into the machine’s load management system. With machines increasingly able to sense if the outriggers have been extended and to what degree, another possible operator error has been plugged, moving even more focus on to consideration of the ground conditions under the outrigger foot/ pad.
This is not something which can easily be handed over to electronics. It is an area that will always remain firmly in the operator’s hands – at least for routine day-to-day lifts. The operator’s knowledge and experience will increasingly count for most of the difference between a successful job or an overturning incident and all the ramifications that this can bring. An operator must always analyse the ground conditions around the entire lift, planned and plotted the cranes horizontal movement, and made stability a priority with spreader plates or crane mats.
Available at all Paterson Simons branches.
Use the handy plate calculation tool here: https://www.manitowoccranes.com/en/Resources/tools/Outrigger-Pad-Load-Calculators or call us on for assistance with the tool +44 1273 625969.