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S T D - B S I B S 7121: P A R T 5-ENGL 1997 üb25432 T O 1


Part 5 : 1997

Code of practice for

Safe use of cranes

Part 5. Tower cranes

ICs 53.020.20

_ - ~

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BS 7121 :Part 5 : 1997

Committees responsible for this

British Standard
The preparation of thisBritish Standard was entrusted to Technical Committee
MHE/3, Cranes and demcks, upon which the following bodies were represented:

Associated British Ports

Association of Lorry Loader Manufacturers and Importers
British Iron and Steel Producers’ Association
Building Employers’ Confederation
Constsuction Plant-hire Federation
Electricity Association
Engineering Equipment and Materials Users’ Association
Federation of Manfuacturers of Construction Equipment and Cranes
Federation of Wire Rope Manufacturers of Great Britain
Health and Safety Executive
Institute of Logistics
Institute of Mechanical Engineers
Institute of Occupational Health and Safety
Institute of Plant Engineers
Institute of S t r u c m Engineers
Lifting Equipment Engineers Federation
Lloyd’s Register of Shipping
Safety Assessment Federation LM.

The foliowing bodies were also represented in the drafhng of the standard, through
a subcommittee:

Amalgamated Engineering Union (Constmction Heaìth and Safety Group)

Federation of Civil Engineering Contractors
Institute of Civil Engineers
Oil and Chemical Plant Contractors’Association Ltd.

This British Standard, having

been prepared under the
direction of the Engineering
Sector Board, was published
under the authoriw of the
Standards Board and comes into
effect on
15 July 1997

O BSI 1997
AmdNo. Date Text affected

The foliowing BSI references

relate to the work on this
Committee reference MHEí3
Draft for comment 92/71042 DC
ISBN O 580 25805 X

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S T D - B S I B S 7121: P A K T 5-ENGL 1777 E L b 2 4 b b 9 U b 2 5 4 3 4 A B 4

BS 7121 : Part 6 : 1997


Committees responsible Inside front cover
Foreword 11

Code of practice
1 scope 1
2 References 1
3 Definitions 1
4 Management of the lifting operation 1
6 Planning the lifting operation 1
6 Selection and duties of personnel 2
7 Attributes of personnel 2
8 Selection of tower cranes 3
9 safety 11
10 Siting of cranes 12
11 Erecting, dismantling and aiteration of height 13
12 Procedures and precautions 14
13 operating conditions 15
14 Testing and examinaton 15
16 Legai requirements 16
16 Ropes 16
17 Slinging and handling of loads 16
18 Raising or lowering of personnel 16
19 signalling systems 16
20 m g and guying 16
21 Signboards
" 16
A (informative) Specimen copy of informaîion sheet RA 195 published by
the Radio Communications Agency 17
1 Qpesoftower 5
2 mes of jib 6
3 mesofbase 8
4 Low mounted tower crane 10
~~~ ~

List of references Inside back cover

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BS 7121 :Part 5 :1997


This Part of BS 7121 has been prepared by Technical Committee MHE#. It provides
recommendations for the safe use of tower cranes. It should be used in conjunction
with BS 7121 : Parts 1and 2, to which specific references are made.
It is in the interest of all parties involved in lifting operationsto ensure that these
operations are carried out efficiently and safely. This Part of BS 7121 has been written
to provide recommendations for the safe use of the tower crane at all stages of its
This Part of BS 7121 is commended to owners and users of tower cranes, who are
encouraged to observe all the recommendations, and where possible, upgrade emsting
equipment and operating procedures accordingly.
Whilst it is recognized that the recommendations given do not relate to the design and
manufacture of tower cranes, designers are strongly advised to take them into
This Part of BS 7121 is one of a series of standasds entitled Code of pmcticefor safe
use of c r a m as follows:
Partl. GfYnEmL
Part 2. Inspection, testing and exurnimttion
Part 3. Mobile cranes1)
Part4. Lorryloaders
Part5. Towercmnes
Part 6. Derriclc munes1)
Part7. íhwhedunderhung tmvding and goliath mm')
Part 8. High pedestal and portaE jib cranes1)
part 9. Container h a d i n g maw')
part 10. RU~Jmounted cmnesl>
part 11. ûfls/tm-emnesl)
It has been assumed in the draffing of this British Standard that the execution of its
provisions is entrusted to appropriately qualified and experienced people.
A s a code of practice, this British Standard takes the form of guidance and
recommendations. It should not be quoted as if it were a specification and particular
care should be taken to ensure that claims of compliance are not misleading.
Annex A is reproduced with permission of the RadioconununicationsAgency.
Attention is drawn to relevant legislation and, in pAcular, to statutory requirements
for the testing and examination of cranes.
Compliance with a British Standard does not of itself confer immunity
from legal obligations.

Summary of pages
This document comprises a &ont cover, an inside h n t cover, pages i and ii,
pages 1to 18, an inside back cover and a back cover.

i) in preparation.

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BS 7121 :Part 5 : 1997

Code of practice

1 Scope 4.2.2 Other particulars

This Part of BS 7121 gives recommendations for the On sites where there is more than one tower crane
safe use of tower cranes. It should be read in and there is a possibility of collision between cranes,
conjunction with BS 7121 : Park 1and 2. a person, the crane coordinator (see 6.3.2), should
plan the sequence of crane movements to prevent
Subjects covered include planning the installation, collisions. Any corresponding instructions from the
erection, testing, maintenance, operation and crane coordinator to the crane drivers should be via
application, dismantling, and transportation, as well the respective signallers. In such circumstances the
as safety measures to be taken during the execution signallers should obtain the agreement of the crane
of all the above functions. coordinator before canying out any operation.
It also covers the appropriate selection of personnel Where tower cranes inter-arc, a vertical distance
for safe use of tower cranes. should be maintained to prevent collisions. This
NOTE. Reference is made to different types of tower crane and it distance should be either:
should be noted that these types are often combined, for example,
seìf-erecting, raiimounteà, luffing jib. a) a minimum clearance of 3 m; or
b) a minimum clearance of 600 mm plus the
2 References manufacturer’s deflections where full details are
available from the manufacturer.
2.1 Normative references The positioning of the crane and components in the
This Part of BS 7121 incorporates by dated or out-of-service condition, as specified by the
undated reference, provisions from other manufacturer’s instructions, should be such that no
publications. These nonnative references are made collisions can take place (see 12.4b).
at the appropriate places in the text and the cited
publications are listed on the inside back cover. For 4.3 Duties of the person appointed to control
dated references, only the edition cited applies; any the lifting operation
subsequent amendments to or revisions of the cited Reference should be made to 3.3 of BS 7121 :
publication apply to this Part of BS 7121 only when Part 1: 1989.
incorporated in the reference by amendment or In the interests of safety the appointed person
revision. For undated references, the latest edition of should arrange the lifting programme such that no
the cited publication applies, together with any one driver has to be in attendance at the control
amendments. station or actually operating the crane for an
2.2 Informative references unreasonably long period, taking into account
environmental conditions. The driver should have
This Part of BS 7121 refers to other publications that breaks from the working activity in line with other
provide information or guidance. Editions of these personnel on the site.
publications current of the time of issue of this
standard are listed on the inside back cover but 4.4 Contractual considerations
reference should be made to the latest editions.
4.4.1 Contract lfling operations
Reference should be made to 3.4.1 of BS 7121 :
3 Definitions Part 1: 1989.
For the purposes of this Part of BS 7121 the 4.4.2 User’s duties when using hired cranes
definitions given in BS 7121 : Part 1: 1989 apply,
together with the following: Reference should be made to 3.4.2 of BS 7121 :
Part 1: 1989.
zoning device
An electromechanicaYelectronic device to control
the zone in which a tower crane works. 5 Planning the lifting operation
6.1 General
4 Management of the lifting operation Reference should be made to clause 4 of BS 7121 :
Part 1 : 1989.
4.1 Safe system of work
Reference should be made to 3.1 of BS 7121 : 6.2 Other particulars
Part 1: 1989. If the slinger or signaller is required to carry out a
liftiig operation which is outside the existing plan,
4.2 Control of the lifting operation the appointed person should be alerted. The
4.2.1 General appointed person should delay that particular lifting
Reference should be made to 3.2 and 3.3 of operation until a plan can be prepared for it.
BS 7121 : Part 1: 1989.

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6 Selection and duties of personnel 7 Attributes of personnel
6.1 Selection 7.1 Crane driver
Reference should be made to 6.1 of BS 7121 : Reference should be made to 6.1 of BS 9121 :
Part 1: 1989 and 6.1 of BS 7121 : Part 4 : 1997. Part 1: 1989.
6.2 Duties Tower crane drivers can be required to climb to
considerable heights and to spend long periods of
6.2.1 Crane driver
time in isolation. Thii should be borne in mind when
Reference should be made to 6.2.1 of BS 7121 : selecting tower crane drivers.
Part 1: 1989.
7.2 Slinger
6.2.2 Slinger
Reference should be made to 6.2 of BS 7121 :
Reference should be made to 6.2.2 of BS 7121 : Part 1: 1989.
Part 1: 1989.
7.3 Signaller
6.2.3 Signaller
Reference should be made to 6.3 of BS 7121 :
Reference should be made to 6.2.3 of BS 7121 :
Part 1: 1989. Part 1: 1989.
6.2.4 Crane erector 7.4 Crane erector
Reference should be made to 6.2.4 of BS 7121 : Reference should be made to 6.4 of BS 7121 :
Part 1: 1989. Part 1: 1989.
6.2.6 Maintenance personnel 7.6 Maintenance personnel
Reference should be made to 6.2.6 of BS 7121 : Reference should be made to 6.6 of BS 7121 :
Part 1: 1989. Part 1 : 1989.
6.2.6 Crane coordinator In addition, the maintenance personnel should be:
The crane coordinator should plan the sequence of a) fully conversant with the appropriate sections
operations of tower cranes on sites having more than of the manufacturer’s instruction m a n w
one crane, to ensure that cranes, components and b) familiar with the ‘permit to work system where
loads do not collide. it is required by the safe system of work, and able
to operate it correctly;
6.2.7 Crane erection supervisor
c) familiar with all aspects of their personal
NOTE 1. The crane erection supervisor is the ‘erector in charge’, protective equipment and capable of using it
as detaileà in 5.2.4 of BS 7121 : Part 1 : 1989.
The crane erection supervisor should have the
responsibilities of a crane erector plus the following. 7.6 Crane coordinator
a) The crane erection supervisor should be in The crane coordinator should be:
control of ali crane erectors and of any additional a) competent;
cranage and lifting equipment which may be used b) over 21 years of age unless under the direct
in the erectionldismantling operation. supervision of a person competent for the
b) The crane erection supervisor should provide a purposes of training;
means for ensuring that the operation is carried c) fit, with particular regard to eyesight, hearing,
out in accordance with the crane coordinator’s reflexes and agility;
plan. d) experienced for at least five years in the use of
c) Additional cranage and equipment should be in tower cranes;
accordance with that specified and properly e) trained in the techniques of signalling and with
certified. a good understanding of the signai code in
d) All erectors should be equipped with the figure 2 of BS 7121 : Part 1: 1989;
necessary tools and personal protective equipment. f ) capable of giving precise and clear verbal
NOTE 2. The appointed person (see 3.2 of BS 7121 : Part 1 : 1989) instructions where audio equipment (e.g. radio) is
retains overall responsibiiity for the erectioddkrnantling
operation, including the planning. employed, and capable of operating such
If the crane erection supervisor has to leave the site equipment in accordance with 19.2.
of the operation, even for a few minutes, he or she 7.7 Crane erection supervisor
should appoint another member of his/her team to The crane erection supervisor should have the same
be in charge during the period of absence, in order attributes as the crane erector and:
to prevent any ambiguity as to the control of the
operation. a) have at least five years’ experience in the
NOTE 3. The crane erection supervisor should attempt to remain erection and dismantling of tower cranes or
on site throughout the whole of the erectioddkmantiing similar equipment, and be trained in the
operation. supervison of such operations;

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BS 7121 : Part 5 : 1997

b) be fuily conversant with the manufacturer’s 8.3.3 L m n g j i b

instruction manual for the particular crane (see The jib angle can be changed to reposition the load
note); at various radii. The jib may be single- or
c) be trained in the control of personnel carrying multi-component, and if multi-component, may be
out the duties of erecting and dismantling tower articuiated (goose necked) or telescopic. Due to the
cranes, and in ensuring that all persons use their varying out-of-service conditions for these cranes
personal protective equipment correctly; particular care should be taken to observe the
d) have knowledge of the certification manufacturer’s instructions (see 12.4b).
requirements for all equipment used. 8.3.4 Fixed radius j i b
NOTE.The crane erection supervisor should be in possession of The radius at which the load is carried cannot be
the manufacturer’s instruction m u a i for the particular crane.
varied. Fixed radius jibs are usually only available on
small tower cranes (self-erectors and similar), and it
8 Selection of tower cranes is generally desirable to be able to travel the crane in
order to move the load.
8.1 General
8.4 Types of base (see figure 3)
Selection of a tower crane for a particular liftiig
operation should be considered by taking the 8.4.1 Expendable base
following into account The crane is mounted on special foundation anchors
a) clause 7 of BS 7121 : Part 1: 1989; or an expendable tower section, cast into a concrete
b) prevailing wind-speeds, which can restrict the foundation block. (see figure 3d).
use of tower cranes in certain locations; NOTE. It is important that the foundation anchors or expendable
tower section are installed withii the maker’s tolerance of
c) principal features of the common types of tower accuracy to ensure that the erected crane is within operational
crane, as described in this Part of BS 7121. limits.
NOTE. Sîatic and mobile tower cranes are available in a wide 8.4.2 Crane base structure
variety of types and conñgwations according to the particular
combination of tower, jib and type of base which they employ. The crane stands on its own base structure with
individual cranes can comprise almost any combination of the ballast (cil1 base) or with its base structure bolted
features shown in figures 1 , 2and 3. down to a concrete foundation block (cruciform
8.2 Types of tower (see figure 1)
base). With this arrangement a larger area of ground
floor space is taken up and, therefore this type of
Tower cranes have either a non-slewing or slewing base is not always acceptable on small sites.
tower. With a non-slewing tower, the slewing ring is Where the base is secured by ballast blocks there
situated at or near the top of the tower and the jib should be a notice attached detailing the position
slews about the vertical axis of the tower, which and weight of the blocks, and that the blocks should
itself remains stationary. With a slewing tower, the be adequately secured to prevent accidental
slewing ring is situated at the bottom of the tower displacement. The ballast arrangement should not be
and the whole of the tower and jib assembly slews altered after the crane has been tested, for
relative to the base of the crane. constructional or any other reasons (see 9.4.10).
Where non-slewing towers have to be tied to a fixed
structure, it is imperative that the manufacturer’s 8.4.3 Non-crane structure
instructions are followed. The ties should be A base provided by a structure which is not a normal
designed by a competent person to withstand the part of the crane (e.g. part of a bridge, a building or
loads specified by the manufacturer, and be attached structure provided specifically for such a purpose).
to a structure capable of withstanding the imposed 8.6 Types of tower crane
8.6.1 Climbing crane
8.3 Types of jib (see figure 2) A climbing crane is a tower crane that may be
8.3.1 Horizontal trolley j i b altered in height after initial erection. Where the
The jib is held by tie bars or ropes in a horizontal or crane remains on its original base this may be
slightly raised position, and the hook is suspended achieved by the use of internal telescoping
from a troiley which moves along the jib to alter the equipment or external climbing frames. Another type
hook radius. A suitable allowance needs to be made of climbing crane can ascend through a structure
for deflection when calculating the clearance using a climbing frame, the supported crane being
between adjacent cranes (see 4.2.2). provided by the surrounding structure.
NOTE. This type of crane requires less initiai outlay due to the
8.3.2 Inclined trolley j i b reduced quantity of mast required, but it has disadvantages in that
the stnicture needs to have adequate strength and rigidity to carry
The inclined trolley jib is similar to the horizontal the imposed loads, and the mast through the middle of the
trolley jib except that the jib may be set at a structure may interfere with the completion of the structure.
significant angle of inclination. Consideration should also be given to the dismantling of the crane
once the structure is completed.

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8.6.2 Rail mounted tower crane 0.6.6 Crawler mounted tower crane
A rail mounted tower crane is mounted on a chassis Some tower cranes mounted on a crawler base have
frame which is supported on rail wheels which are means of self-levelling. They are equipped with a
usually double flanged. There can be four single sensing device to detect verticality. The seif-levelling
wheels on smaller machines or more usuaiiy four function has a limited range of correction and great
double wheel bogeys. The wheels or bogeys can care should be taken when travelling over uneven
have special mountings to enable the crane to ground. Crawler mounted cranes without
negotiate bends. Rail mounted tower cranes may be self-levelling should not be moved over uneven
of any of the types described in 8.2 and 8.3. Stability ground when erected.
is normally obtained by means of ballast weights
which should be adequately secured to prevent 8.6.6 Micro tower crane
accidental displacement or removal, and the detail of Micro tower cranes are tower crane units complete
the ballast should be on the notice near the base of for mounting on the top of either a special mast or a
the crane giving the crane capacities. hoist mast. "hey usually have a radius of
NOTE.Rail tracks for tower cranes are in 10.3.2. approximately 6 m, a safe working load always
under 1000 kg and are remote controlled. Micro
0.6.3 Lorry mounted tower crane (see figure 4) tower cranes are generally used for offloading
A lorry mounted tower crane is mounted on a truck materials and placing within a limited area of a
or lorry chassis. These are particularly suitable when building.
considerable inter-site mobility is required. Extra 8.6 Remote controls
care should be taken in ensuring that outriggers,
jacks, etc., are adequately supported for their Where cranes are available with remote controls,
imposed loads. care should be taken in their use for the following
8.6.4 Wheel mounted tower crane a) The crane driver has no 'feel' for the machine
Some very small capacity tower cranes are available and could, under certain circumstances, be
on trailer mounts with pneumatic tyres. These tempted to handle the machine more dangerously
machines need to be towed into position and should than if the crane were operated via a cabin
be properly mounted on their outriggers or jacks control.
before erection or use. The manufacturer's erection b) Infra-red remote control may be unreliable on
instructions should be scrupulously observed and if tower cranes if the receiving sensor rotates with
the operator is to erect and dismantle this type of the crane and thus loses alignment with the
crane, he or she should be specifically trained and transmitter.
have the athibutes of an erector (see 7.4).
NOTE. Remote controls have one main advantage in that the
crane driver can be at a point of safety when the crane is in use,
especially during overload testing.

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BS 7121 : Part 5 : 1997

a) Fixed tower

b) Slewing tower
Figure 1. Types of tower

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STD.BSI BS 7121: P A R T 5-ENGL 1 9 9 7 E LL2LibbS Ob25441 TLLi m

BS 7121 :Part 5 : 1997

Fweá section of tower


a) Saddle (horizontal) jib

b) Luffing jib
Figure 2. Types of jib

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/- Trolley moves along boom

m c) Fïxed jib

d) Rear pivoted luffing jib

Figure 2. Types of jib (continued)

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BS 7121 :Part 5 : 1997

Sleepers Rail

\ I

a) Travelling base (raii type)

b) Cill base
Figure 3. Types of base

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BS 7121 :Part 6 : 1997

Ballast weights

Cruciform base ballasted

Anchorage fixings

Cruciform base unballasted

c ) Cruciform base

of crane tower


d) Expendable base
Figure 3. Types of base (continued)

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Figure 4. Lorry mounted tower crane

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9 Safety which may interfere with each other’s freedom of

movement. Such devices should limit the slew, the
9.1 General trolley motion, or the travel motion of the crane to
Reference should be made to clause 8 of BS 7121 : ensure that coilision between the structure of one
Part 1: 1989. crane and the rope or load of another crane is
9.2 Personal protective equipment
NOTE.It may be considered preferable to have these devices
9.2.1 Personnel whose duties include working at equipped to warn or give information to the driver, rather than
heights on tower cranes should be provided with the interfere with the operation of the crane.
necessary safety equipment, e.g. safety harnesses, as Where t r a g cables run between one crane and
well as lifelines or similar equipment to attach to another, consideration should be given to the means
safety equipment. required to protect them adequately against
Such personnel should be instructed in the correct interference or accidental damage.
use and maintenance of such equipment and 9.6 Other safety provisions
instruction should be given regarding the specific
occasions and circumstances when these items are 9.6.1 Lightning protection
to be used. Tower cranes should be completely and correctly
9.2.2 Personnel should be advised when and where
helmets should be worn with respect to the Reference should be made to BS 6651 and BS 7430.
Construction (Head protection) Regulations, 1989 [i]. 9.6.2 Base ballast design
Heimets with chin straps should be used when When concrete ballast needs to be provided,
working at heights. particularly in the case of new tower cranes, it is
9.2.3 Personnel working on tower cranes should important that the ballast should either:
wear suitable footwear for climbing structures. a) have been constructed in accordance with the
9.3 Fire extinguishers crane manufacturer’s design and specification; or
Reference should be made to 8.6 of BS 7121 : b) be of a design which has been approved by the
Part 1: 1989. crane manufacturer, and effectively secured.
Tower cranes should be equipped with appropriate Only ballast blocks having markings showing their
types and quantities of fire extinguishers, which correct weight should be used.
should be easily accessible to the driver. 9.6.3 Counterweight ballast
The driver and any other personnel likely to be in Counterweight ballast should be constructed and
the cab should be adequately trained in the use of marked in accordance with 9.6.2. Since the
such fire extinguishers. counterweight ballast is at height and the blocks
9.4 Crane safety equipment have a tendency to rub together during crane
operation, precautions should be taken to prevent
Tower cranes should be provided with the following spilled concrete from falling (e.g. by containment in
as a minimum: a metal box or frame).
a) automatic safe load indicator, in accordance
with 8.7.1 of BS 7121 : Part 1 : 1989; 9.6.4 Alarms
b) load radius indicator, in accordance with 8.7.2 R ail mounted tower cranes should be fitted with an
of BS 7121 : Part 1: 1989; audible travel alarm.
c) motion limiting devices, in accordance with 9.6 Documentation
8.7.3 of BS 7121 : Part 1 : 1989
d) overload cut-out devices, in accordance with 9.6.1 General
8.7.4 of BS 7121 : Part 1 : 1989 Reference should be made to 8.8 of BS 7121 :
e) level indicator, in accordance with 8.7.6 of Part 1 : 1989.
BS 7121 : Part 1: 1989; 9.6.2 Erectioddismantling and transport
f ) anemometer, in accordance with 8.7.6 of
All stages of transportation, erection and dismantling
BS 7121 : Part 1: 1989; of tower cranes should be thoroughly documented
g) machinery guarding, in accordance with 8.7.7 from initial enquiry to the final acceptance by the
of BS 7121 : Part 1: 1989; user organization.
h) zoning devices.
Zoning devices may be applied to a single tower 9.6.3 Drivers’ documentation
crane where there is an area which it should not Records should be kept of tower crane drivers’
oversail during operation, or over which it should training and experience, including such certificates
not cany loads. The principal use of zoning devices, of training as may be available.
however, is where there are two or more cranes

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9.6.4 Medical records c) panoramic and similas cabs of which the top
Records should be kept of any medical examination part may be opened, conform to the Construction
for lifting operations personnel. (Work places) Regulations, 1966, Regulation 28 [3].
9.6.6 Plans and method statements
The plan or method statement for the erection of
10 Siting of cranes
tower cranes should be retained throughout the 10.1 General
duration of a crane’s service on any one contract, Reference should be made to clause 9 of
together with calculations and plans for the tower BS 7121 Part 1: 1989. Attention is drawn to 4.2.2 of
crane base. this Part of BS 7121.
NOTE. It may be necessary to refer to these in the event of a 10.2 Ground conditions
change of construction in the come of the contract requiring
alterations to be made to the crane. Where tower cranes are to be erected close to the
foundations of existing buildings or buildings to be
9.7 Access and cab safety constructed, the appointed person should ensure that
9.7.1 General the ground is consolidated as required by the
if personnel need to be present on the crane whilst designer.
the machine is in use, they should always inform the Where disturbance to the ground has occurred in the
driver. construction of adjacent foundations, a retaining wall
NOTE. It is recommended that access to tower cranes should be should be constructed or deeper foundations used
prohibited to personnel whose presence is not essential, wherever for the tower crane.
10.3 Tower crane foundations
9.7.2 Crane access 10.3.1 Expendable base blocks
The appointed person should ensure that ladders, Minimum dimensions for any expendable base block
rest platforms and other means of access are in together with the overturning moment and other
accordance with current regulations and standards. loadings during operation and out-of-service
The erection supervisor should ensure that access conditions should be as specified by the crane
equipment is correctly installed progressively as manufacturer.
erection proceeds, so that the erection team have the Having obtained from the crane manufacturer the
benefit of their use. Particular attention should be loads imposed by the crane (noting that these may
paid to: be nett and exclusive of any impact of safety
a) ladder joint bolts, factors), the foundation should be designed by a
b) guard rails, particulaxly on rest platforms and competent engineer so that the ground bearing
inspection platforms; capacity is not exceeded, including that caused by
c) access from ground to the foot of the lowest overturning moments.
ladder or to the chassis of the crane; Where the base design limits the free standing height
d) access from levels of the construction to the of the crane, the maximum permitted free standing
crane. height should be marked at the base of the crane
and entered into the documentation.
9.7.3 Jib and counterjib access
10.3.2 Rail tracks f o r tower cranes
Access to and along jibs and counter jibs for
inspection and servicing should be made safe. Rail track should be made of suitable materials and
Catwalks should be provided with handrails. Where strict control should be exercised to ensure that it is
lifelines are provided, a suitable device should be not in any way abused.
used in codunction with the harness to permit full NOTE. Rail track requires expertise in its design, layout and
installation, particuìarly if it is to be curved.
passage along the jib without detachment.
The area between the tracks should never be used
NOTE. Personal carrying cages attached to the trolley may
provide suitable aiternative safe access along the jib. for the storage of materiais or for access to, from or
across the site. The total area of the rail tracks
9.7.4 Cab sqfety should preferably be fenced off to prevent access by
The appointed person should verify that: unauthorized persons.
a) vision panels in the floor of cabs or at the If there needs to be a point at which vehicles cross
driver’s feet, in such a position that they may have the rail track, this should be carefully controlled to
to withstand all or part of the driver’s weight, are prevent accidental collision, and precautions should
guarded, for example by a mesh of adequate be taken to ensure that the track is not overloaded
strength to carry a person’s weight over the area by the vehicles crossing it.
concerned; The gauge of rail tracks should be maintained by
b) window panels in walls of cabs are protected suitable means, e.g. tie bass.
against being knocked outwards to prevent Rail tracks should not be welded or subjected to
persons falling through the aperture; heating.

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End stops or buffers should be positively futed to the 11.3 Control

rail and precisely adjusted to ensure that the crane In the case of erection and dismantling of tower
makes contact with both sides simultaneously. These cranes, the person appointed to control the lifting
end stops should be shock absorbing or sprung, and operation should also take control of any additional
should be moved hard against the crane chassis if crane which may be used in the course of such an
the machine is to be used in a static position for any operation, and be familiar with details of that crane,
period of time. Rail stops should not be taken into to facilitate the carrying out of the duties, as detailed
account when calculating the stability of the in 3.2 and 3.3 of BS 7121 : Part 1 : 1989.
He should also ensure that the operation is under the
Rail clamps which the crane manufacturer may constant supervision of the crane erection
provide to prevent the crane fi-om roiling along the supervisor.
track in storm conditions should be fitted whenever
the machine is out-of-service. If clamps are not 11.4 Planning for erection and dismantling
supplied, adequate means should be adopted to NOTE 1. The plan for the erection and particuiarly the dismantling
achieve the same result. of tower cranes requires careful consideration. Most organizations
who erect tower cranes, either for themselves or for others, utilize
Rail tracks of all types require periodic inspection, some form of pro forma or check list to ensure that nothing has
and should any defect or out-of-level become been overlooked at the planning stage.
apparent, corrective action should be instigated A plan for the erection or dismantling of tower
immediately. cranes should be drawn up by a person or persons
10.3.3 Special base having actual experience of these operations. The
plan should deal with the following:
Where the particular application calls for a special
base arrangement, e.g. structural steelwork, then the a) the format in which the crane is to be
appointed person should ensure that the base k. transported to the site;
a) designed by a competent engineer, allowing for b) the selection of cranes that will be required to
any appropriate factors (e.g. impact, dynamic), assist in the erectioddismantlingprocess,
with the details of the design verified by a especially considering the removal of components
competent third party; from a height; e.g. when removing a section such
b) constructed in accordance with the design.
as a jib from an erected tower crane, the assisting
crane wiil be carrying the entire load with no
opportunity for safely replacing it once the
11 Erecting, dismantling and attachment pins have been removed. in this case it
alteration of height may be desirable for the crane to have some
excess capacity to allow for any error in the
11.1 General slinging of the component concerned or its sudden
Reference should be made to clause 10 of BS 7121 : release. Under no circumstances should the crane
Part 1 : 1989. used in the dismantling operation be used to break
Erection, dismantling and alteration of height of a load free. A method of jacking should be used to
tower cranes should not be undertaken after dark. prise the load free after the initial tension is taken
by the crane;
11.2 Personnel c) the availability of access to the site for the
The erection, dismantling and alteration of the height vehicles involved in transportation as well as the
of tower cranes should be carried out by specialist crane(s) used for erection;
personnel under the continuous control of the crane d) the ground conditions for the erecting crane;
erection supervisor and in accordance with the
manufacturer’s instructions. This supervisor should e) the free standing height to which the crane will
be given the authority to stop the operation if he or be erected
she considers such action is warranted by ground f ) proximity hazards. Attention is drawn to 9.3 of
conditions, weather, obstructions or any other cause. BS 7121 Part 1: 1989;
The crane erection supervisor should be in close g) any specialized Wing gear that will be required
liaison with the site management and should in the course of this erection;
carefully consider any comments or warnings that h) liaison with occupiers of neighbouring
management, any members of the site team, or any properties;
other appropriate person or body may make. i) contact with local authorities or other bodies
NOTE. The management may consider that this supervisor is the requiring statutory notification;
appropriate person to be appointed to control any lifting
operations (see 3.2 of BS 7121 : Part 1 : 1989). j) arrangements for any necessary road closures;
k) the provision of a radio licence where required,
available from the appropriate authorities;

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1) the availability on site of a comprehensive Bolts used to secure slew races should be renewed
maker’s erectioddismantlingloperationmanual, in whenever they are removed. They should only be
the language most readily understood by the tightened in accordance with the manufacturer’s
erection team. instructions.
NOTE. It is desirable that this information is available in advance
of the operation so that the personnel concerned may familiarize 11.9 Working area
themselves with the content. The area in which a tower crane is to be erected or
11.6 Inspection before erection dismantled should be roped or fenced off and all
personnel not immediately connected with this duty
All parts should be inspected prior to erection to
ensure they belong to the crane being erected and should be excluded.
are in good condition, free from defect.
Slinging points should be identified for all 12 Procedures and precautions
components. 12.1 General
NOTE. Under certain circumstances it may be advantageous to
carry out an inspection of the tower crane before it is delivered Reference should be made to clause 11 of BS 7121 :
from the supplier to the user. Part 1: 1989.
11.6 Weather 12.2 Working on cranes
Tower cranes should not be erected or dismantled in For tower cranes likely to sway or slew in the wind,
weather conditions likely to affect the stability of the appropriate precautions should be taken to prevent
crane, e.g. high winds (reference should be made to people from being displaced from their place of
the manufacturer’s instructions for the maximum work by this movement, or being trapped by a
permissible wind speed for these particular rotating centre section of a tower crane under such
operations) or under conditions of impaired conditions.
visibility, e.g. fog.
NOTE. More stringent restrictions on wind speed appiy to
12.3 Working at heights
heightened cranes. A safe system of work should be used, in accordance
This type of work should be avoided if the with 3.1 of BS 7121 : Part 1: 1989.
conditions (e.g. ice on component parts, walkways) 12.4 Leaving the crane unattended
are likely to endanger the erectors.
When a tower crane is to be left unattended for even
11.7 Manufacturer’s erection and dismantling a short period, it is essential that the following
instructions precautions are carried out.
Reference should be made to 10.2 of BS 7121 : a) No load should be left on the hook, and all
Part 1: 1989. chains, slings, etc. should be removed.
NOTE. Many tower crane manufacturers lay down specinc b) The crane should be put out of service in
inspections and checks to be canied out in their erection and
dismantling manual. For example, it is important to ensure that accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.
the lubrication requirements of tower joint bolts are met before NOTE 1. In nearly every case, this will involve turning the jib
applying torque. downwind and taking some action to ensure that the slew
brake is left off, so that the crane is free to slew in the wind.
11.8 Components and materials
NOTE 2. In the case of saddle jib cranes it is usual practice to
11.8.1 Interchangeabilitu of components bring the trolley or carriage to a minimum radius position.
Tower crane jibs may infringe air space when left in the
The interchange of structural components between out-of-service condition.
one tower crane and another should onìy be
c) In the case of luffing jib and similar cranes, the
permitted if the manufacturer has given approval.
manufacturer’s instructions concerning the angle
Having carried out such an interchange, a tower of the jib for out-of-service purposes should be
crane should be retested in its new combination, and strictly observed (see 8.3.2).
the interchanged parts should be specified on the
test certificate. d) Rail travelling cranes should be well secured to
the rails, to make sure that in the event of a high
11.8.2 Materials wind the crane cannot be blown accidentally along
Most tower crane parts are made from special steels the rails. When left for long periods (e.g.
and no repair or replacements other than overnight), the power supply to the crane should
manufacturer’s specification should be permitted. be cut off and the door of the cab secured and
Welding or other heat treatments should be carried locked.
out under the manufacturer’s specified conditions. e) When a power supply is required to be
The re-use of high tensile bolts should be strictly in maintained overnight for cab or control cabinet
accordance with the manufacturer’sconditions. heaters, lights etc., separate arrangements should
be made for the isolation of the power supply to
High strength friction grip bolts should not be the machinery.

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13 Operating conditions starting work with the crane until the temperature
has risen sufficiently to cause a natural thaw.
13.1 General Personnel in the vicinity should be warned of the
Reference should be made to clause 12 of BS 7121 : likeliness of large lumps of ice falliig during the
Part 1: 1989. thawing.
NOTE 1. Horizontal jib tower cranes are more prone to excessive
13.2 Mode of operation and control loading from snow and ice than most other types of crane.
As the most common variation in mode of control NOTE 2. When there has been an excessively heavy fall of snow
encountered between different makes and models of this should be carefully removed from the jib and counterweight
tower cranes is the procedure for stopping the jib before putting the crane into service.
slewing motion, it is essential that the crane driver is 13.6.4 Examination following adverse weather
made aware of which method of Carrying out this conditions
duty is applicable.
After exposure to weather likely to have affected the
NOTE. Failure to use the correct method can result in excessive stabiiity of a crane, the anchorage arrangements and
structuraì stress on the crane as weii as causing failure in the
electrical systems. ballast should be examined by a competent person
It is strongly recommended that the largest as soon as practicable and before the crane is used,
practicable bold notice should be displayed in the and any necessary steps taken to ensure the stability
cab (in addition to the manufacturer’s instruction of the crane.
book) detailing the method of stopping the slew. NOTE. Attention is drawn to The Construction (Lifting operatioos)
Regulations, 1961, Regulation 19 (7) [2].
13.3 Multiple lifting Whilst the above examination is being carried out
Tower cranes should not be used for multiple lifts. the whole structure should be adequately inspected
to ensure that it has not suffered any damage or
13.4 Special duties condition likely to lead to failure in the course of
Tower cranes should not be used for carrying out bad weather.
special duties such as grabbing, lifting by magnet,
balling operations, pile driving, or extracting.
14 Testing and examination
13.6 Vacuum lifting devices
14.1 General
Reference should be made to 12.6.3 of BS 7121 :
Part 1: 1989. Reference should be made to clause 13 of BS 7121 :
Part 1: 1989.
Tower cranes may be used with vacuum liftiig
devices provided that the weight of the device plus Clause 14 of BS 7121 : Part 2 : 1991 should be studied
the weight of its load does not exceed the safe in detail before any attempt is made to test a tower
working load of the crane. crane.
NOTE. The manufacturer may recommend some de-rating of 14.2 Age and utilization
cranes for this duty.
Tower cranes are not designed for a high intensiw of
13.6 Weather usage. Should a crane have been subjected to such
usage, consideration should be given to the use of
13.6.1 General
non-destructive testing to detect possible fatigue
No crane should be used or erected under weather cracking. The assistance of the manufacturer or
conditions likely to endanger its stability. design authority should be sought to determine the
Reference should be made to 12.6 of BS 7121 : vulnerable parts of the structure.
Part 1 : 1989. Usage or storage of the crane in a corrosive
Attention is drawn to 11.6 of this Part of BS 7121. environment may also cause deterioration of the
crane structure and this may require more extensive
13.6.2 Wind examination.
The manufacturer’s in-service wind speed should be Fatigue damage and corrosion are also likely to be
strictly observed and cranes should be put out of present on older tower cranes, which may require
service in accordance with the manufacturer’s more detailed examination and testing as described
instructions as soon as this wind speed is reached. above.
In-service wind speeds should be carefully checked Older cranes may remain serviceable, but particular
in the manufacturer’s instructions before putting a attention should be given to these aspects on cranes
crane into operation. more than ten years old.
13.6.3 Snow and ice 14.3 Certification of cranes
Heavy accumulations of ice can make access along Reference should be made to 13.1.2 of BS 7121 :
the jib extremely hazardous, and under these Part 1: 1989.
conditions consideration should be given to not

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14.4 Personnel safety 19 Signalling systems
Attention is drawn to 3.2.4 of BS 7121 :
Part 2 : 1991 which points out that a test may fail and
19.1 General
all personnel not essential for the test should be kept Reference should be made to clause 19 of BS 7121 :
away from the area In this connection, it should be Part 1: 1989. Due to the distance between tower
noted that if a crane is equipped with remote cranes and other personnel it is important that clear
control, then this should be used for the purpose of systems of identification and communication are
carrying out the test with the driver in a safe used.
position. Attention is drawn to 8.2 of BS 7121 : Part 1: 1989.
Attention is also drawn to clause 14 of BS 7121 : 19.2 Radio communications
Part 2 : 1991 which recommends that a clamp or
similar device should be attached to the jib to limit Guidelines are given in annex A.
the radius of the trolley when carrying out a
maximum load test. Where safe access is not 20 Tying and guying
available to fit or remove the clamping device
alternative safe means of limiting the radius of the In certain circumstances a crane should be tied to
tsolley should be adopted. the structure it is constructing, or held by guy ropes
for any one of the following reasons:
a) to obtain a height in excess of the available
15 Legal requirements free-standing height;
Reference should be made to 14.1 and 14.3 of b) to restrict the movement of the tower when
BS 7121 : Part 1: 1989. With regard to specific available space is limited;
legislation, users of this Part of BS 7121 should c) to comply with the requirements of the
acquaint themselves with the current national
occupiers of adjacent properties, e.g. railways.
legislation that applies to the provision, maintenance,
examination and use of tower cranes. In any of these cases the tyindguyjng arrangements
should be in accordance with either the
manufacturer's approval or calculations carried out
16 Ropes by a competent engineer.
Reference should be made to clause 16 of BS 7121 :
Part 1: 1989. 21 Signboards
Signboards, decorations, outline lights, etc. can
17 Slinging and handling of loads impose additional loadings on the crane and should
Reference should be made to clause 16 of BS 7121 : not be fitted unless approved by the crane
Part 1: 1989. manufacturer.
Electrical supplies to such equipment should be
18 Raising or lowering of personnel restricted to 55 V max. Wiring should be protected
against damage and should not create a h-d to
Reference should be made to clause 17 of BS 7121 : personnel.
Part 1: 1989.
Tower cranes generally conform to the statutory
requirements for raising or lowering of personnel by
cranes, but due to the extra height often involved,
special care should be taken to prevent the swing of
the cradle carrying personnel, which could, in turn,
cause the cradle to spin. It is not generally
practicable to attach a tag line or similar equipment
to such a cradle, and it is suggested that a cradle
which is rectangular or square in plan would be
easier to control when bringing it alongside a
structure or building on which the occupants may be
required to work.
Care should be taken to ensure that the cradle is
kept clean and in good condition and is not used to
carry any tools, loads or equipment which may make
a foothold difficult for the occupants.

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BS 7121 :Part 5 : 1997

Annex A (informative) Although, as the building goes up, the b a n h m wiii

increasingly be liable to transmit nom a raised position
Specimen copy of information sheet he could stiU have transmissions blocked by the
RA 196 published by the Radio building in a particulas direction. The crane is likely to
Communications Agency be above the construction and able to freely transmit
NOTE.This publication is reproduced here for the convenience of in all directions throughout the duration of the work
the reader, but the reader is advised to check if this has been The area where it will be hardest to penetrate is the
superseded and, if so,use the latest edition issued by: opposite side of the building should it be necessary to
The Raàiocommunications Agency operate in that area
South Quay Three
189 Marsh Wall Safer radio techniques
London E14 9SX 1) Signalling systems
The use of CESS (Continuously Tone Controlled
Radiocommunications for ‘hwer Cranes Signalling System) or another form of Signalling
will help lessen the effects of sharing. They can
Introduction not, however, soive the problem. As a crane wiil
%wer cranes often require communication as a means receive signals from a large catchment area, tones
of signailing to ensure safe operation. This infomation will oniy reduce the transmisions which the
sheet provides advice on the use of radio. crane driver has to listen to.
Radio installation and operation in this environment 2) Special techniques
calls for the observance of special requirements. Any There are several engineering techniques available
radio system mounted high up on a stnicture is likely which will alleviate the problems. These range
to receive and cause interference to other users over a from directional antenna or other means to
wide radius unless it is carefully engineered. Since restrict range which confine the radiation
there are only a limited number of radio channels verticaiiy between operator and banksman to
available, it is likely that a crane will be sharing a radio Merent types of communication on the up and
frequency within the same conurbation, and in worst down paths.
cases on the same construction site. It is necessary, It is possible to superimpose the radio traffic over
therefore, to engineer a ‘clear’ channel. the mains voltage. A leaky feeder from the rear jib
A number of approved techniques have been will limit the radiation pattern. Whilst these are
developed to provide clear channeis. The consequence excellent solutions it should be noted that both
of not adopting one or more of these is that safety of systems have been patented.
life could be put at risk both on the construction site The use of a magmount aerial, because it is omni-
and elsewhere for other services using radio. directional, will freely radiate. This causes
problems in that communications wili be
The Problem transmitted and received over a wide area. It is,
When a radio is used at ground level surrounding therefore, essentiai to reduce as far as possible the
buildings and ground clutter soak up some of the radius for both transmission and reception.
signals and reduce the distance over which the signais 3) Call signs
can be received Any radio located high up on a crane One very simple way to improve the safety
is able to lmnsmit into free space and will be aspects of radio communication is to use call
receivable many miles away signs at the start of the message. When there is a
At first sight this does not seem too much of a danger that a radio frequency could be shared
problem as most of the t a l h g is done by the with another crane, and messages wili be of a
banksman and the crane driver is mainly listening. similar nature, a unique call sign is a useful tool to
However, not every banksman is located at ground ensure that a message is acted upon only by its
level and often he wiìl obtain just as good propagation intended recipient. Another reason why they
as the crane driver. should be used is that when an interference
W o communications between banksman and complaint is received, the Radio Investigation
controller pose different propagation problems as Service can more easily identify the users involved
constsuction progresses. On the construction site, the when call signs are used. There is much that
building itself may act as an obstacle to proper radio contractom could do to help by ensuring their
communication and it may not therefore be possible to crane operators use call signs and explaining the
reduce the output power to prevent interference to benefits to them. It is &o a licensing requirement.
others. Often reducing output power does little to
contain transmissions into free space but prevents
communication into parts of the building such as a lift

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BS 7121 :Part 5 : 1997

me of n'equency
The Agency can allocate either a single or dual
frequency channel. If a crane is going to be at a site
for a considerable amount of time the user will require
a licence and it wili be necessary for the Agency to
assign a channel. However, if the duration of the
contract is less than twelve months, equipment may be
hired from a Short Qrm Hire licensee.

Licensing requirements
The use of all radio must be licensed but users are free
to choose either a single or dual frequency and the
system employed The Radiocommunications Agency is
not concerned about which particular system is chosen
provided that interference to other users is kept to a
minimum. Engineering trials have shown that it is
possible to share frequencies much closer than had
previously been thought possible providing the systems
are carefully engineered.
In defining what does or does not cause unacceptable
interference, it has been decided to define a maximum
signai strength at a distance from a crane no matter
which techniques are employed. This shall be a
maximum of 48 dB/uv per metre measured at 2 lan
h m the crane at a height of 3 m above ground level. It
is not intended that every crane radio should be
required to conform with this figure. It would not, for
example, be necessary in areas of the UK where use of
radio communications is relatively light. However, if an
interference complaint is received, and the offendmg
radio system does not conform to these parameters
then it will be necessary for that system to be
reengineered so that it does conform.

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S T D - B S I BS 7121: P A R T 5-ENGL 1797 L b 2 4 b b 7 Ob25954 b72 =

BS 7121 : Part 6 : 1997

List of references ( ~ e eclause 2)

Normative references

BSI publications

BS 6651 : 1992 Code of practice for protection of structures against lightnirq

BS 7121 Code of practice for safe use of c r a m
BS 7121 : Part 1: 1989 General
BS 7121 : Part 2 : 1991 Inspection, testing and examination
BS 7121 : Part 4 : 1997 Lorryloaders
BS 7430 : 1991 Code of practice for earthing

Informative references
[ 11 GREAT BRITAIN. The Construction (Head protection) Regulations, 1989. London: HMSO.
[2] GREAT BRITAIN. The Construction (Lifhng operations) Regulations, 1961. London: HMSO.
[3] GREAT BRJTAIN. The Construction (Work places) Regulations, 1966. London: HMSO.


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