What is a Lift Plan?
May 11, 2021
The lift plan is fundamental in ensuring a heavy lift is properly planned, resourced and organised so that lifting operations are carried out safely and efficiently. In this article we look at what needs to be done to compile a lift plan if you are doing it yourself, or what you should expect in a lift plan from your contractor.
Planning a lift
A lift plan encompasses risk assessments, method statements and other relevant information such as drawings, schedules and photographs. It is a site-specific document outlining everyone’s roles in the lifting operation to ensure a lift is carried out successfully.
The lift plan will include a method statement as well as technical information on the crane set up and other relevant information about the lifting operation such as ground conditions, access to the site, etc.
It needs to include a risk assessment so all hazards are identified and a plan is put in place to negate them.
Importantly, it will name all those involved and the roles they have to play in the lifting operation. This ensures everyone knows exactly what each person is doing on the day and that this is thought about in advance so that all qualifications can be checked to make sure everyone has the experience necessary to carry out their required roles.
It should also contain an emergency plan for the worst-case scenario.
What exactly should a lift plan contain?
Depending on the complexity of the lift, some of the sections of a lift plan might be more important than others and demand more emphasis. That will be up to the Appointed Person who is responsible for compiling the plan.
- Title page
This should clearly state the lift it is referring to so that there can be no confusion with other similar lifts.
- Critical lift plan
This is often the most important element of the lift plan itself as it is site specific, gives you information on the load and on the crane. It includes the lift calculations and highlights the thought process in terms of ground bearing pressure, wind speed, lifting location, etc. This ensures that you have the right crane for the load that you are lifting and the appropriate lifting gear.
This section also includes a place for the crane operator and crane supervisor to sign off to show that they have read the details. It’s important that both sign off on the plan so that they are fully aware of what they are lifting and the configuration needed for the crane itself.
Engineering drawings can be simple or as detailed as required. For example, for some lifts the drawing might be a straightforward plan and elevation and in other cases there may be several drawings needed. It really depends on what is needed to communicate the information across to the team in the best way possible.
Drawings are a lot more than just about showing a picture of the crane on the page. They can illustrate information such as where you can and can’t slew, the direction of slew and site boundaries. Site photos can also be added to help understanding.
CAD drawings will be done to scale and include where the crane needs to be set up by measuring off fixed points on site and marking the working radius of the crane(s). If relevant, drawings may also have information on exclusion zones.
- General site information
This section and the pre-lift information section below should contain all the relevant information needed for those going on to site. Every site has its own process for gaining access, induction requirements, Covid safety requirements, hours of working, speed limits, etc, as well as the general site rules and regulations.
It should also contain details of the site safety officer and other contacts within the site, as well as the emergency procedure in the event of an evacuation, even if it’s something that’s happening outside of the lifting operation. For example, if there was a fire on the other side of the site, what do contractors need to do.
- Pre-lift information
In addition to the general site information, this section will include specific client contact information, who you call to go in or to come out of site in the evening, expected duration of works, agreed rules on wind speed and weather, etc.
- Method statement
The method statement lays out the sequence of activities to be carried out. It identifies the personnel involved in the lift operation, their specific roles and their qualifications.
- Risk assessment
The risk assessment identifies the potential hazards and risk control precautions that need to be observed when carrying out the heavy lift. The Appointed Person assesses the risks posed by the hazards identified and the actions that need to be taken to negate the risk.
This also includes the activities that everyone has agreed to do to ensure a safe lift, such as organising road closures, turning off the gas / electricity, etc.
Checklists such as wind speed for the crane itself or site-specific checklists that the client has requested as a procedure for being on site that day can also be included in the lift plan if deemed helpful or necessary by the Appointed Person.
- Amendment sheet
This highlights any changes made to the lift plan from the original version. The Appointed Person is the only person who can make amendments to the lift plan.
This section contains all supporting documentation not already included in the lift plan.
What makes a ‘good’ lift plan?
In brief you need to keep the information as clear as possible. Having loads of pages doesn’t necessarily make a better lift plan. People can be easily distracted so it’s important that you get the information across as clearly as possible.
Check that everyone is able to hear the information and all questions and concerns are answered. Make sure everyone involved signs off on the plan. Those involved in the lift need to know that they should not sign anything that they are unsure of.
If you haven’t heard a section of the lift plan, or are unsure of what your role is – don’t sign it. Put your hand up and say I don’t understand that part – can we go through it again? That’s what the lift plan is for…to ensure everyone is clear about what’s required before the lift starts.
And once that’s done, not only will you have a much safer lift, it will be quicker and more efficient as well, and there will be a better atmosphere carrying out the work.
And one last important point… you can never change a lift plan without consulting with the Appointed Person. They have designed the lift specifically with the information they had at the time so if any of that information has changed on the morning of the lift or in advance of it, or you know something has cropped up that changes the situation, then you have to contact the Appointed Person to make that change.
Remember a lift plan has to make sense, it has to be clear and has to be thorough.
If you would like to speak to one of our heavy lift experts or have a lift that you need assistance with, contact us today!
For more information on planning a lift and the safe use of cranes check out the Irish Standard, IS 360:2019 Code of practice: Safe use of cranes in the construction industry or the British Standard BS 7121.