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CROSS Safety Report

Design wind loading for tower cranes

Report ID: 132 Published: 1 January 2009 Region: CROSS-UK

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A report from a major contractor concerns wind loading on tower cranes.

Key Learning Outcomes

For civil and structural design engineers:

Full Report

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The Full Report below has been submitted to CROSS and describes the reporter’s experience. The text has been edited for clarity and to ensure anonymity and confidentiality by removing any identifiable details. If you would like to know more about our secure reporting process or submit a report yourself, please visit the reporting to CROSS-UK page.


A report from a major contractor concerns wind loading on tower canes. They say that tower cranes used in the UK predominantly come from manufacturers in continental Europe.  These cranes and their foundation loads are designed using the local design standards, typically the DIN standard. 

These standards consider wind speeds across continental Europe, but do not consider wind speeds across the British Isles, which can be significantly greater than for continental Europe. The reporter’s firm has issued a business wide alert and changed its procurement system to ensure that all tower cranes and their foundations are designed for the wind load at the location of use. 

They have taken this up with their crane suppliers who are providing the necessary information but understand that others within the industry may not be doing the same.

Expert Panel Comments

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Expert Panels comment on the reports we receive. They use their experience to help you understand what can be learned from the reports. If you would like to know more, please visit the CROSS-UK Expert Panels page.

Tower cranes are large and important items of plant. Recent history has demonstrated a number of serious concerns in various parts of the world. In the UK this has led to an advice note on their use produced by the Strategic Forum (Initiatives to Improve Health and Safety in Tower Cranes).


Early consideration by design teams is also required to ensure that cranes are designed to withstand local condition and wind actions and be appropriately certified under the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations (LOLER). The UK is one of the windiest areas in the EU and CROSS would welcome more reports on wind loads relating to imported equipment.


Two years ago, a luffing jib crane collapsed in Liverpool and as a result one worker was tragically killed, and the driver of the crane was injured. Following an investigation, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) wrote to all UK crane hire and supply companies asking them to take forward recommendations in an HSE technical report which sets out the most likely explanation for the collapse.

This document ‘Report on technical aspects of HSE’s investigation into the collapse of a luffing tower crane at a Liverpool construction site on 15th January 2007’ is now available. The possibility of wind effects as a contributory cause is mentioned. General advice is given in the following documents:


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