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Tandem Lift Planning: Tips and Considerations

Tandem lifting is a strategic use of multiple cranes in unison. This technique has revolutionised heavy lifting operations, offering better efficiency and safety across various industries. In this blog, we will unpack the definition of tandem lifting, outline its uses, benefits, and highlighting tips to consider before embarking on a tandem lift.

Understanding Tandem Lifting

Tandem lifting involves the dual efforts of two (or more) cranes to lift loads that surpass the capacity of a single crane. This approach not only addresses the limitations posed by oversized or excessively heavy loads but also provides a reliable solution for intricate projects where precision and safety are paramount.

When is Tandem Lifting Needed?

There are many circumstances where tandem lifting is required. The ability to handle challenging loads efficiently and safely makes tandem lifts a crucial aspect of heavy lifting operations.

  • Weight and Dimension Constraints: Tandem lifting becomes imperative when a load’s size or weight exceeds the capabilities of a single crane. This approach ensures a safe and controlled lift, minimising the risks associated with attempting to lift beyond a crane’s designated capacity.

  • Supporting Other Cranes: Distributing the weight among multiple cranes is a strategic move to minimise accidents during the movement of heavy cargo. Tandem lifts offer significantly higher lifting capacity than single cranes, providing greater stability and minimising safety risks.

  • Moving Ships: Lifting ships presents unique challenges, particularly due to the internal movement of fuel. Tandem lifting becomes necessary to maintain stability during the lift, preventing accidents and ensuring the secure transportation of these massive vessels.

  • Lifting Precast Concrete: Infrastructure projects often require the installation of precast concrete elements like beams, columns, and panels. Tandem lifting is employed to manage the weight and size of these components efficiently.

Risks Associated With Tandem Lifting

There are many risks to navigate when it comes to employing tandem lifting.

  • Risk #1 – Side Loading

    • This can occur whenever the centre of gravity of a load is not located directly under the crane hoist. 

    • Sideloading risks can be mitigated by proper coordination among cranes, ensuring they are in the right sequence during tandem lifting.

  • Risk #2 – Asymmetrical Objects

    • Loads can be higher on one side of the object, leading to uneven distributions of weight. This can in turn cause one crane to exceed its capacity.

    • Calculating proper weight distribution and assessing an accurate centre of gravity ensures a secure tandem lift operation. In some cases, additional rigging equipment like equaliser beams may be required to avoid unequal load distribution during tandem lifts.

  • Risk #3 – Crane Positioning

    • Inexperienced personnel may place cranes in the incorrect position, causing a lack of stability during the lifting operation.

    • Expert supervision will ensure efficient crane placement, enabling a safe and successful tandem lift.

  • Risk #4 – Unexpected Wind Speed Issues

    • Wind speed can impact load stability during lifts, leading to an unsafe lift and worksite conditions.

    • Accurate wind speed assessment is crucial as this can allow the implementation of precautions to prevent any dangerous movements.

Safety Measures in Tandem Lifting

There are many measures undertaken to ensure safety with tandem lifts.

  • Risk Evaluation: Thorough risk assessment before tandem lifting is crucial to identify and address potential hazards. This proactive approach prioritises safety by mitigating risks before they become critical.

  • Assigning Responsibilities: Each team member’s responsibility is made clear, as it contributes to the overall safety of the tandem lifting operation.

  • Step-by-Step Instructions: Providing detailed, step-by-step instructions in lifting plans is paramount for minimising errors and ensuring a safe and organised tandem lift. Clarity in instructions fosters a shared understanding among the team members, reducing the likelihood of accidents.

  • Contingency Plans: Anticipating and planning for unforeseen circumstances through contingency plans is essential to handle emergencies effectively. The ability to respond promptly and efficiently to unexpected challenges is critical for a successful tandem lifting operation.

  • Importance of Proper Usage: Proper utilisation of tandem lifting methods requires careful consideration and necessary precautions to avoid accidents and ensure the safe handling of heavy loads. Adhering to operational guidelines minimises risks during the lift.

  • Coordinated Movements: Tandem lifting involves operating multiple cranes simultaneously, providing increased lifting capacity and the ability to move heavier loads than regular overhead cranes. Coordinated movements are essential for a smooth tandem lift operation.

  • Equipment Considerations: Each crane’s lifting capacity is downgraded to 75% for tandem lifts, emphasising the importance of using similar cranes to ensure coordinated movements. Consistency in equipment ensures a more predictable and controlled lifting operation.

Choose The Crane Experts


St George Cranes has over 25 years of experience in providing cranes for hire across the Sydney Metro region. For service and reliability you can count on, choose us to help you organise and coordinate cranes for tandem lifts, as well as a wide selection of other options. Contact us today to find a tailored solution to your crane needs.

Date posted: January 22, 2024 | St George Cranes