Critical Lifts: What to Know

Get a better understanding of critical lift projects and how ECR Crane & Rigging can make yours happen safely and efficiently


A lift or move is considered critical if it meets or exceeds certain parameters. According to the United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), criteria for a “critical lift” include:

  • when load weight exceeds 75% of the crane’s rated capacity
  • hoisting personnel with the load
  • when damage to the load or surroundings could release hazardous material
  • when damage to the load could result in significant economic consequences, including delays, site damage, or vital data loss
  • lifts requiring more than one crane
  • when the load needs to be moved out of the operator's view
  • any load lifted above a critical item
  • any load requiring exceptional care in handling because of size, weight, fragility, close-tolerance installations, or other unusual factors


It is also at the discretion of a crane operator to apply their experience and training to determine if a lift is critical. Ultimately, responsibility for the critical designation and the required planning and safety protocols lies with the person or persons in charge of the lift/move project. This includes the person responsible for the site and the person responsible for the load being lifted or moved.

ECR Crane & Rigging offers our guidance on this process. We will be happy to review the details of your move to help determine the level of planning and precautions required.

ECR Crane & Rigging Lift Planning

For any critical lift, the first consideration is safety: for the load, the site, the environment, and the personnel involved. ECR Crane & Rigging’s lift planning allows us to accurately predict and simulate the parameters of a lift or move. This helps mitigate the risks and increase the efficiency of your project. We analyze the weight and dimensions of the load; its composition and stability; the distances, sling angles and load vectors involved; ground stability; and any environmental obstructions or hazards. The planning process involves the skilled use of specialized software, and the results identify a range of requirements, which in turn indicate the safest and most economical crane configuration for the lift, including the capacity and number of cranes required.

Learn More