OK, firstly a question. Raise your hands if you have heard of the Beaufort Wind Scale, or to give it its full title, the Beaufort Wind Force Scale? Hmmm……. impressive…… that’s quite a few of you! Let's have a reminder :
The Beaufort Wind Force Scale is an empirical measure that relates wind speed to observed conditions at sea or on land. The scale was devised in 1805 by the Irish hydrographer Francis Beaufort (later Rear Admiral Sir Francis Beaufort), a Royal Navy officer, while serving on HMS Woolwich.It is often referred in the plant and access hire industry, for the assembly of scaffold towers or powered access machinery.
But, what this got to do with lighting towers?
Well if you compare the stated certified wind stability of your chosen lighting tower against the Beaufort scale this will give you a standard to judge whether it’s safe to continue working with the lighting mast fully erected. Let me give you an example: The Trime X-ECO LED has a 9 metre vertical mast. The manufacturer has independently certified a safe wind speed up 110 k/hm. This means this particular lighting set can continue to operate up to scale 10, which Beaufort describes as “Storm/Whole Gale”.
Whilst the X-ECO LED and its counterparts have undergone this testing, my advice is to drop a scale. So, if the weather conditions are nearing scale 9, then it’s time to drop the mast and stop work. Anyway, in a ‘Strong Gale’ situation it’s fairly unlikely that you will be able to continue work on a site with stuff blowing all over the place. However, on an event, such as a festival, it is comforting to know that your lights are going to stay upright even in some of the most challenging conditions.
In conclusion, firstly always check with the manufacturer or your hire company what the maximum certified safe wind speed is and make sure that your people on site know what the limit is. Print off a copy of the Beaufort scale and put it with the operating instructions or risk assessment. Tell them to adhere to this and all will be OK. Of course, if there are any doubts, always err on the side of caution and drop the mast and switch the lighting tower off.
If you have any questions the good folk at Trime UK are always on hand to offer advice on this and anything related to lighting towers. They have a combined 50 years’ experience and they are ready to impart it!