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Wed August 10 2022

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Select study backs white cranes for visibility

20 Jul White tower cranes are less likely to have aircraft crash into them than red or blue ones, according to a study by the white tower crane people.

Tower cranes can be hard for pilots to see, especially at night (below)
Tower cranes can be hard for pilots to see, especially at night (below)

The visibility of tower cranes against city skylines has been topical ever since a helicopter crashed into a tower crane in January 2013 on the St George Wharf Tower, then under construction, in Vauxhall, south London.

The Civil Aviation Authority and the Construction Plant-hire Association have been revising and promoting best practice ever since. Revisions to the CAA guidance, CAP 1096: Guidance to Crane Operators on Aviation Lighting and Notification, come into effect in April 2023.

The CAA recommends that cranes should be made conspicuous by their colour, especially if the crane is not permanently lit. It says: “A review conducted by the CAA determined that the use of a yellow and black (or dark blue) pattern (especially in urban areas) provides the best contrast with the background from the air.”

However, Select Plant, whose tower cranes are painted white, conducted its own study and found that white came out better than red or blue – colours associated with its main competitors.

The Construction Plant-hire Association is disseminating a video produced by Select, part of the Laing O’Rourke group.

The video is available at


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