What Is a Crane Load Chart?

Chart for Crane Loading

A crane load chart helps the operator calculate a crane’s lifting capabilities. This chart ensures that the crane that is under operation does not exceed its lifting capacity. Load charts take into consideration how the lift capacity varies when considering the distance and the angle of the lift. The lift is dependent on the configuration of the crane base and the setup of the crane. Boom length, boom angle, and load radius are three critical load chart factors.

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How to Read a Crane Load Chart

Crane load charts have a number of variations depending on the several factors that are related to the information of the lift capacity of the crane, the lift range, boom angle, and more. Here are the major factors that are required to understand a crane load chart.

Lift Capacity

The lift capacity measurement of a crane tells us how much load a crane can lift naturally including the dimension of the load, lift height, and lift angle. The average crane can lift between 10,000 and 60,000 tons.

Lift Range

The load chart diagram will illustrate the required boom length with the given lift distance and height.

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Boom Angle

The boom angle is placed between the longitudinal and centerline of the boom and the horizontal centerline. The crane stability must be considered when determining the boom angle as it may lose balance when lifting a weight larger than the angle might support.


Cranes must frequently move or rotate in order to complete a lift. When determining the feasibility of a lift, it is necessary to consider how far and how fast a crane should rotate. Some lifts necessitate a full 360-degree turn by the crane. If movement is not taken into account, the crane may lose balance and tip over.


To determine the amount of weight a crane can lift, the weight of the crane and its accessories should be deducted from the total weight. The accessories for a crane include:

  • The rigging,
  • The line
  • The ball and jib
  • The block
  • The windspeed and windsail

The net capacity of a crane is dependent upon the nature of the lift and what capacity deductions need to be subtracted from the gross capacity. Examples of capacity deductions can include the weight of the main load block, the weight of the headache ball, the weight of the jib, the weight of all hanging cables, the weight of all rigging materials, and the weight of the load that is being lifted.

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What Is the Bold Line on the Crane Load Chart?

A bold line divides most load charts in half, which shows the separation of structural strength and stability. All capacities listed on one side of the line are limited by the structural strength of the crane, while those listed on the other side are limited by the stability of the crane.

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Below is an example on how to read a load chart.

crane load chart

load chart

load chart

Understanding a Load Chart

According to OSHA, every Crane Operator must know and understand how to interpret a load chart and the crane’s load chart must be on the crane at all times and consulted before each lift. It is not permitted to guess or mathematically calculate in-between chart values.

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How can Total Equipment Training Help Get my Employees Certified as a Crane Operator?

Competent training is extremely important to ensure that the workplace is safe and your employees have a full understanding of the Operation and Safe Use of your heavy equipment. At Total Equipment Training, we send our experienced trainers to your job site and train your employees to operate your equipment specific to your operational requirements and in accordance with OSHA Safety Standards.

Our trainers have accumulated over 10 years of “in the field experience”. Total Equipment Training programs combine classroom and practical “hands-on” instruction tailored to suit your needs and your individual employees. Learn more about our Mobile Crane Training programs.



Barb Fullman- CEO of Total Equipment Training
About the Author

As the owner of Total Equipment Training, Barb Fullman has been an active contributor to the heavy equipment training industry for over 23 years. Barb, a Penn State University graduate, is recognized as the highest ranking women-owned heavy equipment training business in the US. As a leading authority and provider of heavy equipment training, training manuals and tests based on OSHA Standards and Regulations, Total Equipment Trainings’ client list is composed of most of the Fortune 1000 companies focusing on energy, construction, heavy highway, and manufacturing.

Barb’s motto is “Stay safe, stay up to date”. She is committed to up-to-date & technically correct training, whether it is via in-person or through our library of online heavy equipment resources. With over 50 OSHA qualifying training topics to choose from with TET, the most popular heavy equipment training subjects are mobile cranes, NCCCO, all “dirt equipment”, rigging, crane inspections, and train-the-trainer.