Hoists can be a real boon but need to used with care

A hoist can be a real help when moving or manoeuvring heavy or awkward  items or loads.lifting intro2 However, it is so important that the hoist is safe to use and is used correctly by someone who knows how to use it. Before using a hoist, a visual check should be done to ensure that all visible parts are in good order and that there is no obvious damage to the chains. Proper training is essential for all staff who are to operate the hoist so as to avoid accidents, injuries and expensive law suits. Make sure you are familiar with all the current legislation regarding hoists and lifting equipment.

Hoisting is used to lift and lower loads using a drum or wheel with ropes or chains wrapped around it. Hoists can be powered manually, electrically, or pneumatically. Hoists effectively move heavy and/or awkward equipment, but they require training and safe work procedures.

To operate a hoist, you must be properly trained. Know the rated capacity of your hoist; it should be clearly labeled on the equipment. Read the manufacturer’s operating instructions and warnings. Get training in how to use the hoist machine and how to properly rig and safely maneuver loads. Perform regular maintenance on the hoist and lifting rope/chain.

Conduct daily hoist inspections using a check sheet for recordkeeping. Guards on moving parts should be in place. Inspect hooks for deformations or cracks. Before lifting a load, test the brake stop, and upper and lower limit switches. Watch that the hoist operates smoothly; grinding sounds or vibrations indicate a problem. All operating switches should be properly labeled. Hook travel should be in the same direction as it is labeled to avoid mistakes.

Check ropes and chains for wear, stretch and twisting. Look for areas that have a thinner diameter, frayed fibers/strands or a “bird-cage” where the fibers/strands are lifted away from the core. Check the rope reeving on the drum and sheave grooves to ensure that it is properly seated. Don’t try to lengthen or repair ropes or chains. If hoist parts or operations don’t pass inspection, place it out of service for repair. Click here to continue

Further information

Lifting & hoisting safety recommended practice

A guide to the safe use of hoists in construction