Home HSE Articles Hoist Safety Precautions You Must Follow Always

Hoist Safety Precautions You Must Follow Always


Hoist is used to lift and move materials; this is why most people call it Material Hoist. As every tool, it has inherent risks that must be address to ensure that the material movement is done safely, this is where we require to take safety precautions. This is the aspect that will be covered in this article, “hoist safety precautions“.

There are different types of hoists – Electro-hydraulic, manual or lever operated, base mounted, or pendant cranes. These hoists are different in the way they move, but the precautions that should be taken when working with them are similar.

Hazards Associated With The Use Of Hoist

The major hazard associated with hoists is that of failure under load, which may lead to a falling weight or a flailing cable. There is also the potential for crush injury where personnel come between the moving load (or crane) and a fixed object.

This is why the lifting area should be completely cordon off to prevent unauthorized personnel from entering the area.

Hoist Safety Precautions

  1. Always carry out pre-operational checks:

Operators should perform a pre-operation inspection and preparation procedures to identify potential problems, prevent accidents and enhance the safety of the work environment. For hand hoist and lever tools, consult ASME B30.16 (underhung hoist) and ASME B30.21 (lever tools). Make sure the hoist is not tagged with an out-of-order sign.

  • Daily – Inspect hooks, ropes, brakes and limit switches for wear and damage.
  • Before lifting a load – Check the upper and lower hooks to see that they swivel. Replace any worn, damaged, or corroded chain or wire rope immediately. Tag any defective chain or rope and remove from service.
  • Periodically, or as recommended by the manufacturer or applicable legislation.
  • Schedule a detailed inspection of all hoists.
  • Follow the manufacturers’ recommended maintenance schedules.
  • Replace items not operating properly. Tag defective items and remove from service for repair by a competent person.
  • Check that the safe load limit is posted on the hoist.

2. Ensure Safety Use Of The Hoist During Operation:

Two things have been stated as the major cause of hoist failure during operation, there are: Overloading and poor rigging. So these must be avoided, this can be avoided my ensuring you ascertain the weight of the load before lifting and match it with the hoist load capacity; also follow safe rigging techniques. Rigging should be done by a trained rigger.

3. Follow Safe Rigging Practice:

  • When rigging, make sure the load hook and the upper suspension form a straight line.
  • The chain or body of the hoist should never come in contact with the load.
  • Never tip load hooks.
  • Always use a sling or lifting device to rig around loads, and use engineered lift points for attachment.
  • Never work under suspended loads or lift loads over people.
  • Never lift people with a hoist.
  • When leaving the hoist unattended, land any attached loads.
  • When the job is complete, place hoist or hook location in a place that will not interfere with the movement of people or materials.

4. Use Appropriate PPE:

Before any lifting operation commence, necessary PPE must be in place. This includes – Hand Gloves, Eye goggle, safety boots, hearing protection; if there is probability that the load will be lifting above your head, head protection is recommended.

READ: How To Avoid Manual Lifting Injuries In The Workplace

Before we conclude, lets highlight all necessary hoist safety precautions:

General Hoist Safety Precautions

  1. Know the safe load limit of the hoist. Do not exceed.
  2. Keep wire ropes and chains lubricated.
  3. Hoist from directly over the load. If not centered, the load may swing when lifted.
  4. Shackle pins must be securely screwed into place before lifting when used.
  5. Any chains, cables, pulley blocks and other apparatus used must be capable of safety lifting the planned load.
  6. Once the load has been raised very slightly, the security of the slinging/shackling arrangement and the stability of the load must be assessed. Only if this is satisfactory may lifting continue.
  7. Hang hoists solidly in the highest part of the hook area. Rigged this way, the hook support is directly in line with the hook shank.
  8. Seat the load properly in the hook.
  9. Move hoist controls smoothly. Avoid abrupt, jerky movements of the load. Remove slack from the sling and hoisting ropes before lifting the load.
  10. Remove all loose materials, parts, blocking and packing from the load before starting the lift.
  11. Make sure everyone is away from the load before starting to hoist.
  12. Only suitably trained and certified personnel may use mechanical lifting apparatus, and are responsible for ensuring it is operated in a safe manner.
  13. Security of the load is paramount, as an unstable load is a danger to all in its vicinity. Even where a load is secure, never stand beneath an elevated load.
  14. When guiding a moving load, it may be necessary to stand close to it. In such cases, avoid standing in the direction of load movement, and never stand between the load and a fixed object such as a wall, barrier or machine if there is a possibility of crush injury.
  15. When lowering a load, keep feet well clear. Persons in the vicinity of moving loads must wear safety boots and helmets.
  16. Do not use hoisting equipment for lifting people.
  17. Do not pass a load over workers.
  18. Do not tip a load. The load is unstable and harms the hook and hoist.
  19. Do not insert the point of the hook in a link of the chain.
  20. Do not hammer a sling into place.
  21. Lever operated hoists can be used to pull in any direction, but a straight line pull must be maintained. Side pulling or lifting increases wear and sets up dangerous stress levels on hoist parts. Only one person should pull on hand, chain and lever hoists.
  22. When loading the lower hook, place the load directly in line with the hook shank. Loaded this way, the load chain makes a straight line from hook shank to hook shank.
  23. Stand completely clear of the load.
  24. Do not leave slings dangling from the load hook. Place sling hooks on the sling ring when carrying slings to the load.
  25. Do not raise loads higher than necessary to clear objects.
  26. Do not exceed a hoist load limit.
  27. Do not leave suspended loads unattended.
  28. Palletized loads should be restrained by banding or otherwise where required, and the pallet constructed to withstand slipping and lateral displacement.
  29. When using slings or straps, loads must be well balanced, and arranged so that the load cannot slip through the sling. Wherever present, lifting lugs must be used in preference to slinging a load.


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