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Moving a heavy load?

How to hoist materials safely

September 19, 2015   by CCOHS

There are different types of hoists, but precautions are similar. PHOTO: THINKSTOCK

There are different types of hoists, but precautions are similar. PHOTO: THINKSTOCK

When a heavy load has to be moved or lifted, using a hoist can make the job easier and safer.

In addition to always following the manufacturer’s recommendations, apply these tips:

  • Inspect hooks, ropes, brakes and limit switches daily for wear and damage.
  • Ensure upper and lower hooks swivel.
  • Replace worn chain, wire or fibre rope immediately.
  • Keep wire ropes and chains lubricated.
  • Post the safe load limit and don’t exceed it.
  • Ensure the hook area is directly in line with the shank.
  • Place the load on the lower hook directly in line with the hook shank.
  • Remove slack from the sling and hoisting ropes, and all loose materials, parts, blocking and packing before lifting.
  • Lever-operated hoists pull in any direction, but maintain a straight line. Side pulling or lifting increases wear and sets up dangerous stress levels on hoist parts.
  • One person only to pull hand, chain and lever hoists.
  • Pushing a loaded hoist is safer. To pull, tie a rope around the load.
  • Clear everyone away from the load before hoisting.
  • Hoist directly over the load to prevent swinging.

What NOT to do:

  • Lift people.
  • Pass a load over people.
  • Tip a load. This makes the load unstable and weakens the hook and hoist.
  • Insert the point of the hook in a link of the chain.
  • Hammer a sling into place.
  • Leave slings dangling from the load hook.
  • Raise loads higher than necessary to clear objects.
  • Leave a suspended load unattended.

This article was provided by the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS).

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