How to Safely Use a Wire Rope Hoist

Safety is the number one priority on any job site. It is drilled into the minds of every contractor, technician and laborer before they even arrive. Accidents are expensive, wasteful and potentially fatal. Not to mention, most accidents are completely avoidable with consistent adherence to procedure and an awareness of your immediate surroundings while working.

Any time an object is lifted, the risk to everyone on the job site is dramatically increased. Being anywhere near a lifting mechanism while it is in operation requires focus to ensure safety for those involved. To safely operate hoists and lifts, you must know how to properly use it. Before you seasoned vets scoff at the idea of a refresher, remember that comfort breeds complacency. With that in mind, let’s rundown how to safely use a wire rope hoist.

1. Choose the Right Lifting Equipment 

Be sure that you are using the correct equipment for your load. Don’t try to make do with what is on hand simply because it should work. Remember: most accidents are avoidable, and trying to rush through the hoist without the proper implements is a recipe for disaster.  

2. Read the Manufacturer’s Instructions 

Always read and follow the manufacturer’s instructions and recommendations for safe operation and maintenance of the lifting mechanism. You may have used similar equipment before, but there could be differences between the model you used in the past and the one on-site. Reading the manual ensures you are aware of the proper operation of the hoists and lifts you will be working with.

3. Inspect the Wire Rope Hoist 

Before using the hoists and lifts, visually inspect them for any damage such as cracks or deformations. Make sure there are no lingering strands of frayed wire rope. Check that all components — including hooks, shackles and blocks — are in good condition and securely attached.

4. Check the Load Weight and Capacity 

Double and triple-check that the load to be lifted is within your lifting mechanism’s rated capacity. This is where many accidents can be avoided. No one is going to intentionally try to lift more than what is rated, but not being aware of the true weight of your lift can lead to serious problems.

5. Position the Hoist Properly

The position of your hoist and lifts plays a significant role in whether you will have a successful lift or not. Be sure to position the hoist directly above the load. It is critical that the hoist is stable on level ground, and that the load is centered directly beneath it.

6. Attach the Load Securely 

Be sure to use the appropriate hooks, shackles, or other fastening devices for your lift. These should also be rated for the lift you are about to attempt.

7. Lift the Load Slowly and Smoothly

Take your time! Sudden jerks or movements can cause equipment to fail and lead to a dangerous situation. Moving slowly allows you to keep the load under control at all times and avoid overloading the hoist.

8. Keep a Safe Distance 

Clear the area! Be sure that everyone on-site maintains a safe distance from the load being lifted. Do this before you try to lift, and communicate to all on site where and approximately when you will conduct the lift to help ensure a safe worksite.

9. Lower the Load Carefully

Much like when you lift, lower the load slowly and carefully. Avoid sudden movements or drops. Keep the load under control at all times, and ensure it is lowered to the ground or platform safely.

10. Maintain and Inspect the Hoist Regularly

Regularly inspect and maintain the wire rope hoist to ensure it remains in good condition and safe to use. Follow the manufacturer’s recommended maintenance procedures, and replace any damaged or worn components promptly.

11. Safety is Success

A safe hoist is a successful hoist. When you prioritize safety, you are maximizing efficiency and setting your project on course to be completed on time and within the allotted budget. 

If you want to be sure you are using the correct equipment for your hoist, Paducah Rigging is here for you. Not only do we offer a full catalog of rigging equipment, but we also offer on-site inspection to keep your project humming along safely. Reach out today!

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