Hoists are an important part of many material handling devices. There are independent air hoists, and there are hoists attached to other material handling devices such as articulating jibs and cranes. Therefore, it is important to maintain your hoists for a long life and smooth operation. In this article, we will discuss hoist maintenance safety tips.
- Have a Maintenance Schedule in Place
It is imperative to have a preventative maintenance and inspection schedule in place for your material handling equipment including hoists. Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations on preventative measures for the hoist. The chain of hoists goes through wear and tear largely due to rust and debris. At times when too much of grit or rust gets accumulated on the chain, it can become too stiff or difficult to move. You should maintain a regular maintenance schedule for proper cleaning and lubrication of the chain at least once or twice a year. This way, your chains stay free of corrosion and function smooth as new.
- Check for Signs of Damage
Even after regular lubrication and cleaning, your hoist chains will get worn out over time and continuous usage. Check regularly to look for signs of deterioration, and replace the chain before it is overused. When your chain starts kinking and stretching, it is a sign that it needs to be replaced. Moreover, if the chain “pops” when it is in use, it is generally because it is becoming too stiff. It’s always a better idea to replace the chain in time than to have an accident and injure someone.
- Maintain Rigging Safety
Always use proper rigging techniques when lifting loads with a hoist. Giving rigging training for the operators is important for safety and proper operation. When rigging, make sure the load hook and the upper suspension form a straight line. Additionally, the chain or body of the hoist should never come in contact with the load.
- Conduct Testing and Inspection
According to the OSHA safety guidelines, material handling equipment such as hoists should be inspected and tested on a regular basis. The operator should conduct a brief inspection on a daily basis to make sure the hoist is a good, working condition. The condition of the hoist should be noted and documented regularly including wear, tear and damage to it. Additionally, a service load test should be conducted on the hoist once in every 4-6 months. This test will check if the device is performing fine while lifting loads of different weights.
- Other Operational Tips
- If a load is attached to the crane or hoist, it shall be landed when leaving it unattended.
- Never work under suspended loads or lift loads over people.
- Select the right sling for each lift. Inspect slings and other rigging hardware before use for wear, stretch, or other damage. Do not use damaged or defective slings.
- Use softeners around sharp corners. Do not splice broken slings.
- When communicating with a crane operator, use clear agreed-upon signals.