Hoisting apparatus is used to raise, lower, and transport heavy loads for limited distances. The safe load capacity should be marked clearly on the hoist. All hoists should be attached to their supports (fixed member, or trolley) either with shackles, or with support hooks that have safety latches. Hoist supports should have an adequate safety factor for maximum loads to be lifted.
Persons operating an overhead hoist should be trained in inspection, proper use, and operation. They must make sure that other people in the area are protected from possible accidents and injuries that might result from handling materials with the hoist.
Frequent, scheduled, and detailed inspection of a hoist is extremely important. If uncertainties arise in the regular inspection that are not easily correctable, a specialized person, such as a manufacturer’s representative, should be called upon to inspect the hoist before it is used. Special attention should be given to load hooks, ropes, brakes, and limit switches. Flanges and spiral grooves (where used) should be free of projections that could damage the rope. A material hoist that is operating on rails, tracks, or trolleys, should have a positive stop, or limiting device, on the rails or tracks to prevent over-running the safe limits. The hoist should also be equipped with over-speed protection. A retaining cable, or chain, looped around the body of the hoist and the support can provide extra protection against failure of the supporting hook, shackle, or block.
A load should not be picked up until it is directly underneath the hoist. Improper lifting procedure places stresses on the hoist that it was not designed to handle. Standard commercial hoists do not provide a secondary means of supporting a load if the wire rope, or other suspension element, fails.