By Grant Laidlaw

Always make sure all your equipment is in working order, inspections have been done as required and that the lifting equipment can safely lift the load. Do not forget to inspect the gantry that you are using and that it in turn complies.

Mpho asks:  Mr Grant, we have to do some lifting with a chain block. There is some risk. How can we do this properly?

Hello Mpho, when working with hand operated chain blocks the first step will always be to conduct a risk assessment. Identify and document all possible hazards and then take steps to deal with the hazards, and document the steps taken. Cordon off the work area. Always wear the appropriate Personal Protection Equipment (PPE), obviously in this case, safety boots are a must.

Lifting with hand-operated chain blocks

Hand-operated chain blocks come in a variety of types, shapes, sizes, lifting capacities, and diverse features/controls.

These manually operated lifting devices enable a single person to lift heavy loads by using a series of reduction gears to provide a mechanical advantage, and thereby reduce the amount of effort needed to lift a load.

If improperly used or abused, hand-operated chain blocks can cause major production loss, and serious injury. Safe and sound rigging practices must be used in conjunction with lifting operations.

Lifting guidance

Operation of a hand-operated chain block involves more than pulling the hand chain. The use of these tools is subject to certain hazards that cannot be met by mechanical means, but only by the exercise of intelligence, care, common sense, and experience in anticipating the motion that will occur as a result of operating the chain block.

Pre-use inspection requirements

Pre-use inspections are to be conducted on the equipment and site by a designated person who shall determine whether conditions found constitute a hazard and that the equipment is suitable for use.

Identification of chain blocks

The chain block shall be marked with the manufacturer’s name, model, serial number, and rated load capacity attached on a plate or label, or cast, forged, or stamped on the load block.

Warnings and labels

Warnings shall be affixed to the hoist or block with labels displaying information concerning operating procedures.

Labels shall be in compliance with SANS codes of practice.

Pre-use inspection checklist

The following items shall be inspected:

  • Operating mechanism for proper operation, proper adjustment, and unusual sounds.
  • The chain block’s, braking system for proper operation.
  • Hooks and latches, if used.
  • The chain block’s, load chain, for compliance with manufacturer recommendations.
  • The load rating of the chain block is verified as sufficient for the load to be lifted.

Pre-lift checks

The operator must:

  • Be trained.
  • Not make adjustments or repairs unless qualified.
  • Report substandard conditions.
  • Not operate a chain block that is tagged out of service or has not been inspected.
  • Not use the chain or rope as a welding ground.
  • Not allow welding electrodes to contact the chain block.
  • Operate only manually (hand powered) by one operator.

Lifting operations

  • The chain block chain must not be wrapped around a load.
  • Before load movement, the operator shall be sure chains and slings are not kinked or twisted around each other.
  • The chain block shall not be operated unless chain is seated properly on the drum, sheaves, or sprockets.
  • The chain block shall not be operated unless centred over the load.
  • The load should not be lifted higher than necessary.
  • The operator shall not pick up a load in excess of the rated load bearing capacity, load block or the gantry if used.
  • Each time a load approaching load capacity is handled, the operator shall check the chain block’s, brake action by lifting the load just clear of supports and continuing only after verifying the brake system is operating properly.
  • No person may stand under the load.

And finally, good housekeeping practice should be followed once the lift has been completed and the equipment should be securely stored in a clean, dry environment.

Mpho, I hope that this answers your question with regards to the basic use of chain blocks.



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