Author: Herb Hart

Herb Hart is an Area Sales Manager for Entertainment Products for Columbus McKinnon Corporation.
#rigsafe: Promoting Safe Rigging in the Entertainment Industry

#rigsafe: Promoting Safe Rigging in the Entertainment Industry

On Friday, April 24th we celebrated #RigSafe day, an initiative started by the United States Institute for Theatre Technology (USITT) to promote safe rigging in the entertainment industry. USITT asked companies to join the initiative by sharing rigging safety tips on social media under the hashtag #rigsafe.

Columbus McKinnon participated in the event, tweeting our rigging safety tips throughout the day. We received such favorable feedback on the information we shared that we wanted to share them with those of you who may have missed out!

Tip 1: Disconnect the power source.

Before removing end covers on any electric hoist, you MUST turn off and remove the electrical power from the motor. One of the most common mistakes when you’re in a rush is to make a hoist adjustment without disconnecting the power source. If you’re very lucky, you’ll just get a small electric shock, but even a little jolt can be very dangerous and cause injury.

Be sure to turn off the power and disconnect the power cable from the hoist and remember to always use proper lockout tagout procedures.


Tip 2: Fall protection matters in the entertainment industry.

Choosing a proper harness, finding the anchorage needed and using the proper lanyard for the work area are critical. Work areas constantly change and you need the correct setup to ensure a safe environment in every work area. Take a Master Rigging class to improve your skills and work safe. Learn more:


Tip 3: Have the proper rescue plan in place.

Without a proven and practiced rescue plan, a situation can become very complicated. If a fall were to take place, the person must be brought down in a safe and timely manner.  Once on the ground, first responders should tend to the victim, then take them to the hospital. No matter their condition, the person must be checked out by medical personnel at the hospital.


Tip 4: It is never acceptable to choke a round polyester sling to another round sling.


Shackles or appropriate connectors are the only acceptable method of connecting slings to one another.

theatrical shackle

Tip 5: Inspection and maintenance of rigging systems should be one of the most important safety concerns for a rigger.

Ongoing inspection is key to safe rigging, and safe rigging starts with the manufacturer. The manufacturer will guide you on equipment application and safety practices, training and maintenance procedures. Thank you, Fernando Hernandez from the VER Rigging Division, for sharing this tip with us!


Read more about USITT’s own rigsafe program.

Herb Hart

Herb Hart is an Area Sales Manager for Entertainment Products for Columbus McKinnon Corporation.

The 3 Most Asked Questions from our CM-ET Motor (Hoist) Schools

The 3 Most Asked Questions from our CM-ET Motor (Hoist) Schools

During our CM-ET training classes we receive many questions, especially about chain and proper lubrication. In my opinion, the chain is the most abused and neglected part of the motor. It is almost rare to find chain in the field that does not need to be lubricated unless it has just come from the factory. So here they are, your three most frequently asked questions along with our answers:

1. How do I know when the chain needs to be lubricated?

The easiest way to know if your load chain needs lubrication is by watching it as it goes into the chain bag. If it is stacking up on one side as it enters the bag, it is a sure indication that you are lacking proper lubrication.

In past years when riggers were using the old Klein type bags with the single hook connecting to the side of the hoist, the question would come up: How do I avoid the chain coming out of the bag?  When the chain is dry and it stacks up, it eventually comes out over the top of the bag.

If the chain is properly lubricated, it will flow evenly and disperse into the bag like water.

Another sure sign of a lack of lubrication is when you have a full load and you hear that “tell all” creaking sound as the chain is running over the lift wheel. What you hear is the chain actually wearing itself out by friction welding the links together and breaking that weld because there is no lube between the them. This is where you get chain wear.

2. What is the proper lubrication to use?

The oil recommended by Columbus McKinnon is 10R made by Lubriplate. There are many other brands that are available that you can get at your local hardware store. What is important is that the lube you obtain have an “EP” additive. The “EP” is short for extreme pressure. Without that additive you will not be able to keep your lubrication between the links while under a full load. Most chain saw manufacturers produce oil for their saws that contain this additive. Most bar and chain lubrications will work.

3. How do I properly lubricate the chain?

There are many ways to lube your chain but I recommend to drop your chain into a bucket and pour the lube over the pile of chain. It is important that the chain be loose and the links separated at this point. If you spray it on while the chain is hanging you might not be able to get between all the links. After adding the lube, hang it up and let the chain drip dry as long as possible and retain as much of the run off so that you can reuse it.  At this point I recommend taking some dry rags and wiping the chain down to remove as much of the excessive oil as possible. You will not be able to remove it between the links with this process, and between the links is where you want the lubrication. It is ok if the chain appears to be dry as long as the lube is between the links where it is needed.

Again, lubrication is very important and can not be neglected. Keep an eye out for dry chain.

If you have questions about any of the above or are interested in attending a training class,  please feel free to reach us on our new Entertainment Technology website: or at our training site

Herb Hart

Herb Hart is an Area Sales Manager for Entertainment Products for Columbus McKinnon Corporation.

LDI Convention in Las Vegas a Great Success

LDI Convention in Las Vegas a Great Success


Columbus McKinnon was happy to have participated in Cirque du Soleil’sTechnical Partners Reception” held after show hours on Saturday evening during the LDI convention in Las Vegas, Nevada. The event was an invitation-only affair held at the Cirque du Soleil training center. Along with incredible food and drink, a generous slice of the industry was in attendance. This was a social gathering that offered the opportunity to not only conduct a little off-site business but to converse in a welcome and relaxed atmosphere. Columbus McKinnon’s Entertainment Group showcased the New 2010 Lodestar that was recently introduced and received a great response.

Herb Hart

Herb Hart is an Area Sales Manager for Entertainment Products for Columbus McKinnon Corporation.

Flying Decks Transform High-Rise Construction Industry

Flying Decks Transform High-Rise Construction Industry

15 ton CM Compensator Chain Hoist enables the pioneering “flying deck” high-rise construction technique
The crane pulls the deck out of the lower floor, where the concrete has been poured and cured, and the deck detached.

Flying Decks are a new and unique way of construction for high-rise buildings.  They are pour-in-place floor forms that slide into the building.  The main benefit of this system is the productivity it brings in the construction process.  In many cases the need for reshoring is dramatically reduced, thereby increasing the speed of deck construction, cutting the time of formwork almost in half.  Flying deck systems also provide significant savings in labor costs.

Columbus McKinnon has developed a hoist The CM CompensatorTM specifically designed for use with Flying Decks.  It is used for load leveling of forms up to 30,000 pounds, sliding them out of building floors and into the upper deck by a tower crane.

The single hoist body unit is available in 7½,  9, 10, 12 and 15 ton capacities and provides many benefits over the competitive offerings available in the market.

Improved Operation:

Synchronizing issues are eliminated by using a single hoist unit rather that a double hoist unit. The result is a smooth predictable lift each time.  Electro-mechanical geared limit switches for both the up and down direction prevent the hook block from being accidentally run into the hoist causing damage and shutting down the operation. The single unit hoist has a lower current demand than the double unit which reduces the draw on the power supply.

Reduced Maintenance Costs and Time:
The single hoist design requires less time to inspect and repair and fewer parts to stock/buy.

Compensator Hoist

Superior Quality and Design:

In addition to the geared limit switches, the CM CompensatorTM hoist has machined and hardened steel helical gears sealed in an oil bath power train reservoir which provide better performance and extended life.


The CM CompensatorTM hoist is a very robust design. The hoist utilizes high strength chain, reducing the required reeving. The heavy duty chain container is manufactured out of steel and wire mesh for durability and strength as compared to competitive canvas containers. Additionally, the hook itself is heavy duty with wide throat openings allowing for easier attachment of slings, stingers and master links.

Herb Hart

Herb Hart is an Area Sales Manager for Entertainment Products for Columbus McKinnon Corporation.