Hoist Pre-Operational Safety Inspection Part 7: Chain Inspection

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by  on April 7, 2016

This article is Part 7 of a 7-part blog series that will cover what operators should consider when performing a pre-operational hoist safety inspection. Today, we’ll discuss chain inspection.


The final step in our pre-operational hoist safety inspection should be to check the hoist’s chain.

Clean the chain, if required, before inspection.
If the chain is dirty, it may be difficult to inspect. Therefore, it is important to make sure the chain is clean so you can see any damage. Inspect as much chain as you can. On hoists hung from overhead trolleys and beams, you will not be able to inspect the entire length of chain. Checking the entire length of chain will be part of a Periodic Inspection.

When conducting the inspection, you should look for:

  • Inner link wear, gouges, nicks and twists: Inner link wear is difficult to see without moving links and is covered in detail during the Periodic Inspection. However, if something looks wrong, have someone check the chain in more detail.
  • Bent or broken links
  • Chemical damage or corrosion
  • Stretch: Hoist chain does not stretch like lifting chain. As I explained in a recent blog post on rigging chain, it can be difficult to determine if chain is stretched without measuring it. Full measurements are completed during the Periodic Inspection. However, if something looks wrong or out of proportion, take the time to measure the links. Chain sizes vary from hoist to hoist, so you will need to refer to the product’s O&M manual to verify chain measurements.

Finally, check for proper lubrication. Lubrication is important to extend the life of the chain and the hoist. It helps wear and helps the chain articulate properly. After you clean it for the inspection, make sure it is properly lubricated.

Here are some extreme examples of chain damage. Oftentimes wear will not be this apparent.

Important note to the stretched links image:
Hoist chain is not designed to stretch, whereas rigging chain is designed to stretch.

Hoist Training
If you see anything of concern, take the hoist out of service and bring it to the attention of a trained hoist inspector for further evaluation.

Additional Resources:
Learn more about hoist inspection and maintenance

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Gary August 15, 2016 at 11:14 pm

Hi Peter,

Great article. our safety office Brad Paddock would love to see this. We try to include chain inspection in each of our annual safety days and I’m not sure we go into this depth. Maybe we can use some of this content for our safety training 2017!

Thanks again for sharing. Keep up the great work.


Gary – Eagle West Cranes

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