Is Changing a Hoist Brake Considered a Modification?

Is Changing a Hoist Brake Considered a Modification?

hoist brakeRod, a Canadian crane services manager and recent safety webinar attendee, asked:

“Is changing a hoist brake a modification?

Tom Reardon, Columbus McKinnon training instructor, responds to this hoist brake question:

Changing a hoist holding brake is not a modification simply because the brake is being replaced.

Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines modification as: “a change in something (such as a system or style).”

If we replace a holding brake on a hoist and it is original equipment from the manufacturer of the brake we are replacing and it is identical to the brake we are replacing, this replacement is not a modification. We have not changed the form, fit, function, size, system or style.

If we replace the original brake with a brake that will lend the same characteristics as the old or removed brake but is a different size, shape, bolt pattern, or is not according to the original equipment manufacturer’s specifications, it would be considered a modification.

Want to learn more? View our Safety Webinar on “ASME Safety Standards Top 10 FAQs.”

Tom Reardon

Tom Reardon is a Technical Instructor specializing in Hoists & Overhead Cranes for Columbus McKinnon Corporation.

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3 Replies to “Is Changing a Hoist Brake Considered a Modification?”

  1. Hi Josh,

    It is always a sound, safe practice to load test a packaged hoist or a built up overhead crane anytime a hoist brake is replaced. However, if we follow the ASME B30.16 Standard, the language used for load testing a packaged hoist is: “Hoists in which load-suspension parts have been altered, replaced or repaired SHOULD be load tested as determined by a qualified person.” It is clear that a load test is optional as evidenced by the word SHOULD.

    When dealing with the hoist brake of an Overhead or Gantry Crane we must follow OSHA 1910.179. In this event load tests are MANDATORY in the event of New Installations, Modifications and Rerating of the crane. A non OEM brake or a redesigned brake from the Original Equipment Manufacturer is, in my opinion, a modification and a load test would therefore be mandatory.


  2. Great feedback Tom. Can you address whether you need to load test a hoist if the brake was replaced with a non-OEM brake? Also, what about OEM replacements of obsolete brakes where the OEM provides a new style brake for an older hoist because the original brake is now obsolete?

    Would these be considered modifications and therefore require a load test? Is there anything else that would need to be done in these cases?

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