Tag: hoist inspection

Hoist Pre-Operational Safety Inspection Part 6: Operation Inspection

Hoist Pre-Operational Safety Inspection Part 6: Operation Inspection

This article is Part 6 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 operation inspection.

When testing the operation of the hoist, it’s important to test the upper and lower limits. A limiting device protects the hoist from getting damaged, from running the hook block into the hoist or running chain out of the hoist.

There are two types of hoists – hoists with a limit switch and hoists with a slip clutch.

If you have a hoist that uses a slip clutch in the up direction as its limiting device, like the CM ShopStar and the CM ValuStar, you should not do this test during your pre-operational inspection. This test would only be done during a periodic inspection.

If you have a hoist with a limit switch, you should conduct this test during your pre-operational inspection. If you are testing a two-speed hoist, you should test the limit switch at both speeds.

Before testing the limits of a powered hoist, there are a few safety precautions you should observe:

  • Ensure the area under the hoist or crane is clear of obstructions. Also, check that there is no one under or in theoperation inspection path of the hoist, including yourself.
  • Ensure there is not a load on the hoist.
  • Be prepared to stop the hoist by releasing the controller.

After taking these precautions, follow these steps to test the hoist’s upper and lower limits:

  1. With no load on the hoist, start running up the hoist.
  2. Listen for strange noises.
  3. The limit switch should stop the hoist prior to the hook block hitting the hoist. If it fails to operate, or you think it will fail, do not run into the bottom of the hoist. This can damage the hoist.
  4. If the limit switch fails, the hoist needs to be removed from service.
  5. Next, lower the hoist hook to test the operation of the lower limit switch.
  6. Follow the same steps you took when testing the upper limit switch. As it is lowering, listen for unusual sounds.
  7. Check the chain or wire rope for defects.
  8. Again, if the limit switch fails, remove the hoist from service.

Testing your hoist’s upper and lower limits is an important part of your hoist pre-operational inspection. If at any time you have questions about the functioning of the limit switch on your hoist or think there is an issue, take the hoist out of service and contact the manufacturer.

Additional Resources:

Learn more about hoist inspection and maintenance

Peter Cooke

Peter Cooke is a former Training Manager for Columbus McKinnon Corporation, having specialized in Rigging & Load Securement.

Answers to Your Top 7 Crane and Hoist Questions

Answers to Your Top 7 Crane and Hoist Questions


During the hundreds of classes Columbus McKinnon’s training team has conducted over the years, there are a variety of questions that arise regarding the use, maintenance and inspection of overhead cranes and hoists. So, I wanted to take this opportunity to outline seven of the most common concerns, myths and misconceptions we’ve received from crane and hoist operators and technicians during our classes.

1. Question: Do monorails need to be labeled with their rated load?

Answer: According to ASME B30.11, rated load markings are not required on monorails but are recommended. Before marking the monorail, a qualified person must determine the rated load on the monorail beam. Once the monorail is marked, the rating should be legible from the ground floor. ASME’s recommendation also applies to marking the rated loads of hoists on the monorail. For more information on hoist marking guidelines, see ASME B30.16.

2. Question: Can rated loads for hoists and trolleys be different from the crane’s rated load?

Answer: The short answer to your question is “yes.” However, ASME B30.16 stipulates that when a system is comprised of components with different rated capacities, the rated load of the “system” shall be based on the lowest rated individual component.
System is defined as the combination of Monorail, Hoist and Trolley in the case of a Monorail and Crane; Hoist and Trolley in the case of an Underhung Crane.

ASME B30.16-1.3.2 states that the supporting structure, including trolleys, monorail, or crane, shall be designed to withstand the loads and forces imposed by the hoist for the rated load.

3. Question: Are yearly load tests required on a hoist and crane?

Answer: There is no specific time period during which load tests must be performed once the initial installation is inspected and load tested. Some states require operators to load test hoists and cranes every four years, but, in most cases, if the hoist is not altered, repaired or modified, it can remain in service indefinitely without a load test being required.

4. Question: Are monthly records of inspection required for hoists, wire rope, chain and hooks?

Answer: This depends on the type of crane. OSHA regulation 1910.179 applies to top-running overhead and gantry cranes with top-running trolley hoists. For these types of cranes, monthly inspections of the hoist’s chain, wire rope and hooks are required with a recorded certification. This certification record must include the signature of the person who performed the inspection and the identifier of the chain, wire and hook that was inspected. If a hoist and trolley are underhung, frequent inspections are required, but written documentation is not.

5. Question: Do you have to be certified to inspect and repair hoists and cranes?

Answer: According to ASME standards, you must be a “qualified person” to inspect and repair cranes and hoists. A “qualified person” is a person who, by possession of a recognized degree or certificate of professional standing, or who, by extensive knowledge, training and experience, has successfully demonstrated the ability to solve or resolve problems relating to the subject matter and work. These individuals do not have to be professional engineers.

6. Question: Do you need to disassemble hoists for yearly inspections?

Answer: Hoist disassembly is not always required for yearly inspections. What is found during the inspection typically determines how far you need to break down the hoist. Be sure to reference the manufacturer’s OEM manual when disassembling any hoist.

7. Question: Do chain slings require latches on hooks?

Answer: According to OSHA 1910.184 and ASME B30.9, slings do not require latches on the hooks, unlike hoist and crane hooks where latches are required unless they constitute a hazard.

To learn more, check out our Safety Webinar covering these same questions. I hope you find this information useful when using, repairing or inspecting overhead hoists and cranes.

Christie Lagowski

Christie Lagowski is a Communications Specialist for Columbus McKinnon Corporation.

Why Use RFID in Material Handling?

Why Use RFID in Material Handling?

RFID in material handling
Is there anyone out there who’s having to do more with less? Do you have a large inventory to manage or equipment to inspect, and all of it requiring thorough documentation to comply with regulations? Are you having a difficult time finding a good inspector or ensuring your inspectors are doing a quality job?

Well, good news, RFID tagged rigging hardware and hoists can help with all these issues and more. Let’s start with what RFID is and how it works.

An Overview of RFID in Material Handling

RFID stands for Radio Frequency Identification and it is now being used on almost everything. There are RFID badges for security and time clocks. There is an RFID chip in my dog in case he gets lost or stolen. RFID chips are even available in rigging hardware and on hoists. There are two main types of RFID chips: active and passive. Active chips are larger, have a longer read range, and are battery powered. Passive chips can be as small as a grain of rice, have a shorter read range, and are remotely powered.

There are many reasons why passive RFID chips are better suited to rigging hardware and hoists. Size is an obvious one. The smaller a chip is, the smaller the equipment it can be mounted in. The short read range makes the inspector actually touch the equipment being inspected, so there is no confusing the item being inspected with other nearby products. Passive RFID chips are also super tough and durable. Rigging hardware and hoists can be banged up, dropped and virtually destroyed and the chips still work flawlessly.

The Benefits of RFID Inspection

So how does RFID help you do more with less? One of the biggest selling points for RFID rigging hardware and hoists is how much faster and efficient it can make the inspection process.

Imagine this: an inspector merely touches the RFID chip in a shackle, chain sling or hoist with an RFID reader and he/she can instantly see the product’s serial number, description, traceability code, working load limit, size, certificates of compliance and origin (some material handling product manufacturers even associate this information with the chip and load it to the web for you). In addition to product information, inspectors can see previous inspections complete with pictures and notes, the next scheduled inspection date, inspection criteria, and even information on how to inspect the product.

The inspector can also use the RFID chip and reader to log information from the current inspection he/she is performing, complete with notes and pictures. Recoding the information can happen right at the point of inspection with a tablet or laptop. There isn’t any need to record information for someone else to transcribe or log later. That’s a huge time saver!

What about the issue of never having enough good inspectors?

We have already talked about how RFID-based inspection systems save time by allowing fewer inspectors to do more inspections. Have you thought about how much time and money it takes to train an inspector to acceptable levels? RFID systems can decrease training time while increasing inspection accuracy and detail. The ability to have a software package that walks an inspector through the inspection process is beneficial. The software can help identify things the inspector should look for during an inspection and provide acceptance/rejection criteria, pictures of concerns or wear areas from previous inspections for that specific product, and other reference materials to help ensure proper inspection.

Another issue inspectors can run into is not being able to read the serial number or tracking number on the hoist or rigging hardware. Sometimes the serial number can wear off or become difficult to read. With an RFID chip this will never be a problem.


RFID can also help with tracking and serialization of products. If you have a thousand pieces of rigging hardware or multiple hoists being rented or used in multiple locations, it can make the inventory process so much easier. When you scan an RFID chip, you can record the location of the product. This allows you to easily track its location later. Some RFID inspection software systems can also be designed to directly interface with your business system for automatic billing. There are so many time-saving opportunities!

Are you as excited by the possibilities of RFID as I am? Are you already using a RFID-based system to track the inspections for your hoists and rigging products?

Columbus McKinnon recognizes the value and possibilities for RFID technology in inventory and inspection management, as well as other applications.

Troy Raines

Troy Raines is the Chain & Rigging Product Engineering Manager at our CMCO Chattanooga Forge Operations.

Webinar Teaches Inspection & Maintenance of CM Hurricane 360 & Short Handle Puller

Webinar Teaches Inspection & Maintenance of CM Hurricane 360 & Short Handle Puller

Do you want to learn how to inspect our new CM Hurricane 360 chain hoist?
Peter Cooke, our Training Manager for Rigging & Load Securement, will teach you how to properly disassemble, inspect and reassemble our popular CM Hurricane 360 hand chain hoist in our free Safety Webinar.  Peter will also walk you though how to set the brake on our CM Hurricane 360 and explain how it can handle your most challenging applications.

Do you have applications that call for drifting a load, standing above a load, or working in confined spaces?
Unlike traditional hand chain hoists, the Hurricane 360 may be used in any direction due to its patented hand chain cover. It rotates 360 degrees allowing a convenient way to move loads without standing under or near the load. The hoist allows for positioning, pulling and lifting of loads from virtually any angle – making it the only hoist of its kind in the industry.

If you have dealt with these tough conditions when operating a hoist, check out our above videos and see how well the Hurricane handles the job.

Plus, Learn How to Inspect a CM Short Handle Puller
During the webinar, Peter will also cover proper inspection techniques for our CM Short Handle Puller. This hoist has a similar brake, yet requires a different approach to set it than your typical Weston type brake. This mechanism was designed for precision positioning and is weatherized.

CM Hurricane 360˚and CM Short Handle Puller Safety Webinar



Gisela Clark

Gisela Clark is an eMarketing Specialist for Columbus McKinnon Corporation.

Columbus McKinnon Opens New Training Center

Columbus McKinnon Opens New Training Center

plate lifting

hoist testing

Columbus McKinnon has opened its newest state-of-the-art training facility in Tonawanda, NY. Over the past few months, our training team has been renovating Columbus McKinnon’s previous headquarters(most recently the LodeRail production plant) in Tonawanda, NY into a new training center. This facility now holds certification classes and training courses featuring a combination of classroom and hands-on learning.

Here is an overview of the classes we will be offering in 2012:

By expanding its training offering, Columbus McKinnon now allows distributors and users the opportunity to learn in a controlled environment built for comprehensive training. Our training programs are designed to increase workplace productivity while emphasizing ergonomics and worker safety. For more information on available classes, please visit us at www.cmcodepot.com.

This post was written by Joshua Karczewski, former Distributor Marketing & Product Launch Manager for Columbus McKinnon Corporation.

The Answer to this Week’s Maintenance Challenge: How many things can you find wrong with this picture?

The Answer to this Week’s Maintenance Challenge: How many things can you find wrong with this picture?

photo_with answers -2

Thanks to everyone who submitted comments! We added them under the original post. If you have any questions about any of the above notations, please send an e-mail to cmcolive@cmworks.com and we will address them for you.  We are very sorry that our “comment” field wasn’t functioning this week. We are working to resolve the issue.

A quick note about my comment “wrong chain.”  CM Hoist Chain is specifically calibrated to fit the lift wheel.   Using another manufacturer’s chain can severely damage the unit.

If you want to learn more about hoist maintenance and inspection, check out our training site for programs that might interest you.

Dave Carmack

Dave is a Product Trainer for our CM Entertainment Division. Other credentials include being an ETCP Recognized Trainer & IATSE TTF Recommended Trainer.

Maintenance Challenge: How many things can you find wrong with this picture?

Maintenance Challenge: How many things can you find wrong with this picture?

11-11-11 What is wrong

Since our comment box isn’t working (thanks for your patience!),  please send your ideas to cmcolive@cmworks.com and we will post them below as they come in.

Otherwise check in on Friday for the answer!

Response #1:  The most noticeable defect is that the chain guide is worn considerably on one side which suggests side loading and it has worn so extremely that it is eating its way through the casing. There is also a hole in the casing on the opposite side and the chain looks like it hasn’t been lubricated in a while.

A. Davis

Response #2: I found these 4 things on the picture:

  • Chain seems dry (no lubrication)
  • Chain is not star marked but made by RUD
  • Housing is broken
  • Chain guide is worn on the loose end of the chain, housing worn on the same place (Why on that side? How and why made the chain that hole? Is it because the free chain wasn’t long enough (less than 24 inches) and the short chain blocked and closed up?)

T. Gergerly

Response #3:  Well let’s start with the obvious problems and work things out from there. 

1.        End user has been operating the hoist in a manner in which that it appears that a severe side load has been applied for long periods of time. 

2.       There is extensive damage to the chain guide and hoist housing.   Looking at the lack of damage to the chain compared to the damage to the hoist body, this chain is fairly new.    I see a 3 digit date code on the chain, but I cannot see the star code.  At this time I am going to assume that it is there and this is a proper loadstar chain.  This is something that I would check though.  The load chain is dry – no lubrication on it at all.  You can see the starting of corrosion building up on some of the links.  

3.       If you look in the upper right hand corner of the picture you see what appears to be a hammer link inside of the load chain run.  Splicing two load chains together.  One appears to be smaller but that may be a trick of the optics from the picture.  They definitely are two different load chains though.

4.       I would question the lift wheel.  I would be very surprised if it has not sustained damage from this event. Also the loadstar protector. 

In conclusion with the scaring on the other side of the case and the fact that this is on the dead leg side and not the working side of the hoist, keeping in mind that with the entertainment hoist they do use the dead end as a load side upon occasion.   I am going to say that use of the hammer link(whatever it is) in the chain path is what caused the damage to the hoist.  The lower limit was not set to keep it from “tube” locking on the frame of the hoist. 

L. Collobert

Dave Carmack

Dave is a Product Trainer for our CM Entertainment Division. Other credentials include being an ETCP Recognized Trainer & IATSE TTF Recommended Trainer.

OSHA’s Hot List For Inspections Released

OSHA’s Hot List For Inspections Released

About this time each year, OSHA releases a list of those facilities subject to an OSHA “head to toe” inspection because of their rate for severe injuries.  This year’s list of 15,000 facilities looking forward to an OSHA inspection is out with a new concern:  the costs of violations could skyrocket with some of the “New OSHA” policies.

A newsletter written by McDermott, Will and Emery outlines possible actions that can be taken if your facility has made OSHA’s list.

For those facilities not on the list, don’t breathe a sigh of relief just yet. OSHA also has special emphasis programs out for inspection of chemical plants and construction sites receiving Recovery Act funding. Based upon the possibility of a compliance inspection, this year may be the year to actually use the OSHA consultation services rather than risk fines that can rise exponentially when they are multiplied by headcount.

Columbus McKinnon can help you provide a safer workplace for your employees and prepare for OSHA inspections.  We provide training on a variety of material handling topics, including hoist inspections and proper rigging techniques.

Our Customer Service departments can help you find the lifting tools to reduce the possibility of future ergonomic injuries.

This post was written by Peg Simons, former Corporate Health & Safety Manager for Columbus McKinnon Corporation.


Rigging Safety 101: Seven Basic Safe Rigging Practices

Rigging Safety 101: Seven Basic Safe Rigging Practices

safe riggingPre-planning your lift with everyone involved will ensure proper equipment and personnel are in place to make a safe lift.

Always use proper rigging techniques when lifting loads.  Rigging training for your operators is important.  Rigging handbooks and proper equipment should be readily available.  If there is any doubt about the safety of your equipment or lift, stop the hoist, lower the load, and report the condition to your supervisor.  Conduct all lifting operations so that no one will be injured in the event of equipment failure.  Use proper hand signals and communication with all workers involved with the lift.

Listed below are some very basic safe rigging practices:

  1. When rigging, make sure the load hook and upper suspension form a straight line.  The chain or body of the hoist should never come in contact with the load.
  2. Never tip-load hooks.
  3. Always use a sling or lifting device to rig around loads and use engineered lift points for attachment.
  4. Never work under suspended loads or lift loads over people.
  5. Never lift people with a hoist.
  6. When leaving the hoist unattended, land any attached loads.
  7. When the job is complete, place the hoist and hook in a location that will not interfere with the movement of people or materials.

When you are at the controls of a hoist, you have a lot of responsibility in your hands.  By using safe rigging skills, good judgment, and common sense, you will help keep co-workers safe.

The full version of the above article was published in the November/December 2008 issue of Industrial Lift and Hoist magazine.

Peter Cooke

Peter Cooke is a former Training Manager for Columbus McKinnon Corporation, having specialized in Rigging & Load Securement.

How to avoid the two main causes of hoist accidents

How to avoid the two main causes of hoist accidents

Two prime causes of accidents are overloading and poor rigging.  To prevent accidents, we suggest these guidelines:

  • Know the hoist lifting capacity
  • Always know the weight of the object you are lifting
  • Never exceed the working load limit
  • Train operators on proper rigging techniques as well as hoist operation
  • Have rigging handbooks and proper equipment available for use.

Know your hoist’s constraints, and pay attention to the “pull to lift full load” values.  Each hoist is designed to lift under the power of one person.  It should not take two people to pull on hand chain, or a lever arm.  Never put an extender (cheater bar) on a lever tool.  This is a sure sign you are overloading the hoist.  If it takes 58 lbs of pull force to raise one ton, any pull force over this value will overload the hoist.  Consult the manufacturer’s specifications and train your operators on what each pull force should be.

Many domestic (and some foreign) hoist manufacturers offer overload protection devices for manual hoists, either as standard equipment, or as an added cost option.  This device protects the user, the overhead structure and the hoist from an “excessive overload condition.”  Several hoist manufacturers utilize a friction type clutched hub as part of the hoist’s chain wheel or lever arm. When the pull on the lever or hand chain is great enough to slip the clutch and prevent the load from being lifted, the operator becomes aware that the hoist is overloaded.

The full version of the above article was published in the November/December 2008 issue of Industrial Lift and Hoist magazine.

Peter Cooke

Peter Cooke is a former Training Manager for Columbus McKinnon Corporation, having specialized in Rigging & Load Securement.