Tag: hoist safety

Crane and Hoist Safety: The Dangers of Side Pulling

Crane and Hoist Safety: The Dangers of Side Pulling

Overhead lifting operations are a necessary activity in workplaces around the globe. The ability to lift and move material safely is critical to the success of many businesses. Failure to follow safe lifting practices can lead to serious personal injury and cause damage to equipment and facilities.

While there are many aspects to safe lifting procedures, one critical issue I’d like to discuss is “side pulling” and how to avoid it.

Overhead hoists are designed to raise loads vertically.

Accordingly, the load being lifted must be centered under the hoist (Figure 1). Side pulling (Figure 2) occurs when attempting to lift any load that is not located directly under the hoist. Another form of side pulling occurs when a crane operator attempts to use the bridge or trolley drives to apply force to move an object horizontally when the load is not first fully suspended on the hoist and free of the floor or other support. Regardless of the manner in which side pull is applied, there are many unintended, damaging and potentially dangerous results that can occur. Side pulling a hoist or crane, in most cases, results in a violation of OSHA regulations, and numerous industry standards.

ASME B30.16, a safety standard for overhead hoists (underhung) states that:

Hoists shall not be operated unless the hoist unit is centered over the load, except when authorized by a qualified person who has determined that the components of the hoist and its mounting will not be overstressed. Should it be necessary to pick a load that is not centered under the hoist unit, precautions should be taken to control the swing of the load when it is picked clear of its support.

What are the dangers of side pulling?

  • As the load is lifted free of the floor or other support it will attempt to center itself under the hoist, causing the load to rapidly swing in a horizontal arc (Figure 3). This pendulum effect can cause serious injury to personnel or damage to other equipment in the area.
  • The wire rope or load chain can be forced out of the grooving or pockets on the hoist drum or lift wheel. This can damage the chain/rope, and may also cause damage to drums, sheaves, and other components. In the best case scenario, this can lead to costly repairs and downtime. More importantly, it could cause the chain or wire rope to break and the load to drop, putting equipment, facilities, and personnel at serious risk.

  • Side pulling at an angle that is not in line with the length of the bridge or monorail (Figure 4) could cause the trolley hoist to tip, making the trolley inoperable. In the worst case, the trolley hoist could actually be pulled off of the beam. This side pull condition also puts stresses on the beam itself and could cause the beam to skew (Figure 5).
  • Side pulling is not considered “normal operation” of the hoist and therefore may void the manufacturer’s warranty.
  • Attempting to lift a load that is located beyond the end of a bridge beam or monorail (Figure 6) could damage the safety stops at the end of the beam. In rare cases, this has caused the trolley hoist to fall off the end of the beam.

Having worked in the crane and hoist industry for more than 35 years, I am amazed by the number of inquiries that I receive regarding side pulling. These queries may come in the form of a question such as “what is the maximum angle of side pull that is permissible with your hoist?” Customers may also make a statement such as “The distance from my bridge beam to the floor is only 20’ but I need a few feet of additional wire rope on the hoist so I can pull materials out of the adjoining bay.”

These are the GOOD situations, where at least the potential for side loading has been made known and it can be properly addressed. What worries me are the situations where these circumstances may exist but are not made known to the hoist/crane manufacturer or crane service provider.

Fact: Side pulling is one of the most common and most dangerous mistakes made with overhead cranes.

Here are some steps that can be taken to help avoid the potential hazards of side pulling:

  • Make sure that all new crane and monorail systems are designed and installed by qualified material handling professionals.
  • Have existing overhead lifting equipment and lifting applications reviewed by a qualified person to ensure these systems are properly located to provide full hook coverage (without side pulling) for all locations where materials to be lifted are located.
  • Arrange for hoist and crane operator safety training of all personnel within your organization who may use overhead lifting equipment as well as all managers or supervisors who may direct others to use that equipment.
  • Ask your overhead lifting equipment provider about the availability and functionality of devices such as overlay limit switches, rope guides and others equipment used to detect, prevent or reduce the damaging effects of unintended side pulling.
  • Consider using an adjustable lifting beam and counterweight to allow an off-center load to be lifted without creating side-pull on the hoist.

To learn more about crane safety, see our training classes.

Joe Runyon

Joe Runyon is a Vertical Market Specialist for Oil & Gas at Columbus McKinnon Corporation.

CM-Entertainment Mega School now 10 day Event

CM-Entertainment Mega School now 10 day Event

CM-Entertainment Mega School Each year Columbus McKinnon hosts a 5-day CM-Entertainment Mega School, to train up new entertainment riggers.

This year’s mega school, held in Orlando, Florida, was extended from the normal 5 days to a 10-day event. This one-of-a-kind class combined our 5-day Mega School with a 5-day Rope Access Certification course giving participants the chance to earn a total of 36 ETCP credits. It’s the ultimate entertainment rigger training!

Here are some of the highlights:

Part 1 of CM-Entertainment Mega School covers all aspects of hoist maintenance and troubleshooting.

CM-Entertainment Mega SchoolThe first half of this ETCP-recognized training course covered the design and operation of hoists, maintenance needs, inspection requirements and troubleshooting procedures. It also delved deep into electrical theory and troubleshooting of the CM Lodestar and CM Prostar hoists.

Participants received 12 points towards their ETCP Certification renewal. Upon passing, participants will receive a CM-ET certification card and document, both of which are good for five years.

The instructors this year were Eric Rouse who taught the entertainment rigging and myself, who taught the motors class.

Part 2 of our CM-Entertainment Mega School explores rigging terminology, equipment and entertainment concepts.

CM-Entertainment Mega School
The second part of our school was an intense exploration of rigging terminology, equipment and concepts for the entertainment industry. This year we partnered up with a company named HARP Rigging.  Nick Fleming from HARP, taught a level 1 SPRAT Class.  David Brown taught fall protection awareness, while Will Todd taught Truss Design and Theory.

The Rope Access Certification Course was a 5-day course consisting of four days of training and one day of evaluation.  This class encompasses everything a prospective student needs to understand and demonstrate to achieve rope access certification –   ranging from understanding anchors to performing a rescue of your fellow technician. Participants in this course received 24 points towards their ETCP Certification renewal.

Are you interested in next year’s Mega School? If so, please check our training site for updates on our next CM-Entertainment Ultimate Mega School or feel free to contact me directly.

Dave Carmack

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

Hoist Pre-Operational Safety Inspection Part 1: Safety Standards and Regulations

Hoist Pre-Operational Safety Inspection Part 1: Safety Standards and Regulations

This article is Part 1 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 Safety Standards and Regulations.

When using hoisting equipment, it is very important to know and understand all of the safety and inspection standards that apply to your lifting system. Depending on the type of equipment you are using, different standards may apply. This can often be confusing as different regulations apply to different parts of the lifting system.

To explain, let’s start with an overview of the most important safety standards and which part of the lifting system they apply to.

ASME is an organization that provides design and inspection standards for hoists and rigging products. ASME is a voluntary committee made up of industry experts. Their standards are voluntary standards updated every three years – not laws like OSHA regulations. Standards are used as guidance for safety because many of our products do not have applicable OSHA regulations.

The first ASME standard you need to be aware of is ASME B30.16. This standard applies to underhung powered hoists, including electric and air, as well as chainfalls. This standard covers construction, marking, inspection, use, and training.

In the entertainment industry, these hoists are covered by ANSI E1.6-2.  We recommend if you are in entertainment to obtain a copy of both standards.

Electric Hoists, safety standards
ASME B30.16 Electric Hoists
Air Hoists, safety standards
ASME B30.16 Air Hoists


Manual Hoists
ASME B30.16 Manual Hoists/Chainfalls

The second standard to be aware of is ASME B30.21, which applies to lever hoists, including chain, wire rope and strap hoists.

ASME B30.21 Lever Hoists, safety standards
ASME B30.21 Lever Hoists

Where it gets complicated is that, in many cases, there are multiple safety standards you need to understand to use or inspect a single hoist. Take the CM Bandit for example:

  • ASME B30.21 applies to the entire hoist
  • ASME B30.10 applies to hook inspection, how to use the hook properly, etc.

In this case, you have to understand two standards to ensure proper use and inspection of the Bandit hoist.

CM Bandit, safety standards

When using a full lifting system, the number of applicable safety standards can be even more overwhelming.

Below is a diagram of all the standards that can affect a single lifting system. Depending on whether you’re an operator or inspector, there are specific parts of these regulations you need to know detail. When in doubt, always check with the equipment manufacturer.
ASME safety standards

We know that understanding all of these regulations is no small task and that’s where Columbus McKinnon can help! CMCO’s professional training department can provide in-depth training on these regulations through an extensive training course offering. Learn more.

Updated on 11/9/15 to address hoists used in the entertainment industry.

Peter Cooke

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