Tag: overhead crane

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.

Answers to Your Top 7 Crane and Hoist Questions

Answers to Your Top 7 Crane and Hoist Questions

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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.

Does your Overhead Crane Meet OSHA Regulations?

Does your Overhead Crane Meet OSHA Regulations?

Jason, an Assistant Manager with one of our Channel Partners, asks:

“I received a call from a customer for whom I had conducted an inspection. The customer stated they received an OSHA reprimand for not having monthly inspections on their cranes. They have 2 top-running bridge underhung trolley-type cranes. OSHA referenced 1910.179 J2IV and 1910.179 B1 as the violations.

In the book I have, 1910.179 B1 states that ‘this section applies to overhead and gantry cranes, including semi gantry, cantilever gantry, wall cranes, storage bridge cranes, and the others having the same fundamental characteristics. These cranes are grouped together because they all have trolleys and similar travel characteristics.’

Are the references for the reprimand accurate?”

Tom answers:

Some confusion exists among crane and hoist owners, users and service providers regarding crane configurations and the application of Federal OSHA 1910.179 regulations. Some of this confusion may be caused by the first definition in 1910.179 – (a)(1):A “crane” is a machine for lifting and lowering a load and moving it horizontally…”  Because all overhead crane configurations fit this definition to one degree or another, we tend to lump them together and assume that all are subject to these regulations.  This is not the case. I wrote an article on the subject entitled “Does OSHA 1910.179 apply?” To read the full article, go here.

A second resource I want to share with you consists of two OSHA interpretations:

Interpretation #1: Click here
Interpretation #2: Click here

Each interpretation makes it quite clear that OSHA 1910.179 does not apply to the crane types you describe. For OSHA to prevail on a General Duty Clause, which they have not cited, they would have to prove or establish risk of serious injury or death. If the operators are doing proper daily pre-operational inspections, or even inspections once per month, they are covered. These “Frequent Inspections” do not have to be documented. (ASME B30.17 & B30.16.)

ASME B30.16 covers the underhung hoist and the “hoist chains” cited in 1910.179(j)(iv). In short, OSHA doesn’t apply.

Below are some additional resources related to this topic:

Disclaimer:
This blog post is Tom Reardon’s opinion of the interpretation of the relevant sections of OSHA. The reader should seek a legal opinion.

Tom Reardon

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