From healthcare to construction, lifting equipment is required in countless types of industries and for a whole range of needs and purposes. However, many questions arise related to lifting equipment and some confusion can occur in understanding how to use such pieces of machinery correctly. Allow us to provide a clear and concise guide by answering the following questions in turn:
- What Are The Different Types Of Lifting Equipment?
- What Factors Need To Be Considered When Choosing Lifting Equipment?
- Why Is Lifting Equipment Safety So Important?
- What Are The Dos and Donts Of Lifting Safely?
What Are The Different Types Of Lifting Equipment?
When we talk about lifting equipment we are referring to any type of work equipment that is used for lifting or lowering loads. It also includes accessories and attachments that are used as part of the lifting or lowering process. Some typical lifting equipment includes the following:
- Motor vehicle lifts
- Patient hoists
- Building cleaning cradles
- Passenger lifts and goods lifts
Of course, there are plenty more pieces of lifting equipment, the list above is just a small selection of some of the most common types.
What Factors Need To Be Considered When Choosing Lifting Equipment?
As noted above, lifting equipment covers a wide range of equipment. This means that a choice that is right for one task may not be as suitable for another task, even if the jobs seem quite similar at first glance.
When choosing lifting equipment it is crucial to fully understand your lifting or lowering needs, to understand the choice of lifting equipment available to you, and to ask for expert advice when necessary.
The price of purchasing or hiring lifting equipment can vary widely. This means that your budget is going to play a significant role in the type of equipment that you choose. That being said, you should never attempt to take on a lifting task using equipment that is not sufficient for the purpose.
Safe Working Load
All lifting equipment will have a safe working load (SWL) sticker. You are required, under law, to only lift loads which are safely within this limit. If you have a load that is bigger than the SWL, you need to use different lifting equipment; it really is as simple as that.
When choosing a piece of lifting equipment, you need to look for two things. Firstly, it should be CE marked and secondly, it should have a Declaration of Conformity. It can be wise to familiarise yourself with the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998. All companies who hire lifting equipment need to comply with these regulations.
Why Is Lifting Equipment Safety So Important?
Any tasks that involve lifting heavy loads come with an element of risk. However, by adhering to safety measures when using lifting equipment you can minimize that risk significantly. Safety should always come first. Below are various ways that injuries can occur in such settings:
- People can be hit by moving parts
- Sharp edges can cause injury, even as serious as severing a limb
- Burns or electric shocks can be caused by devices that are run by electricity
- Body parts can get trapped, for instance, in belts or pulley drives
- Equipment that has not been maintained correctly can cause dangerous faults.
What Are The Dos and Donts Of Lifting Safely?
By knowing the common dos and donts of lifting safely you can avoid injury to yourself and provide a safer working environment for others. Allow us to provide you with a guide for each one.
- Get familiar with the manufacturers instructions for the lifting equipment you will use and adhere to the instructions at all times
- Ensure the load is properly attached to the lifting gear, using attachments if necessary
- Ensure that any lifting equipment you use is certified, well maintained, suitable for the task and not overdue for inspection
- Ensure any employee using the lifting equipment has been suitably trained and is wearing appropriate protective clothing
- For unbalanced loads, raise from the ground several inches and pause to find its center of gravity
- Attempt to lift a load if you have any doubts whatsoever about the weight or whether it is suitable for the lifting equipment
- Remove any safeguards; you may think this will make the task faster to complete but it can create a very dangerous working environment
- Use chains that appear to be very worn or have knots that make them shorter than they should be
- Use equipment that is damaged, needs to be inspected or is makeshift
- Use equipment that has a danger tag attached
- Exceed the SWL (safe working load) of a piece of lifting equipment
- Wear clothing that is loose or have long hair untied, this can pose a real risk to moving parts
- Distract someone who is using a piece of lifting equipment.
The Bottom Line On Lifting Equipment
Lifting equipment can play a key role in reducing workload and work time within many different industries. However, its use comes with a significant amount of risks too. By ensuring that you only use equipment that is certified, well-maintained, suitable for the task, and a choice that you are trained to use, you are well on the way to enjoying the benefits that come with lifting equipment without facing the risks that are also accompanied with this type of work.
If you are unsure as to what type of lifting equipment would be right for your needs or in fact, are struggling to identify what your needs are for a particular task, it can be very helpful to seek the advice of an expert within the field of lifting and lowering. Most hire companies will be happy to discuss your plans, help you to identify your needs, and then recommend the right piece of lifting equipment to ensure you can carry out the task safely, efficiently, and within a realistic timeframe.