Industrial hoists are incredibly complicated pieces of equipment. While modern technologies have made industrial hoists safe for use in all sorts of industries, the complexity and scale of modern hoists also require a more thorough inspection. Under the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the installation and usage of industrial hoists is strictly regulated, and those working on them have to be properly licensed and certified as well.
During periodic inspection and preventive maintenance activities, engineers and maintenance crews are always on the lookout for three key items that are needed to ensure the safe operation of hoists and similar equipment.
1. Moving parts. Industrial hoists have dozens, if not hundreds, of moving parts. While they are designed to handle heavy loads around the clock, their individual parts have to be inspected regularly. These include cables, sheaves, hook, wheels and bearings. Frayed or damaged cables must be replaced right away, while wheel bearings should be lubricated as well. Broken bearings can cause the hoist to stop and slow down in the middle of operations.
2. Electrical components. Modern industrial hoists are run using sophisticated electrical components, such as motors, drives, and automation. Switches must turn on and off on demand; not doing so can result in the motor burning out or the hoist overshooting the cargo it is supposed to carry. All electric cables must comply with OSHA regulations to minimize the risk of electrocution, both for operators and other workers.
3. Other items. The working environment of an industrial hoist has to be free of obstructions that may snap or fray the cable. These include energized electric lines, which could conduct high voltages on to the hoist and to the control box. Other metal items, such as ladders, scaffolds, or tools, also pose an electrocution risk, and thus must be cleared from the work space. In addition, safety precautions must be observed. For instance, a sign saying “Overhead hoist in use” should be displayed at a visible area, and hard hats should be available for everyone working in the same space. Finally, the hoist and its components should be tested regularly for its loading capacity per OSHA requirements.
We at J.B.S. Cranes understand the importance of safety and compliance with prevailing OSHA regulations when it comes to the installation and operation of industrial hoists and similar lifting equipment. For more information about our services, contact us at 800-942-JBSC (5272).