Overhead lifts are perhaps the most challenging of all. You have to pay attention to the tiniest details to ensure the safety of your crew, equipment, and the load. Overhead lifting often requires considerable time and thought to set up. To execute every step flawlessly, you need to plan it well in advance. That’s where overhead lifting and rigging best practices come in.

Let’s discuss 15 best practices that you can’t miss.

1. Work with Only Qualified Personnel

One of the first lifting and rigging best practices is identifying qualified personnel to inspect the equipment. You will need a team of experts to check your equipment before each use. Also, you will need a certified inspector to check the equipment periodically.

Make sure to identify these qualified people as soon as possible. And create an overhead lifting equipment inspection schedule to check your industrial wire ropes, slings, shackles, links, etc. Stick to this schedule. It will help you ensure the safety of your crew.

2. Begin with a Thorough Hardware Inspection

Before your overhead lifting operation begins, you must perform a thorough visual inspection. You will need to check each piece of equipment to identify deformation, cracks, stretch, excessive nicks, or gouges. 

Stick to the ASME B30.26 – rigging hardware inspection best practices. Make sure you do this before each operation. Check everything, including adjustable hardware, shackles, web slings, wire ropes, eye swivels, links, and eye bolts.

3. Don’t Forget to Inspect the Slings

As mentioned before, you should check everything, especially slings. Most lifting and rigging procedures involve using different slings, including wire rope slings, alloy chain slings, synthetic rope slings, synthetic web slings, and synthetic round slings.

If one of these slings gets snapped, it can put your entire operation at risk. Make sure to inspect each sling for damage or irregularities. Remove the slings from us immediately if you see any damage or deformities.

4. Consider Working Load Limit

Another crucial point you need to consider is the working load limit (WLL). The working load limit is the maximum weight a piece of overhead lifting equipment can support. When you use more than one type of equipment, the working load limit is only as good as its lowest WLL component. Keep this in mind when putting together your overhead lift.

5. Understand the Total Weight of the Load

You will also need to know the total weight of the load. Make sure to note and add the weight of every element in your lifting and rigging procedures. In other words, you will need to add the weight of slings, shackles, wire ropes, hooks, and the load itself.

6. Use Fall Protection for Cranes

Cranes are an inevitable part of most lifting and rigging procedures. You will need to use fall protection for all the cranes in your operation. This will help prevent the accidental fall of the load, rigging equipment, and your workers.

7. Put up Safety Signs Everywhere

The seventh lifting and rigging best practice is putting up safety signs. You will have to keep the entire work site safe. So, putting up safety signs is a must. You can use decals, labels, placards, cord tags, or other markings to indicate safety hazards. This will help prevent sleep and fall accidents on your site.

8. Use the Right Type of Sling Hitch

A proper sling hitch plays a critical role in ensuring everyone’s safety. You will need to choose between vertical hitch, choker hitch, double-wrap choker hitch, and basket hitch. Choose a suitable sling hitch, depending on your application. And yes, buy supporting slings only from a trusted overhead lifting equipment supplier.

9. Remove Obstructions If Any

The work site needs to be free of any potential safety hazards. You will need to remove construction, if any, before setting up the equipment. This is often the first step in lifting and rigging procedures to ensure safety. Removing potential safety hazards can help prevent accidents like slips, trips, falls, burns, electrical incidents, and material handling injuries.

10. Use Bridge and Trolley Breaks

Like fall protection for your cranes, you will need to use bridge and trolley breaks. This will help you slow, stop, hold, and control the bridge and trolley, preventing potential mishaps.

You should also train your workers to handle bridge and trolley breaks effectively. Proper training can help you prevent wear and tear on the bridge and trolley. This will also prevent you from causing harm to your workers or damaging the load while doing the overhead lifting.

11. Always Use Sling Protection

Slings have the most versatile use in overhead lifting applications. You will most probably require all types of slings for a job. Use sling protection for all of them. This will prevent the slings from getting damaged due to corners, protrusions, and rough surfaces.

12. Understand the Environmental Conditions

Considering environmental conditions is equally critical to plan your lifting and rigging procedures. You will need to watch out for environmental factors like extreme temperatures and wind, excess moisture or snow, chemically-active areas, and elevation changes. They will have a significant impact on your rigging and lifting process. You may need to take additional safety precautions to reduce the safety risk.

13. Check the Identification Tags

As mentioned before, missing identification tags are a serious safety threat. Although very important, this lifting and rigging best practice often gets ignored. Make sure you don’t.

Every overhead lifting equipment comes with a safety tag. It bears the details, such as the manufacturer’s name, working load limit, and serial number.

Using the equipment, even if this tag is missing, can result in accidents. Without the rated capacity, you risk using the equipment to carry more load than it can handle. It is your responsibility to make sure this doesn’t happen.

14. Use Guards for Couplings and Line Shafts

You will also need to use guards for couplings and line shafts. You can use either fixed or removable guards as a safety barrier. Safety guards will protect your workers from any moving crane parts.

15. Use Conductor Bar Guards

Although last, this is also a critical lifting and rigging best practice. Conductor bars are used to power overhead crane, monorail, and hoist systems in many rigging and lifting applications. They run along the bridge to power the trolley or the runway to power the bridge.

You will need to use conductor bar guards to protect your workers from potential electrocution. These guards will prevent accidental contact with power lines. Besides, ASME standard B30.2 calls for proper conductor bar guarding.

Work with A Reliable Overhead Lifting Equipment Supplier

Your workplace safety begins by investing in high-quality rigging and lifting equipment. And only a reliable overhead lifting equipment supplier with a large inventory can help you choose the right set of hardware. Then, you can go ahead and take these safety measures into account. That’ll help you prevent accidents and the consequent unexpected delays.

At Elite Sales, we provide you only with high-quality, durable, and easy-to-use overhead lifting equipment. Get in touch with our experts today to know more.