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The Importance of Hoist Safety

By Stephen Murdoch

The safe use and application of a hoist will go a long way to reducing workplace injuries. All too often, hoist-related accidents could have been prevented by providing comprehensive training to the operators and through proper hoist inspection and maintenance. In recognition of this, the Hoist Manufacturing Institute (HMI) is working diligently to educate the industry on the importance of hoist safety.

President of HMI and global director of engineering initiatives for MHI member Columbus McKinnon Corporation, Bob Burkey, sees great value in educating industry stakeholders. “The fact that hoists are used to lift and move heavy loads in work areas has always presented hazards to the hoist operator and other workers in the vicinity of the lift. That is why safety has always been a major focus at HMI. Over the years, the focus at HMI and in our industry has changed from publishing standards that address safe designs for hoists and cranes to safety practices and training. We have found that it does not matter how safe the hoist design is if the personnel maintaining and operating the equipment are not properly trained,” Burkey explained.

Developing safety standards for the industry takes great efforts. “Throughout the year, HMI participates in the development and maintenance of the hoist and crane safety standards published by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) and the Crane Manufacturers Association of America, Inc. (CMAA). Several of our HMI member companies are also members of CMAA and these two MHI industry groups work closely together to insure they are sending a consistent safety message to our users,” he said.

HMI members are also actively involved on the ASME B30 Committee that publishes safety standards for hoists and cranes. “Among these standards are the B30.16 Safety Standard for Overhead Hoists, the B30.21 Safety Standard for Lever Hoists, the B30.17 Safety Standard for Cranes and Monorails (Underhung), the B30.2 Safety Standard for Overhead and Gantry Cranes (Top running) and the HST Performance Standards for Hoists.

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