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How to Lift a Load Properly

Bob Mounsey
Technical Trainer

One simple process applies to every single load.

Operators who consistently lift loads the right way are able to prevent accidents, reduce wear-and-tear, and avoid unnecessary repairs. Nevertheless, almost a quarter of crane operators don’t know how to lift a load properly. Often inexperienced or under-trained, these operators put themselves and others at risk, as poor lifting form can result in minor accidents, like slings coming off, and major safety hazards, like free-falling loads.

Whether you’ve been on the job for a day or a decade, it’s important to ensure that your lifts are safe, efficient, and correct every time. Regardless of load size or type, there’s one correct process for lifting loads:

1. Perform pre-operational checks at the beginning of every shift (required by OSHA.)

  • Check wire ropes for damage. Ropes must function well and swing in the right directions.
  • Make sure that the upper limit switch is working. The upper limit switch is a safety device designed to prevent the bottom block from contacting the upper structure. If the switch is faulty, the bottom block could damage the hoist and cause the load to fall freely.

2. Center the lifting attachment over the load. With unusually shaped loads, you may have to start lifting slowly, see how the load settles, lower it back down, and adjust accordingly. It is not uncommon to course-correct several times when lifting irregular loads. Keep in mind that the extra effort is worth it; centering the load is critical for preventing the load from swinging.

3. Ensure that the rigging is sufficient for the load. All rigging is tagged with its designated lifting capacities at specific configurations. Make sure that rigging can handle the load—neglecting this step is one of the most common lifting mistakes that operators make. Additionally, be sure to use softeners on slings when lifting loads with sharp edges. This keeps loads from breaking or damaging the slings.

4. Lift in slow motion. Use very slow speeds to lift the load. Only once slack is gone, rigging is tight, and obstructions are cleared can you carry the load freely to its destination. Remove rigging after the load settles.

How to improve lifting form

If you or your crane operators are not 100 percent comfortable with proper lifting technique, it’s a good idea to seek more training. Konecranes Training Institute routinely holds classes for operators at customers’ facilities. We also offer rigging courses, which can be valuable supplemental operator training. Keep in mind that it’s always beneficial to train proactively—before accidents or preventable repairs happen.

Another way to improve lifting safety and efficiency is to outfit your crane with modernizations designed to control the lifting process. Two modernizations are particularly beneficial. First, anti-sway devices keep the load centered and prevent it from swinging hazardously. Second, Variable Frequency Drive, an inverter-driven control, allows operators to manage the crane’s speed smoothly and precisely.

Contact Konecranes

For help improving the safety and efficiency of your facility, please contact Konecranes today. Your local office will be in touch as soon as possible.  

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