Many of the buildings and structures we see today could not have been constructed without the help of lifting equipment. Even though it’s such an innovative tool that is essential to today’s world, there is a lot we don’t know about it.
So, if you’ve been looking for a little more information on this underappreciated, modern-day masterpiece of machinery, this basic guide will provide you with this information and more.
Let’s dive right in.
What is Lifting Equipment?
As the name implies, lifting equipment is an umbrella term used to define any equipment that can be used to lift loads. Used in all kinds of industries, from construction to healthcare, lifting equipment serves its purpose in a vast range of applications.
Generally speaking, lifting equipment can be classed as any equipment that is used to lift or lower loads and any accessories that are used in doing so. It’s tough to narrow down the history of lifting equipment because so many individual tools and pieces of machinery fall under this term. But one thing we can confirm is that lifting equipment has been around for quite some time.
The Different Types of Lifting Equipment
Many different types of tools and equipment are classed as lifting equipment because lifting forms part of their purpose and core functions. You might even be surprised by some of the names on this list!
Here are the most common types of lifting equipment found in construction sites around the world:
- Block and tackle
- Vacuum lifts
- Rotating screws
- Cranes (gantry, tower, telescopic, mobile, terrain and crawler cranes)
- Gin poles
- Shear legs
- Lifting harnesses
- Hydraulic lifting pads
- Air lift bags
There are also many types of accessories that are commonly used with lifting equipment. Amongst many others, these accessories include chains, slings, eyebolts, shackles, ropes, lifting frames or lifting beams.
Staying Safe with Lifting Equipment
The world of lifting equipment is heavily regulated. Acts like the LOLER act created by the HASWA do all that they can to ensure the people operating lifting equipment are doing so in the safest way possible.
Lifting equipment can be dangerous to work with, which is why there are so many rules and regulations in place. To list a few common dangers:
- The equipment’s sharp edges can cut, sever, stab or puncture skin
- Moving parts of the equipment can cause injury
- Dropped or ejected materials from loads can cause injury
- Body parts can be trapped between rollers, belts, chains and pulley drives as well as be crushed between moving parts
- Certain parts, materials and emissions of the machine can cause burning or scalding
- And so many more dangers are associated with lifting equipment
Ensure that anyone who is operating on or near the lifting equipment is decked out with the necessary PPE for that piece of machinery. For example, when you’re operating a crane, you’ll need a hard hat, goggles and gloves as basic PPE. PPE is used to protect operators from physical, electrical, heat, chemical, biohazard and airborne particulate matter.
A sure-fire way to avoid getting in any regulatory trouble is to always ensure that the lifting equipment is working properly. Organise regular testing services and inspections to make sure that all your rigging and lifting equipment are in working order.
Looking to Hire Lifting Equipment?
Because lifting equipment is such a specialised piece of equipment, you shouldn’t buy or hire one from just any company.
There are a few considerations that you should keep in mind before hiring lifting equipment:
- How long has the company been around for? In all circumstances, you want to go with the guys that have been doing this for decades as opposed to newer companies that don’t have a decent amount of experience.
- Is the company compliant with all regulations? Technical knowledge of the ins and outs of regulations is critical when working with this kind of equipment. Make sure the company you’re supporting has well-trained staff that will ensure that you are, and remain, compliant at all times.
- Where is the company located? As far as possible, always opt to use a company that has a presence in or around your area. Just in case anything goes wrong with the equipment, you’ll want to know they can be there promptly.
Lifting equipment might not get enough credit for it, but it truly has revolutionised the world we live in. It’s astounding to think of how many core elements of day-to-day life wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for the humble lifting equipment that made it possible.
The next time you see cars being loaded onto a truck or when you happen to notice the buildings around you, take a moment to appreciate lifting equipment.