Safety Precautions on Chain and Lever Blocks
(Taken from this post by Beaver Brands. Republished with permission. Edited for point of view, recency and relevance.)
Manual chain and lever blocks are commonly used for heavy-duty lifting and material handling operations.
Lever blocks are designed for lifting, lowering or tensioning loads. Provided the load chain remains straight, they can be used in both vertical and horizontal applications.
Chain blocks are used for lifting, lowering or extracting loads in vertical lifting applications only.
Know your load
Exceeding the rated capacity of chain blocks is a major cause of load failures and injuries within Australian workplaces each year.
Know the weight of your loads to ensure you match it with the correct block. The application, size and the type of load must be taken into consideration in selecting the right block for your lift.
(We recommend that you add a safety margin. For example, if your load is 800 kg, use a block with a load capacity of 960 kg or higher.)
Some hoists, like the Beaver chain and lever blocks, are colour-coded to make selection easier and safer.
Inspect your block
As with all lifting applications, always err on the side of caution, as the results of failure can be catastrophic.
Inspections should be carried out on all chain and lever blocks:
- Before every use: To reduce risk, inspect the chains every time to ensure they are not twisted. Also, check for external damage to the block which may cause the load to drop.
- Frequently: Check that the load chain, hand chain, top and bottom hooks/latches, and the brake mechanism are in good condition.
- Periodically: Have a competent and certified inspector conduct checks in compliance with AS1418 every 12 months.
Minimise other common risks
- Never overload your block.
- Ensure that slings or attachments are secured properly.
- Never run the hook assembly into the body of the block.
- Do not lift loads over people.
- Do not leave a suspended load unattended.