Industrial Maintenance and Construction/Support Services Safety Manual - OSHA: Material Handling - Hoist Standard


Industrial Maintenance and Construction/Support Services Safety Manual - OSHA: Material Handling - Hoist Standard



The purpose of the Material Handling - Hoist Standard is to establish requirements for the safety of UNC-Chapel Hill (UNC-CH) employees while using various types of hoist to lift and/or lower heavy loads at various locations around campus, and to establish a set of guidelines and requirements that UNC-CH directors/department chairs, supervisors, employees, and the UNC-CH Environment, Health and Safety (EHS), must uphold. There are various hazards associated with hoist material handling operations, and this Standard has been developed to assist in eliminating and/or mitigating those hazards by recognition and safe load operations.

Scope of Applicability

This Standard applies to all UNC-CH Faculty, Staff (includes all full-time, part-time, temporary), Students, and all contractors working on behalf of the University.


In accordance with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the following requirements shall be met:

Hoist Equipment

New and existing hoist equipment shall meet OSHA standards and other regulations as required for installation and operation including the following:

  • load test certification;
  • rated load capacity clearly marked on the equipment;
  • specific warning information;
  • product model number, serial number, date of manufacture;
  • manufacturer’s name and contact information; and
  • manufacturer’s operational manual.

Some of the types of hoist equipment currently utilized on campus include:

  • overhead and gantry cranes,
  • chain block hoists,
  • lever hoists, and
  • shop cranes.


Inspections are divided into two general classifications: frequent and periodic. The intervals for inspections are dependent upon the nature and degree of exposure to wear, deterioration, malfunction or specified by manufacture. Frequent is defined as a pre-work inspection that is completed before actual use of the hoist. Periodic is defined as preventive maintenance which is completed at least annually in addition to the manufacturer’s specifications.

Periodic Inspections

When conducting periodic inspections of the hoist, check for the following:

  • Hook - Damages such as cracks, nicks, gouges, twisting, deformation of the throat opening, and wear on saddle or load bearing point. Inspect hook latch is present and operational and for any wear or deformation such as between the hook fitting and shank.
  • Chain - Damages such as nicks, gouges, deformation, flaws, heat damage, bent links, wear, stretch, corrosion, pitch elongation and proper lubrication. Inspect Hand Chain for deformation and pitch elongation.
  • Cable Hoist Wire Rope - Damages such as broken wire, broken strands, kinks and any deformation to the rope structure.
  • Reeving - Ensure that the chain or wire rope is properly reeved and that the rope or chain is not twisted around each other.
  • Limit Switches - Ensure that the upper limit device stops the lifting motion of the hoist load block before striking any part of the hoist.
  • Trolley - No missing bolts, nuts, screws, split pins. Apply oil when necessary.
  • Push-Button Switch and Cord - No deformation, breakage, loose screws, etc.
  • Deformation and Corrosion - Of the body frame, gear case, gears, sheaves, bearings, and chain stopper pin.
  • Rigging - No visible defects. Lifting tag is attached and legible.
    • Note - Any chain, wire rope, rope, strap must be certified (lifting tag attached).
  • Presence of bolts and nuts.
  • Wear of brake screws, linings, and ratchet wheels.
  • Markings also should be clearly shown and the switches and interlocks should operate correctly.

Documentation of the periodic inspection must be maintained and made available upon request for evaluation.

Pre-work Inspections

Operator must complete the pre-work inspection before using the hoist for material handling. The inspection describes the work being performed to ensure that the hoist/hoist components are in good working condition and able to lift and/or lower the load.

The pre-work inspection includes the following:

  • Hoist - General condition, all warning and safety labels are not missing and are legible; visible load capacity and guards; no wear/defects on outer shell.
  • Hook - Working safety latch; no deformation (bent), wear, cracks, nicks, gouges.
  • Wire Rope - No broken wires/cuts, distortion (frayed, elongated, wear spots, etc.).
  • Load - Weight of load.
  • Rigging - Within the load capacity of the hoist and no visible defects; lifting tag is attached and legible.
  • Check for any sign of oil leakage on the hoist and/or on the ground beneath the hoist.
  • Test run to ensure that all motions agree with control device markings.
  • Check for any unusual sounds from the hoist mechanism while operating the hoist.

If an issue is identified, then the hoist is to be immediately tagged “Out of Service” and reported to Supervisor. Documentation of the frequent (pre-work) inspection must be maintained and made available upon request for evaluation.

Safe Operating Procedures

The supervisor must assign an operator(s). The operator must have the knowledge, training, and experience of hoist operations and be assigned to evaluate work task and competence of individuals utilizing the hoist. Only designated employees shall operate a hoist and be in the area when hoist operations are in progress.

Load Capacity and Security

All employees involved in using a hoist must know or know where to find the load capacity for any hoist they might use.

The operator must evaluate the following:

  • the weight of the load and rigging hardware;
  • the load capacity of the hoisting device; and
  • the working load limit of the hoisting rope, slings, and hardware.

Note: The rigging (chain, wire rope, rope, strap) must have an attached, legible lifting tag before it can be used.

When the weights and capacities are known, the operator must then determine how to lift the load so that it is stable. Operators must be aware of elements that can affect lifting and or lowering of heavy loads safety, factors that reduce capacity, and safe practices in rigging.

Properly controlling access to your work area is necessary when performing a hoist operation. Securing and controlling the load is vital, in order to ensure the safety of all employees. Tag lines can be used to maintain control, stabilize, and/or steer the load when being lifted and lowered.

Elevated Hoist Areas

Each employee in an elevated hoist area shall be protected from falling 4 feet or more to lower levels by guardrail systems or personal fall arrest systems. If the guardrail system (example: chain, gate, or guardrail) or other parts are removed to facilitate the hoisting operation (example: during landing of materials), and an employee must lean through the access opening or out over the edge of the access opening to receive or guide equipment and materials, that employee shall be protected from fall hazards by a personal fall arrest system.

Scheduled Preventive Maintenance

Preventive Maintenance is to be completed at least annually in addition to the manufacturer’s specifications. Documentation of the periodic inspection must be maintained and made available upon request for evaluation.


The supervisor is responsible for ensuring that employees are properly trained before utilizing a hoist for material handling. If multiple types of hoist are used, then the employee must be trained on each one.

The training shall include the following:

  1. pre-shift inspection process and documentation;
  2. how to properly and safely use the specific hoist;
  3. address the operational hazards that are specified by the equipment manufacturer;
  4. how to recognize the hazards when working with and around the equipment;
  5. tag out procedures for failed hoist inspections; and
  6. who to contact for repairs.

This training can be provided directly by the manufacture of equipment, vendor, or a competent person who is knowledgeable, or preparing a specific Job Safety Analysis (JSA). The JSA is designed to give step-by-step directions for a job, the hazards associated with each step, and how to mitigate the hazards


Training - Supervisor is responsible for providing EHS with written documentation that the employee received specific hoist equipment training. The documentation must include the material covered along with supervisor and employee signatures. EHS will update HASMIS (Health and Safety Management Information System) and maintain employee safety training records.

Equipment Inspection - Supervisors must maintain documentation of equipment inspection records for each hoist to ensure:

  1. all hoists/components have been checked before each use, and
  2. that the equipment is in safe working conditions.

These records must be available for examination.

Preventive Maintenance - Supervisor must maintain documentation of preventive maintenance records of the equipment along with proof testing certification. Proof testing must be completed before use for a new, repaired, or reconditioned hoist. These records must be available for examination.


ANSI - American National Standards Institute

DOL - US Department of Labor

OSHA - US Occupational Safety and Health Administration

Frequent Inspections - Pre-work inspections that are completed before actual use of the hoist.

Periodic Inspections - Preventive maintenance which is completed at least annually in addition to the manufacturer’s specifications.

Related Requirement

External Regulations and Consequences

  • OSHA regulates material handling via hoists in the US Code of Federal Regulations - Title 29, Subtitle B, Chapter XVII, Part 1910, Subpart N: Materials Handling and Storage. See specifically §1910.179 - §1910.184.

University Policies, Standards, and Procedures

  • EHS - Job Safety Analysis
  • EHS - Industrial Maintenance and Construction/Support Services Safety Manual - OSHA: Material Handling - Hoist Policy
  • EHS - Industrial Maintenance and Construction/Support Services Safety Manual - Fall Protection
  • EHS - Environment, Health and Safety Manual - Chapter 05.12: Occupational Safety Policies - Personal Protective Equipment
  • EHS - OSHA: Material Handling - Hoist Pre-work Checklist

Contact Information

Primary Contact

Any questions regarding this policy should be directed to the UNC-CH Department of Environment, Health and Safety:

EHS Director and/or Workplace Safety
Unit: Environment, Health and Safety
Phone: 919-962-5507

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Article ID: 132002
Thu 4/8/21 9:21 PM
Sun 8/8/21 1:25 PM
Effective Date
If the date on which this document became/becomes enforceable differs from the Origination or Last Revision, this attribute reflects the date on which it is/was enforcable.
10/28/2019 12:00 AM
Issuing Officer
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Issuing Officer Title
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Executive Director
Last Review
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10/28/2019 12:00 AM
Last Revised
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10/28/2019 12:00 AM
Date on which the original version of this document was first made official.
10/28/2019 12:00 AM
Responsible Unit
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Environment, Health and Safety