Monday, July 2, 2012

Can You Hoist a Below The Hook Device Over a Person’s Head?

Think about it. If the crane has no load except the below the hook device are you allowed to lift it and transport it with an overhead crane over someone’s head? I am hoping your answer is “no” because that is the correct answer. People will try to argue this on many levels but you are never allowed to lift any load over someone’s head. I will visit customers and I am amazed at what I often see. Loads are continually lifted over personnel’s heads, and because no one has ever gotten hurt they continue to do so. Is that what it takes to get people to not do something they really shouldn’t be doing? I truly think OSHA needs to spend more time visiting facilities in the general industry and monitor their operation.

In 2007 OSHA wrote an interpretation letter specifically regarding this issue.  Never is there a time when it is ok to lift something over someone’s head. This letter refers back to OSHA’s regulation 1910.179 (n)(3)(vi) which states, The employer shall require that the operator avoid carrying loads over people. It is the employer’s responsibility to ensure that loads are not carried over someone’s head.

However, because of how this regulation is written, many people will argue that it is ok to carry an empty below the hook device over someone’s head because it is part of the crane. Again this is incorrect. OSHA defines a load as, the total superimposed weight on the load block or hook. Therefore anything below the hook is considered part of the load. This would include slings, spreader beams, scales, magnets, e.t.c.

Talk to your overhead crane service provider about your production process to ensure you are staying within the regulations that have been set in place to keep crane operators safe. Your service provider should be a team member of your production and maintenance staff. Get them involved and see how they can help you today.


  1. I agree with everything in your article with one exception: "OSHA needs to spend more time visiting facilities". It should read, "Company owners need to be more safety-conscience and start spending money on training". Too many company's spend money on signs and fancy slogans to give the appearance of safety in the workplace. If owners would train people properly, OSHA wouldn't be necessary.

  2. That is true and I agree with your comment. However, since many companies are not safety conscience then OSHA needs to be more involved. OSHA can do simple things like paperwork audits and plant inspections. I think companies should even OSHA to help them get compliant by inviting them into their plant. Like you said, many companies appear to be safety cautious with all their safety signs, safety gear, but the fact is many safety managers are not trained to a level to make their employees safe. Many companies don’t even have a full time safety manager. There is so much for a safety manager to know. The best thing they could do is to team themselves up with companies that could help them be compliant and keep their people safe.

  3. I understand that this wasn't necessarily brought up with regards to mobile cranes, however on mobile cranes the hook itself and often the line is considered part of the load and therefore according to the "law" should never be swung over top of someone. Good luck getting a sling on a 4500lb block without getting in the bite.

    On a real note, if the device is on a hook with a trustworthy gate and isn't used in a situation were it is likely to be "removed" by an outside source, such as being knocked off by an impact with something, than I wouldn't worry to much

  4. Fantastic post - Great explainations and thinking.I'm looking forward to what you have for us next..!
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