Construction Hoists: Understanding Exposures & Controls
- Sathy Rajendran (Hoffman Construction Co.) | Brian Clarke (G.E.W llc Safety Solutions)
- Document ID
- American Society of Safety Engineers
- Professional Safety
- Publication Date
- July 2011
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 28 - 34
- 2011. American Society of Safety Engineers
- 0 in the last 30 days
- 44 since 2007
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Construction hoists, also known as man-lifts, personnel hoists and construction elevators, are commonly used when constructing high-rise buildings to transport personnel, tools, equipment and materials between floors (Photo 1). Incidents involving construction hoists caused 93 deaths among construction workers between 1992 and 2003 (ASSE, 2010). Table 1 presents deaths from hoist-related injuries by major construction occupation. Despite the number of fatalities associated with hoist operations and the similarity of hoists to tower cranes in terms of tall mast sections, building tie-ins and public exposure, construction hoist installation and operation have received little attention.
Over the past few decades, hoists and tower cranes have made construction material handling easier and safer. However, the hoist itself introduces several hazards and exposures that must be mitigated during its life cycle on a project (Figure 1, p. 30). A hoist is erected on site from several components, usually with the help of an on-site tower crane. If a jobsite has no tower crane or if tower crane operations are limited, a mobile crane (an assist crane) is used.
A hoist is typically rented by a general contractor from a lessor (rental or manufacturer), although some large contractors own hoists as part of their equipment fleet. In either case, as the controlling contractor, a general contractor that uses a construction hoist on its site is responsible for its safe operation; therefore, the controlling contractor should implement a comprehensive construction hoist safety program. Subcontractors should address hoist operations in their safety planning when their work is performed near a hoist.
Failure to follow proper safety procedures during a hoist’s life cycle could result in severe personal injury, death or property damage. This article provides in-formation to help contractors and SH&E professionals develop proactive construction hoist safety programs.
Hoists have either one or two cars that travel vertically along stacked mast tower sections. The base of the mast is connect-ed to a structural concrete foundation. Mast sections are tied-in to the building at regular intervals determined by the hoist manufacturer. The manufacturer typically provides the different forces generated by the hoist on the building. Based on these data, the structural engineer (with a P.E. license) designs or verifies the tie-in connection point to the building to withstand the load imposed on the building.
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