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Safe operation of Lifting appliances and gears on board cargo ships

Guideline for Lifting Operations on board

Every lifting operation must be -
(a) properly planned;
(b) appropriately supervised; and
(c) carried out in a safe manner.

No lifting operation should be begun using equipment which is mobile or can be dismantled unless the employer is satisfied that the lifting equipment will remain stable during use under all foreseeable conditions taking into account the nature of the surface on which it stands.

All lifting operations must be properly planned, appropriately supervised and carried out to protect the safety of workers. Whilst this applies to all vessels, it is particularly important where cranes are being used on work boats and other small vessels as overloading of the crane, or attempting to lift at the wrong angle could, in some circumstances, result in the vessel sinking.

No person should be lifted except where the equipment is designed or specially adapted and equipped for the purpose or for rescue or in emergencies.

Contact with bare ropes and warps with moving parts of the equipment should be minimised by the installation of appropriate protective devices.

Weather conditions can play a significant part in the carrying out of lifting operations whether in the open air or within the vessel. In the former case high winds or wave action can for example cause suspended loads to swing dangerously or cause mobile equipment to topple. Movement of the ship due to wind or wave action can also have a similar effect in relation to lifting operations inside the ship. Consideration should be given to the effects of weather conditions on all lifting operations whether inside the ship or outside on deck, and such operations should be suspended before conditions deteriorate to the extent that lifting becomes dangerous.

Loads should if possible not be lifted over a person or any access way, and personnel should avoid passing under a load which is being lifted.

All loads should be properly slung and properly attached to lifting gear, and all gear properly attached to appliances.

The use of lifting appliances to drag heavy loads with the fall at an angle to the vertical is inadvisable because of the friction and other factors involved and should only take place in exceptional circumstances where the angle is small, there is ample margin between the loads handled and the safe working load of the appliance, and particular care is taken. In all other cases winches should be used instead. Derricks should never be used in union purchase for such work.

Any lifts by two or more appliances simultaneously can create hazardous situations and should only be carried out where unavoidable. They should be properly conducted under the close supervision of a responsible person, after thorough planning of the operation.

Lifting appliances should not be used in a manner likely to subject them to excessive over-turning moments.

Ropes, chains and slings should not be knotted.

A thimble or loop splice in any wire rope should have at least three tucks with a whole strand of rope and two tucks with one half of the wires cut out of each strand. The strands in all cases should be tucked against the lay of the rope. Any other form of splice which can be shown as efficient as the above can also be used.

Lifting gear should not be passed around edges liable to cause damage without appropriate packing.

Where a particular type of load is normally lifted by special gear, such as plate clamps, other arrangements should only be substituted if they are equally safe.

The manner of use of natural and man-made fibre ropes, magnetic and vacuum lifting devices and other gear should take proper account of the particular limitations of the gear and the nature of the load to be lifted.

Wire ropes should be regularly inspected and treated with suitable lubricants. These should be thoroughly applied so as to prevent internal corrosion as well as corrosion on the outside. The ropes should never be allowed to dry out.

Cargo handling equipment that is lifted onto or off ships by crane or derrick should be provided with suitable points for the attachment of lifting gear, so designed as to be safe in use. The equipment should also be marked with its own gross weight and safe working load.

Before any attempt is made to free equipment that has become jammed under load, every effort should first be made to take off the load safely. Precautions should be taken to guard against sudden or unexpected freeing. Others not directly engaged in the operation should keep in safe or protected positions.

When machinery and, in particular, pistons are to be lifted by means of screw-in eye bolts, the eye-bolts should be checked to ensure that they have collars, that the threads are in good condition and that the bolts are screwed hard down on to their collars. Screw holds for lifting bolts in piston heads should be cleaned and the threads checked to see that they are not wasted before the bolts are inserted.

Safe Working Load (SWL)

A load greater than the safe working load should not be lifted unless:

(i) a test is required by regulation; and

(ii) the weight of the load is known and is the appropriate proof load; and

(iii) the lift is a straight lift by a single appliance; and

(iv) the lift is supervised by the competent person who would normally supervise a test and carry out a thorough inspection; and

(v) the competent person specifies in writing that the lift is appropriate in weight and other respects to act as a test of the plant, and agrees to the detailed plan of the lift; and

(vi) no person is exposed to danger thereby.

Any grab fitted to a lifting appliance should be of an appropriate size, taking into account the safe working load of the appliance, the additional stresses on the appliance likely to result from the operation, and the material being lifted.

In the case of a single sheave block used in double purchase the working load applied to the wire should be assumed to equal half the load suspended from the block.

The safe working load of a lift truck means its actual lifting capacity, which relates the load which can be lifted to, in the case of a fork lift truck, the distance from the centre of gravity of the load from the heels of the forks. It may also specify lower capacities in certain situations, eg for lifts beyond a certain height.

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