LEEA Issues New Guidance on Using Hand Chain Blocks at an Angle to the Vertical

The LEEA (Lifting Equipment Engineers Association) has modified its guidance on the use of hand chain hoists (also referred as hand chain blocks) at an angle to the vertical. Whilst previously advising against any such use, the new guidance reflects the fact that some hand chain hoists are now designed to be used in this manner. Furthermore, the LEEA believes that, in certain applications, standard hand chain blocks can be used safely at an angle to the vertical, if an appropriate risk assessment is conducted and additional precautions observed.

Despite the changes, the LEEA is stressing that the new advice does not mean that all hand chain blocks can routinely be used at an angle to the vertical. The individual characteristics of each application must be carefully assessed. In addition, the LEEA is also highlighting the fact that, in some cases, devices such as lever hoists and jaw winches may be more appropriate than a hand chain block. The LEEA’s updated advice also includes a list of special precautions that should be observed if a hand chain block is used at an angle to the vertical.

Full details of the new guidance (Document No. LEEA 053) can be found in the news section of the LEEA website (www.leeaint.com). In addition, it will be included in the next edition of the LEEA Code of Practice for the Safe Use of Lifting Equipment (COPSULE), and amendments will be made to other LEEA publications, including the User’s Pocket Guide. The revised guidance will also be the subject of a presentation at the forthcoming LEEA Roadshow event, which takes place in the Forbes Suite of the Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre (AECC), on Wednesday, June 26th.

Commenting on the revised guidance, Geoff Holden, chief executive of the LEEA, said: “These changes bring COPSULE up to date in terms of the range of hand chain blocks now available on the market, and the fact that there are circumstances in which it is reasonable to use standard products at an angle to the vertical. However, the new guidance should certainly not be regarded as a green light for the routine use of hand chain blocks in such applications. ”

Established in 1944, the LEEA has over 650 member companies worldwide and campaigns vigorously for higher standards of safety within the lifting industry. Key services provided include training, accreditation and expert technical advice. Member companies include those involved in the design, manufacture, hire, repair, refurbishment, test, examination, verification and use of lifting equipment. Applicants are subject to an initial technical audit before full membership is granted, and then to a continuing programme of assessments. For large scale users of overhead lifting equipment, associate membership provides benefits such as access to technical information and training, without the need for auditing.

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