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Choosing the right on-site lifting equipment

If you mention on-site lifting equipment to someone, they may think of forklifts or cranes, but the term covers a far greater range of products than that. There are many different types of lifting equipment and accessories available in construction such as chain, rope, wire, and webbing slings, and shackles are included. As are lift shaft towers, manual and electric chain blocks, lever hoists, aluminium gantries, and beam clamps and beam trollies.

Bring up lifting equipment, and a whole new set of rules and regulations kick in. It’s not just heavy cranes and forklifts that fall under the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations (LOLER), but all equipment used for lifting any weight. With this in mind, it is highly important that you choose the right lifting equipment for the lift involved.

Lift Shaft Towers

In retrospect, probably not what you would initially consider as a type of lifting equipment, although it is designed to carry the weight of an employee and materials. Lift shaft towers are lightweight aluminium scaffolding towers popular with maintenance crews for those high painting and repair/renew jobs where the alternative would be a ladder. Towers should only be erected by a competent person using the PASMA code of practice.

Chain Blocks

Manually operated chain blocks are available with a lifting capability of up to 20 tonnes, although 1 to 10 tonne lifts are the most popular. They are a favourite with car and truck workshops, where they can be used by one person for engine, gearbox, or other heavy weight lifting. They can also be used on construction sites and for positioning or servicing heavy engineering machinery such as lathes and milling machines. Electric versions are also available with a safe working load (swl) capability of 500kg to 3000kg.

Lever Hoists

The various models of lever hoists are suitable for lifting from .25 tonne up to 10 tonne. Unlike the chain block which can only lift vertically, the lever hoist is capable of lifting both vertically and horizontally. The ratchet lever is easily operated even with the heaviest of weights, and has a standard lift of 1.5 metres, although this can be adjusted.

Tirak and Minifor Winches

If you’re looking for a lightweight, top of the range winch capable of high lifts, then the Tirak or Minifor should fit the bill. This type of lifting equipment is popular within the construction industry due to their high lifting capacity. Both models operate using wire rope. The Minifor operates at 110v and lifts from 300kg to 500kg. The Tirak 500kg lift model operates at 110v, while the 1000kg and 3000kg models use 415v. When it comes to high lifting, these winches are the best on the market.


If you’re looking at different types of lifting equipment, there’s a fair chance you’ll need a gantry for your winch or chain block. Mobile lightweight aluminium gantries are available in a range of widths and heights, with safe working limits from 500kg to 5 ton.

Getting it right

Every lifting job comes with its own set of requirements and should be approached with that in mind. For any lifting operation to be undertaken successfully, a risk analysis has to be undertaken to determine the most appropriate type of lifting equipment to be used.

Universal Lifting Hire Services has years of experience in arranging and supplying on-site lifting equipment and will ensure everything is in place to undertake the job in a safe, reliable, and cost-effective manner.

Once the on-site lifting equipment has been picked, the operation itself has to be planned. The operator must be a competent person familiar with the ‘Safe use of lifting equipment: Approved Code of Practise (ACOP) when operating the chosen equipment. All lifting equipment has to be maintained and serviced in full compliance of the Health and Safety Executive and LOLER regulations. As a leading, long-established hire service covering Essex and the surrounding area, Universal Lifting undertakes all required maintenance and servicing of all equipment prior to delivering to the site.

Before commencing operations, the operator must check all safety devices on the equipment are operating correctly, all slings and hooks are in good condition, and the area is coned off and the warning boards are in position.

If you have a need to move heavy equipment and are unsure of your options, please call Universal Lifting Hire Services today, and let us take the strain of arranging your lift.