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How To Choose The Right Lifting And Handling Equipment For Your Project

Whatever area of the industry you are involved in, sooner or later you will likely need to consider the use of some form of lifting and handling equipment. With the majority of industrial lifting equipment falling under the Health and Safety Executive’s Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations (LOLER), making sure you have the right type of lifting equipment to complete the job in an efficient, safe, and cost-effective manner, is of paramount importance.

Different types of lifting equipment

Types of lifting equipment include the usual range of heavy lifting cranes from the gantry to tower, to mobile and telehandler units, as well as hoists for lifting engines, generators, heavy materials, and even hospital patients. Tail lifts, high rise window cleaning and inspection cradles, the cradle suspension cables, and lifts and escalators for people and goods, all fall under the LOLER regulations. As a general rule, portable lifting equipment, generally hand-operated, are not covered other than by normal safety at work directives.
Different types of lifting and handling equipment are designed for different jobs. Nonetheless, when contacting your local lifting equipment hire company, there are a number of other factors to take into account when booking the heavy lifting and handling equipment you need.

Whether your needs are a mobile crane, a cherry picker, or test weights for a lift, if your knowledge on the types of lifting equipment is limited, discussing the whole project with experienced lifting equipment engineers should be undertaken. They will be able to highlight the most appropriate option for your specific project from their own material handling equipment selection. They will require the following information, before making a decision on the equipment lifting capacity needed to undertake the job in hand.

The weight to be lifted

Obviously the weight of the load to be lifted is required, but it doesn’t end there. The engineer will also require the distance the load is to be moved, in other words how far the jib will have to extend from the crane. Or, if the load is to be lifted to height, the height will be needed to again work out jib extension. The farther the jib has to extend, the less weight the telescopic crane can lift. You can usually find the weight of the item on the supplier’s specification sheet.

Site access and conditions

Booking a large mobile crane which can’t access the site can be a time consuming and costly mistake. Make sure to fully survey access from the nearest main road to the site. If the job requires accessing a building from outside, ensure the entrance height and width allows free passage for your lifting equipment.

Site conditions can also affect the type of lifting and handling equipment you need. If the terrain the lifting equipment is to be operated on is just a layer of hard-core, an alternative type of lifting gear may have to be employed. The proposed operating area should also be surveyed. If a crane or mobile hoist is to be used, are there any obstructions such as buildings, trees, overhead cables, or nearby railway lines. If the crane’s jib can fall within four metres of any live railway line, Network Rail has to be consulted. During operations, care also needs to be taken to ensure the area is clear of all non-essential employees and members of the public.

Lifting equipment accessories

The type and shape of the material to be lifted also has to be considered. As well as considering the different types of lifting equipment for your project, you should also utilise lifting equipment accessories where possible, to make the job much simpler. To lift the item(s), you may require a rope or fibre slings, heavy nets, chains, hooks, eyebolts or spreader beams. Whatever the type of lifting accessories required, their weight should be added to the weight of the item to be lifted. Specialist lifting accessories are also available. Magnetic lifting devices, often seen at work in scrap yards and recycling facilities, and vacuum devices most often used when large sheet metal or plate glass has to be lifted.

Portable lifting equipment

There is a large range of smaller, easily manoeuvred lifting equipment, which is suitable for a host of everyday operations in workshops, factory floors and warehouses. Freestanding lift shaft towers are available for those higher maintenance or repair jobs. Manual chain blocks which can lift up to 8 tonnes, and electric chain hoists which can lift up to 3000kg, are suitable for a range of lifting projects. Electric hoist winches capable of lifting up to 500kg, slings and shackles, aluminium gantries, and beam clamps and beam trolleys are all available for the different types of lifting jobs you might encounter. Portability should definitely be taken into consideration when deciding between different types of lifting equipment to ensure you are able to carry out your work effectively and efficiently. 

UHL has many years of experience in the sale and hire of all of the different types of lifting equipment on offer, and are happy to visit you on-site if needed. We guarantee to analyse your specific requirements and provide you with the most suitable material handling equipment selection. Whether you need to lift 200kg or 20 tonnes, UHL Services are here to help you get your goods lifted quickly, safely, and with minimum disruption.