How to Use Lifting Equipment

How to Use Lifting Equipment

In industries like construction, warehousing, and manufacturing, knowing how to properly use lifting equipment is non-negotiable for productivity and safety. In this blog, we’ll dive into the best practices and maintenance of the most popular types of lifting equipment here at UK Lifting Store, including hoists, chain slings, forklift attachments, and ratchet straps.  

Whether you're a novice seeking introductory knowledge or an experienced professional looking to refine your skills, our comprehensive guide is tailored to cater to individuals at every stage of their journey. So, let’s get started! 

Understanding Different Types of Lifting Equipment 

1. Hoists  

Hoists are versatile lifting devices commonly used for vertical lifting of heavy loads in industrial settings. They come in various configurations, including electric hoists, manual hoists, and chain hoists. Employed across various industries for the vertical lifting of heavy loads, these devices are instrumental in streamlining lifting operations, enhancing efficiency, and ensuring safety in industrial settings. 

Best Practices for Using Hoists:  

  • Conduct a thorough inspection of the hoist before each use, checking for any signs of damage or wear 
  • Ensure proper load distribution and attachment to the hoist, following manufacturer guidelines 
  • Use appropriate rigging accessories, such as our UK slings or hooks, to securely lift the load 
  • Operate the hoist within its rated capacity and avoid overloading to prevent accidents 
  • Maintain a clear communication system between operators during lifting operations to ensure coordination and safety 

2. Chain Slings 

Chain slings are robust lifting accessories consisting of chains and fittings, and designed to lift heavy loads in a variety of configurations. With superior strength and durability, they are suitable for rugged industrial applications. Chain slings come in different configurations, including single-leg, double-leg, and multi-leg slings, providing versatility in lifting operations. 

Best Practices for Using Chain Slings: 

  • Inspect the chain sling before each use, checking for any signs of wear, distortion, or damage to the links and fittings 
  • Ensure proper sling angle and configuration based on the load and lifting conditions to prevent overloading and excessive stress on the sling 
  • Use appropriate hooks, shackles, or other attachments to secure the chain sling to the load and lifting equipment 
  • Avoid dragging the chain sling over rough surfaces to prevent abrasion and damage 
  • Train operators on the proper rigging techniques and safe handling practices to minimise the risk of accidents and injuries 

3. Forklift Attachments 

Forklift attachments are essential tools that enhance the versatility and functionality of forklifts in material handling operations. These attachments come in various types, with each designed to cater to specific tasks and applications, from lifting and transporting loads to stacking and organising inventory. Whether it's a fork extension for handling longer or bulkier loads or a side-shifter for improved manoeuvrability, forklift attachments play a crucial role in streamlining workflow and maximising productivity. 

Best Practices for Using Forklift Attachments: 

  • Check the forklift attachment before you begin an operation to ensure proper functioning of all components, connections, and functionalities 
  • Secure the load properly on the attachment using appropriate securing methods to ensure stability before lifting. 
  • Maintain clear visibility while operating the forklift with the attachment 
  • Operate the forklift with the attachment at a safe speed, adhering to recommended limits, and maintain a safe distance from obstacles, pedestrians, and other equipment to prevent collisions and accidents 

4. Ratchet Straps  

Ratchet straps are versatile tie-downs used for securing loads during transportation. They are usually made of a polyester webbing and a ratcheting mechanism that allows for easy tightening and securing of the strap around the load. Ratchet straps are commonly used in industries such as logistics, transportation, and moving. 

Best Practices for Using Ratchet Straps 

  • Inspect the ratchet strap before each use, checking for any signs of wear, cuts, or fraying in the webbing 
  • Always ensure the ratcheting mechanism is functioning correctly 
  • Ensure proper tensioning of the strap around the load, using the ratchet mechanism to tighten the strap securely and prevent movement during transportation 
  • Select the appropriate strap and tensioning method based on the size, weight, and shape of the load, following manufacturer recommendations 
  • Position the straps evenly and securely across the load, distributing the tension evenly to prevent shifting or imbalance during transit 
  • Train your staff on proper loading and securing techniques, including the use of edge protectors and corner guards, to minimise the risk of load shifting and damage during transportation 

Maintaining Your Lifting Equipment  

Proper maintenance is crucial for maximising the lifespan lifting equipment, ensuring optimal performance and longevity. Let’s discover the best ways to maintain our 4 most popular lifting equipment types: 


  1. Regularly inspect all components for signs of wear, damage, or corrosion.
  2. Lubricate moving parts according to manufacturer guidelines to prevent friction for smooth operation. 
  3. Test safety features, such as overload protection mechanisms and emergency stop buttons, to ensure they are functioning properly. 
  4. Keep the hoist clean and free from debris to prevent contamination and potential damage to internal components. 

Chain Slings: 

  1. Inspect the chain sling before each use, checking for wear, distortion, or damage to the links and fittings.
  2. Clean the chain sling after each use to remove dirt, debris, and contaminants that could cause corrosion. 
  3. Store them in a dry, clean environment to prevent rust and deterioration. 
  4. Replace worn or damaged components promptly to maintain the integrity of the chain sling and prevent accidents.  

Forklift Attachments: 

  1. Perform routine maintenance checks on critical components of the forklift lifting attachments, including connections, hydraulic systems, and moving parts. 
  2. Clean the forklift attachments regularly to remove dirt, grease, and debris that could affect performance or cause damage. 
  3. Inspect forks and other lifting attachments for signs of wear or damage, such as cracks or bending, and replace them as needed. 
  4. Ensure the forklift attachment is compatible with the forklift model and properly secured before use. 

Ratchet Straps: 

  1. Inspect the ratchet strap before each use, checking for wear, cuts, or fraying in the webbing, as well as making sure the ratcheting mechanism is functioning correctly. 
  2. Clean the ratchet strap after use to remove dirt, oil, and debris that could compromise its strength and integrity. 
  3. Store them in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight and moisture to prevent degradation of the webbing material. 
  4. Replace straps that show signs of damage or deterioration to maintain load security and safety during use. 

The Importance of Training and Education: Investing in Skills Development  

When it comes to lifting operations, ongoing education is essential for keeping pace with industry advancements. With proper training, your employees and other personnel can gain the knowledge and skills necessary to operate lifting equipment safely and effectively.  

By investing in training programs and certifications, organisations can empower their workforce to perform every lifting task with confidence and the upmost proficiency. 

Mastering the art of lifting equipment operation is a journey towards safety, efficiency, and excellence in industrial settings. From versatile hoists to robust chain slings, dependable forklift lifting attachments, and trusty ratchet straps, each piece of equipment plays a vital role in streamlining lifting operations and ensuring the smooth flow of tasks. 

By prioritising safety, adhering to best practices, performing proper maintenance, and investing in ongoing training and education, operators and organisations can unlock the full potential of their lifting equipment. Need some help with your particular equipment? Get in touch with our team today for expert advice and assistance.  

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