Common misuses of chain hoists

Thursday, 27 November 2019

Chain hoists are a common piece of lifting equipment due to their ability to reduce the pulling effort and amount of strain an operator will encounter when lifting a load. They are extremely versatile, come in a variety of types and capacities, and can be used in almost every industry, even subsea environments. Whilst chain hoists are known for their durability, reliability and versatility, they still require proper care, use and maintenance to ensure they don’t encounter damage.

As with all lifting equipment there are best practice guidelines to ensure proper techniques are used during a lift and the same applies to chain hoists. To help keep your chain hoist in working condition and ensure you use it correctly, below we have detailed some common ways chain hoists get misused.

1. Applying too much force

It is essential that you use a loose grip when operating a chain hoist to avoid having issues. When you apply too much force on the chain (i.e. pulling the chain too hard) can cause three things. It can cause the chain to detach from the hoist completely; the chain can detach from the sprocket; or the chain links can stretch from the force being used. Only apply the necessary amount of force when pulling a chain hoist.

2. Overloading the Hoist

This is an obvious one! Overloading a hoist by lifting a load that is too heavy can not only result in damage to the hoist, but it can damage the load, stretch the hooks/attachments and cause employee downtime if equipment is marked unusable. Always make sure you are aware of the hoist’s capacity or load limit. Or even better use a chain hoist equiped with an overload protection device (which Nobles are moving to supply as standard) to ensure that the hoist cannot be overloaded.

3. Not taking your time

The best way to operate a chain hoist is slowly. This is because it will allow you to make corrections to prevent or fix the hoist from jamming and damaging the chain housing.

4. Keep the chain straight

When operating a chain hoist it is important that you do not twist the chain as this will cause the chain to twist and potential jam inside the gears of the hoist. Any type of jams have the potential to damage the internal unit resulting in repair bills or outlays to buy new equipment to replace hoists marked unusable.

5. Keep the hoist secure

It is not good practice to have the hoist spin or twist when you are lifting a load, it can result in the chain falling off the sprocket or the lifted load to swing which can cause damage to the load or objects nearby. This is where operating a hoist slowly is always the best idea.

In conclusion

Nobles have partnered with leading global chain hoist suppliers to bring you not only the latest, but also the highest quality hoists available in the market. We have high-performance overload protected, corrosion protection and ATEX manual hoists from William Hackett, air and hydraulic hoists from Ingersoll Rand as well as electric chain hoists from KITO and Nobles own economy range of RIG-MATE manual chain hoists. To see the entire range of hoisting and winching products Nobles carry, head to our product catalogue via the links provided.

To speak to one our lifting and rigging specialists about your hoisting and winching needs, please call 1300 711 559 or send us an email at