Single Girder Overhead Crane

Customer Question: Can an Overhead Crane Be Used to Lift a Guided Load?

Hoisting & Lifting Equipment | Safety and Training | By Henry Brozyna | Sep 09, 2020

In a recent webinar, a customer asked the following question related to the use of overhead cranes:

“Can an overhead lifting system, such as a crane, be used for lifting a guided load, like the door on a large furnace, for example?”

Our Columbus McKinnon Corporate Trainer answers:

According to information posted by the Hoist Manufacturers Institute (HMI), an overhead hoist is a machine used for lifting of material (not people) that is freely suspended (unguided). With that said, overhead cranes SHOULD NOT be used to lift a guided load.


Why? There are numerous potential hazards in doing this. A guided load is typically on a set of tracks of some kind. An example of this would be an overhead door that would be opened or raised using a hoist. If a load is guided by tracks, when the crane lifts the load, it can tilt and get wedged in the track. If that occurs, the hoist could be dangerously overloaded. Not only can this damage equipment, it could cause serious operator injury if the crane were to drop the load due to an overload condition or the load were to suddenly become unsnagged and break or jump off the track. 


For more information on the proper use of overhead cranes and hoists, you can attend one of our training classes


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Henry Brozyna

Henry Brozyna is an Industry Product Trainer at Columbus McKinnon specializing in Crane and Hoist Inspection and Repair, Rigging & Load Securement He has been training on crane and rigging safety for more than 20 years. Henry is a member of the Tie Down committee and former Board of Directors for the WSTDA; this group writes the standards that are used by the material handling industry, the transportation industry, and also law enforcement. Henry is also a current member of the Crane Institute’s board of directors.