CM Guest Blog | The Twenty Year Rule

cm cranes and hoisting equipment


CM knows it can be easy to fall into the ‘twenty year rule’ trap—but what is it? Read on for tips from Columbus McKinnon (CM) on why some rules actually are made to be broken. 

Their rigging experts discuss safety, inspections & why it’s important to keep your training up to date—No matter how long you’ve been doing it. 

While conducting our overhead lifting safety training it never fails that we get a comment to the effect of,

“We’ve been doing it this way for over twenty years. We never had an accident. And now, you’re telling me it’s wrong?” 

Just because you have been lifting a certain way for the past twenty years and never had an accident only means that you have been lucky. When performing safety training we emphasize all the safety standards and regulations that are applicable. They all serve a purpose.

When performing safety training we emphasize all the safety standards and regulations that are applicable. They all serve a purpose.

ANSI/ASME B30 Safety Standards for overhead lifting began in 1916 as an eight page safety code – now 94 years old. Although ASME is the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, many Canadian organizations and equipment used here observe their standards, so it’s worth noting. 

In Canada, the CSA standard B167.08 began in 1964—It’s 46 years old.

Finally, let us not forget OSHA, which began in 1970, making it 40 years old, who enforces two federal regulations for overhead lifting:  CFR 1910.179 for cranes and 1910.184 for slings. Between all these organizations and safety standards there is a total of 355 years of experience. 355 years trumps your 20 years, every time.

These organizations were not put together to make your life miserable! You can’t take short cuts the way you have been doing the past twenty years. These organizations include people that are involved in all facets of overhead lifting, including riggers and production and construction personnel that perform overhead lifting as part of their job. They want you to be safe in your work habits and environment so that you can go home at the end of your shift or work day to your family.

This blog post was written by Larry Lynn, former Product Trainer for Columbus McKinnon Corporation. 


So, we know that standards for training, testing & inspections exist for a reason, and it’s important to keep your training and inspection knowledge up-to-date—CM explains more. 

CM was asked, “How do we complete the annual PM (preventative maintenance) per the manual unless we open up the gear box and inspect the internals?” This question is centered around the annual inspection task to inspect ‘Load Bearing Parts.'” 

Tom, a Technical Instructor who specializes in Hoists & Overhead Cranes for the Columbus McKinnon Corporation says: 

We encounter this question frequently in inspection and maintenance training classes. 

ASME Standard B30.16 defines load bearing / load suspension parts as follows; “the load suspension parts of the hoist are the means of suspension (hook or lug), the structure or housing that supports the drum or load sprocket, the drum or load sprocket, the rope or load chain, the sheaves or sprockets, and the load block or hook.”

Brakes, load and holding, gearing, motors, etc. are mechanical parts. They are part of the drive train.

ASME B30.16-2.1.3(b) states, “Covers and other items normally supplied to allow inspection of components should be opened or removed.”

ASME states that required inspection items be prefaced with “Evidence Of.” 

There are several indirect ways of checking for and detecting (finding “evidence of”) excessive wear or abnormal operation of internal parts. If gearbox oil is not degraded, there are no metallic particles attached to the drain plug, the hoist raises and lowers properly (with and without a load), and there are no strange or abnormal sounds from the gearbox, it is unlikely that serious problems exist. If this inspection causes suspicion, refer to ASME B30.16-2.1.3(c) “A designated person shall determine whether conditions found during inspection constitute a hazard and whether disassembly is required.”







INFO@HERCULESSLR.COM  1 (877) 461-4876


Hercules SLR is part of Hercules Group of Companies, with locations and unique businesses coast-to-coast. We provide securing, lifting and rigging services for sectors in Canada and Internationally. Hercules SLR serves the energy, oil & gas, manufacturing, construction, aerospace, infrastructure, utilities, mining and marine industries.

Hercules Group of Companies is comprised of: Hercules SLRHercules Machining & Millwright ServicesSpartan Industrial MarineStellar Industrial Sales and Wire Rope Atlantic.

We have the ability to provide any hoisting solution your business or project will need. Call us today for more information. 1-877-461-4876 or email

Crane & Hoisting System: the dangers of side pulling

cm hoisting system at hercules slr

Crane & Hoisting System Safety: guest post from CM Canada

Overhead lifting operations, like a hoisting system or cranes, are necessary in workplaces around the globe. The ability to lift and move material safely is critical to the success of many businesses. Failure to follow safe lifting practices can lead to serious personal injury and cause damage to equipment and facilities.hoisting-system

While there are many aspects to safe lifting procedures, one critical issue to discuss is “side pulling” and how to avoid it. Today, Hercules SLR welcomes guest blogger CM Canada to discuss the dangers of side pulling when using a crane or hoist.

Crane & Hoisting System Safety: overhead hoists are designed to raise loads vertically

Accordingly, the load being lifted must be centered under the hoist (Figure 1). Side pulling (Figure 2) occurs when you attempt to lift any load that is not located directly under the hoist. Another form of side pulling occurs when a crane operator attempts to use the trolley drives or bridge to apply force to move an object horizontally when the load isn’t first fully suspended on the hoist – it should be clear of the floor or other support. Regardless of how a side pull is applied, unintended, damaging and potentially dangerous results can occur. Side pulling a hoist or crane, in most cases, results in a violation of OSHA regulations, and numerous industry standards – check your provincial regulations for specific standards.

CM Bandit Hoist

ASME B30.16, a safety standard for overhead hoists (underhung) states that:

Hoists shall not be operated unless the hoist unit is centered over the load, except when authorized by a qualified person who has determined that the components of the hoist and its mounting will    not be overstressed. Should it be necessary to pick a load that is not centered under the hoist unit, precautions should be taken to control the swing of the load when it is picked clear of its support.

Crane & Hoisting System Safety: what are the dangers of side pulling?

  • As the load is lifted free of the floor or other support it will attempt to center itself under the hoist, causing the load to rapidly swing in a horizontal arc (Figure 3). This pendulum effect can cause serious injury to personnel or damage to other equipment in the area.hoisting-system
  • The wire rope or load chain can be forced out of the grooving or pockets on the hoist drum or lift wheel. This can damage the chain/rope, and may also cause damage to drums, sheaves, and other components. In the best case scenario, this can lead to costly repairs and downtime. More importantly, it could cause the chain or wire rope to break and the load to drop, putting equipment, facilities, and personnel at serious risk.
  • Side pulling at an angle that is not in line with the length of the bridge or monorail (Figure 4) could cause the trolley hoist to tip, making the trolley inoperable. In the worst case, the trolley hoist could actually be pulled off of the beam. This side pull condition also puts stresses on the beam itself and could cause the beam to skew (Figure 5).
  • Side pulling is not considered “normal operation” of the hoist and therefore may void the manufacturer’s warranty.
  • Attempting to lift a load that is located beyond the end of a bridge beam or monorail (Figure 6) could damage the safety stops at the end of the beam. In rare cases, this has caused the trolley hoist to fall off the end of the beam.

rigging equipment






The number of inquiries professional riggers receive regarding side pulling amaze me. These are sometimes phrased like “what is the maximum angle of side pull that is permissible with your hoist?” Customers may also make a statement such as “The distance from my bridge beam to the floor is only 20’ but I need a few feet of additional wire rope on the hoist so I can pull materials out of the adjoining bay.”

These are the GOOD situations, where at least the potential for side loading has been made known and it can be properly addressed. What worries me are the situations where these circumstances may exist but are not made known to the hoist/crane manufacturer or crane service provider.

Fact: Side pulling is one of the most common and most dangerous mistakes with overhead cranes. 

Crane & Hoisting System Safety: 5 steps to help avoid side pulling hazards

  • Make sure that all new crane and monorail systems are designed and installed by qualified material handling professionals.
  • Have existing overhead lifting equipment and lifting applications reviewed by a qualified person to ensure these systems are properly located to provide full hook coverage (without side pulling) for all locations where materials to be lifted are located.
  • Arrange for hoist and crane operator safety training of all personnel within your organization who may use overhead lifting equipment as well as all managers or supervisors who may direct others to use that equipment.
  • Ask your overhead lifting equipment provider about the availability and functionality of devices such as overlay limit switches, rope guides and others equipment used to detect, prevent or reduce the damaging effects of unintended side pulling.
  • Consider using an adjustable lifting beam and counterweight to allow an off-center load to be lifted without creating side-pull on the hoist.

Reproduced with Permission from Columbus McKinnon. Original article here: 


Hercules SLR is part of the Hercules Group of Companies which offers a unique portfolio of businesses nationally with locations from coast to coast. Our companies provide an extensive coverage of products and services that support the success of a wide range of business sectors across Canada including the energy, oil & gas, manufacturing, construction, aerospace, infrastructure, utilities, oil and gas, mining and marine industries.

Hercules Group of Companies is comprised of: Hercules SLRHercules Machining & Millwright ServicesSpartan Industrial MarineStellar Industrial Sales and Wire Rope Atlantic.