OSHA Standards for Inspection of Manual Chain Hoists

Close-up of man using chain hoist
Close-up of man using chain hoist (Image: nomis_g/iStock/Getty Images)

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), in cooperation with the Crane, Hoist and Monorail Alliance, has developed standards for inspection of manual chain hoists. To comply with these standards, employers must implement a pre-shift inspection and documentation program and train employees on these programs. Before each shift, the chain hoist must be inspected and any malfunctions or damaged parts reported so the hoist can be repaired before use. Do not use the chain hoist if anything is damaged or does not pass the inspection. OSHA also requires periodic inspection of other hoist components. The frequency of these inspections vary with frequency and severity of use.

Tags and Labels

Before beginning each shift, check to see the hoist is not tagged as damaged or out of order. If so, do not use until the chain is repaired. Also, check that all warning and safety labels are intact and legible.


Check that the brake works properly and does not slip when the hand chain is released. This is also done before every shift. Periodically, check the brake components for excessive wear and damage.

Hook and Hook Latch

Prior to each shift, check that the latch closes properly. Check that the hook is not twisted and the throat opening is not deformed. Also, check the throat opening for gouges, nicks, cracks and any other damage. Check the seat or saddle of the hook, where the hook bears the load, for excessive wear. The manufacturer's manual will have charts for how much wear, twisting and throat opening is acceptable for the hook.


Check individual links in the hoist and hand chains for nicks, gouges, twists and other damage before every shift. Check that the chains are in the guide and the correct sprockets. Periodically, check for excessive chain stretching and the chain drive sprockets for wear. Manufacturer's manuals also typically provide information on how much wear is acceptable for chains.

Upper Limit Device and Other Parts

Before every shift, check that the upper limit device is working properly and stops the chain before reaching the hoist. Periodically, check all other hoist parts for any loose or missing bolts, rivets or other parts.

Work Area

Always check the work area around the hoist before beginning work. Check that the work area is clean and clear, the floor is dry and the area is well-lit.

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