What If There Were One Set Of Rules For Motorised Chain Hoists?

What If There Were One Set Of Rules For Motorised Chain Hoists?

What If There Were One Set Of Rules

Part 1

Let’s look at what is involved in selecting an appropriate motorised chain hoist and controller for use in Australia, and how you can discharge your obligation to provide a safe working environment for the crew who are working the show and a safe venue for the unsuspecting throng who are attending the show in absolute faith that “they” know what they’re doing, so it must be safe to be here...

As we discussed in the last issue, there is no uniform body of legislation or regulations in Australia that mandates the Standard(s) that a motorised chain hoist for use in an entertainment venue must comply with, however, most State based WHS (OH&S) legislation requires compliance with “the relevant sections of AS1418” for any crane, winch or hoist, and when harmonised WHS legislation is eventually adopted in every jurisdiction in Australia, this requirement is unlikely to change until a specific Australian Standard for machinery for use in the entertainment industry is published and adopted.

In the interest of brevity, we will look at the principal differences between a chain hoist designed and certified to the German BGV-C1 and BGV-D8 codes, and a chain hoist that meets the minimum requirements to comply with existing WHS regulations in Australia (by default, compliance with AS1418).

The BGV-C1 code covers hoists for use in the entertainment industry, and hoists certified to this code are permitted (in Germany) for both moving and suspending loads over persons with no additional safety devices. The BGV-D8 code is for general industrial hoists and may not be used for moving loads over persons or for suspending loads over persons without the use of an additional safety device. A classification of D8+ is often quoted, but there is no such code as BGV-D8+. Hoists claiming to be BGV-D8+ are usually a D8 hoist fitted with an integral secondary safety device, typically a speed activated fall arrestor on the load chain.

Contained within AS1418 is a definition of what is termed a “Special Lifting Application”. Where a hoist would be required to be certified to BGV-C1 in Germany, a hoist appropriate for use in Special Lifting Applications as defined in AS1418 would be required in Australia.

To paraphrase this definition - if a risk assessment concludes that a single point of failure in the drive train of a hoist would result in significant damage to property or injury to persons, then a full load brake must be fitted directly to the load and be operated in the event of an overspeed (runaway load) occurring.

In contrast to this approach, the German BGV-C1 code mandates the use of 2 braking devices and overspeed management in all circumstances, but (and here is the main point of difference) it permits the use of high factors of safety in the drive train to “guarantee” that the load is always connected to a braking device.

To put it another way, AS1418 requires you to consider the consequences of each and every single point of failure in the drive train, no matter how low the likelihood of occurrence and BGV-C1 allows you to exclude from consideration a single point of failure in the drive train if certain minimum factors of safety are employed in the design of the machine.

In the next issue, we’ll look at the added complexities of selecting appropriate controllers and whether we need to consider using synchronised hoists in multiple point lifts. 

Read 'What If There Were One Set Of Rules For Motorised Chain Hoists' Part 2 here.

 

Jands Staging provide articles to the "Staging What If" section in CX Magazine. If you have any questions regarding this article then please comment below or email info@jands.com.au

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