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Case study – Lifting Eye Certifications

BVT were approached to provide certification for a lifting eye on the bucket of wheeled loader. Our client was concerned with rumours he had heard that lifting eyes were no longer allowed to be attached to buckets, although he had no specific information about where this requirement was coming from.

The Problem

Without knowing where this requirement was coming from we didn’t know where to start looking, the client however needed assurance that what he was doing would meet the required standards, meet his health and safety duties and allow him to operate machines on the sites he was working on.

The Solution

We reviewed the legislation as well using knowledge from within BVT on the requirements of various construction companies on the use of lifting eyes on site. This is what we found:

Summary of Legislation

According to the Department of Labour Approved Code of Practice for Cranes, mobile plant lifting incidental to its primary purpose is exempt from the PECPR regs and not considered a crane (e.g. an excavator used to dig a trench then lift pipes into the trench is considered to be operating incidental to its primary purpose). Lifting eyes should be certified by a CPEng.

According to AS 1418.8 Cranes Hoists and winches, lifting eyes should not be welded to excavator buckets. It also stipulates that lifting eyes must form a closed loop and it allows lifting points on loader buckets only if the bucket has been designed for it. If the excavator is lifting incidental to its primary purpose they are exempt from the PECPR regs there is no requirement for AS 1418.8 to be met.

Specific Site requirements

Some sites are not allowing lifting eyes on buckets of excavators. You should check to make sure you machine will be allowed on site.

Actual Practical Considerations (Making sure stuff doesn’t break)

The practical considerations for not putting a lifting eye on a bucket are strong:

  1. Buckets are typically thin and they are not designed to be point loaded. Welding on a lifting eye can cause high bending stress in the bucket, which may eventually cause the weld to begin to fatigue crack.
  2. Buckets are subject to high levels of wear and lifting eyes on buckets tend to take a beating.
  3. While these problems can be overcome by designing strengthening around the bucket, it is typically easier to put the lifting eye on the quick hitch.

What about hooks?

In our view lifting hooks are an acceptable means of lifting provided they are not being used on mobile plant classified as a crane. Hooks should always have a gate to prevent accidental release of the load. Installation of the hook should also take into account whether the load can be released by inversion of the hooks (e.g. a lifting hook on an excavator bucket could release the  load if the bucket is crowded)  

What should the lifting eye be rated to.

ACOP for cranes requires that all lifting eyes should be rated to the maximum capacity of the machine. If the machine is being used for lifting incidental to its primary purpose it is not considered a crane and the lifting eye may be rated to any value. If the machine is considered a crane the lifting eye must be designed to the maximum capacity of the machine and tested by an equipment inspector.