Having the right equipment is always important. Often, on busy job sites, equipment gets used time and time again without the proper inspection and maintenance.
When this happens the result is an increased-risk to people, and property. Taking the time to know how to safely use, and inspect, simple devices such as plate lifting clamps will make any job safer.
Use the Right Sized Plate Lifting Clamps
There are many different sizes of plate lifting clamps. Knowing that you have the correct size of plate lifting clamps for the lift or pull at hand will be essential. Plate lifting clamps that are too small are not going to hold plates effectively, while plate lifting clamps that are too large may allow the plates to slip.
There are also different designs for plate lifting clamps based on the need for movement. Always confirm the specific plate lifting clamps selected for use are recommended for pulling or lifting either vertically or horizontally. Some designs are called multidirectional plate lifting clamps and are safe to use for both.
In addition to using the correct size of plate lifting clamps, be sure to use the right number of clamps. The longer and more flexible the load is the more important it may be to have more than one clamp to ensure a safe lift or pull. Typically, horizontal types of plate lifting clamps will always be used in tandem.
Pre-use Inspection of Plate Lifting Clamps
Take the time to carefully inspect the plate lifting clamps before use. There should always be a visual external inspection before every use. This should focus on the surfaces that are visible, including the internal components in the throat of the clamp, looking for signs of damage, cracks or issues at the welds.
Be sure to check that the cam touches the pad with full contact all along the surface. This is essential to secure the plate. Also, make sure the throat is the same width at the top and the bottom. If the width at the pad is greater than the top, the plate lifting clamps may have been stressed and should not be used.
Internal testing and inspection should be completed on a schedule. This will include cleaning all the grease and visually inspecting all components. This will include all pins and bolts for any sign of wear. These individual parts can be replaced as needed, extending the life of the plate lifting clamps, and ensuring safety.