Guide to the Care and Safe Use of Lifting Spreader Beams

Always store and handle lifting beams correctly.
Always refer to the safe use instructions for slings and attachments used with the beam.
Always include the self-weight of the beam and attachments when calculating the load imposed on the crane hook.
Always ensure that the load will remain stable when lifted.
Always ensure that no one lifting point becomes overloaded by the slinging or handling methods.
Always use tag lines to control long loads.

Never use lifting beams to handle loads other than those for which they have been designed.
Never fit lifting beams to a hook other than those for which they have been designed.
Never use damaged or distorted lifting beams or attachments.
Never unevenly load lifting beams.
Never allow lifting beams to alter attitude during use.
Never allow lifting beams to foul the underside of the crane or any other obstructions in the area.

Selecting the Correct Lifting Beam

Lifting beams, frames and spreaders are usually designed and built for a specific purpose. The range of designs and capacities is therefore limited by practicality. Select the beam to be used and plan the lift taking the following into account:

  • Application requirements; to reduce headroom, provide multiple lift points, to provide adjustable lifting centres, to handle out of balance loads, to remove or control inward or crushing forces, to allow for special load
  • Capacity, both of the overall beam and of the individual lift points and plate thickness.
  • Accessories and attachments – slings, grabs, shackles, hooks etc.


Storing and Handling Lifting Beams

Never return damaged or contaminated lifting beam to storage. They should be dry, clean and, where necessary, protected from corrosion.
Lifting beams should be stored in a manner that will provide protection from damage whilst in store. Stands or packing should be provided where this is not built into the beam. Ensure the beam is stable and cannot topple over.

Using Lifting Beams Safely

Lifting beams may incorporate various loose and detachable items of lifting gear. Refer to the separate requirements for the safe use of those items.
Do not use defective or distorted beams or attachments.
Lifting beams are often designed for a specific purpose and should not be used for other purposes without consulting the supplier. This will include the size of the crane hook from which they are suspended. On no account should lifting beams be suspended from unsuitable hooks.
The weight of the beam together with its attachments must be added to the weight of the load when calculating the total load that will be imposed on the crane hook.
Ensure that the W.L.L. of the individual lift points is not exceeded. Extra care is needed where these are adjustable.
Ensure that the load is stable and that the beam remains at its intended attitude during use. Particular care is needed when lifting and setting down as not only may the load become unstable but individual lift points may be come overloaded.
Use tag lines to control long loads.
Do not allow the beam to foul the underside of the crane, or any other obstructions, when raising or transporting loads.

In Service Inspection and Maintenance

Maintenance requirements are minimal for lifting beams. Ensure that bolted joints are sound and that corrosion damage is prevented. Refer to individual maintenance requirements for associated loose gear and attachments.
Regularly inspect lifting beams and, in the event of the following defects, refer the lifting beam to a Competent Person for thorough examination: beam distorted, damaged or corroded; worn loose or missing bolts; cracked welds; attachment points worn, damaged or distorted, holes and eyes worn or elongated; any other visible defects.

For a PDF version of this page please click here: Care and Safe Use of Lifting Beams and Spreaders