We’ve all heard the phrase “rules were made to be broken”, but we all know, of course, that rules were made to be followed. Rules, recommendations, guidelines and all the rest of it that have been set in the lifting equipment industry have been set for a reason, especially lifting weight limits. Why should you never exceed these limits?

Weight limits

Any piece of lifting equipment, no matter what piece it is, will have a lifting limit, known as the safe working load (SWL). You may also see your equipment coming with a maximum breaking load (MBL). However, as you will be working with the SWL, also known as the working load limit (WLL), at all times, some manufacturers choose not to specify the MBL of a piece of lifting equipment.

The MBL is the absolute maximum point at which your lifting equipment will break. Any weightage over this limit, no matter how small, will break it. The SWL is set at a figure greatly below this, sometimes as low as seven times smaller, to help keep your lifting equipment in top quality for as long as possible.

weight limits

Don’t put unnecessary strain on your lifting equipment!

These figures aren’t just magic numbers that have been plucked out of thin air. They are the result of careful testing and inspection by manufacturers and industry leaders, and the result of what we know about the science of metals and the force of lifting.

Reasons why you should never exceed these limits

The first reason you shouldn’t exceed these limits is that it’s extremely unlikely you know better than the manufacturers, experts and scientists who have all contributed to the figure you find with your lifting equipment. They’ve put these recommendations in place for a reason, and they know what they’re talking about!

Secondly, these figures have been recommended to help prolong the life of your lifting equipment as long as possible. Sticking to the SWL of a piece of lifting equipment will ensure that you can have a long and happy life together.

Finally, exceeding the limits of your lifting equipment can have unpredictable consequences. If you continuously lift at a higher weight than the SWL but lower than the MBL, then your equipment will still work, but there’s no telling how long it will last for.

Not only could this cause your equipment to break faster, but it’s putting the lives of anyone of the worksite at risk. This will be in direct contradiction to the Health and Safety at Work Act and the Lifting Equipment and Lifting Operations Regulations 1998 (LOLER), and you could be risking hefty fines or jail time alongside the lives of those around you. It’s not worth it!

Need equipment with a heavier lifting weight?

If you find yourself needing to lift a heavier load than your equipment can handle, don’t take the risk simply to save time or money. Browse our range of products here or speak to one of the team today for advice on next steps when it comes to weight limits.


Image credit: ElisaRiva

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