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CM Guest Blog | The Twenty Year Rule



CM knows it can be easy to fall into the ‘twenty year rule’ trap—but what is it? Read on for tips from Columbus McKinnon (CM) on why some rules actually are made to be broken.

Their rigging experts discuss safety, inspections & why it’s important to keep your training up to date—No matter how long you’ve been doing it.

While conducting our overhead lifting safety training it never fails that we get a comment to the effect of,

“We’ve been doing it this way for over twenty years. We never had an accident. And now, you’re telling me it’s wrong?”

Just because you have been lifting a certain way for the past twenty years and never had an accident only means that you have been lucky. When performing safety training we emphasize all the safety standards and regulations that are applicable. They all serve a purpose.

When performing safety training we emphasize all the safety standards and regulations that are applicable. They all serve a purpose.

ANSI/ASME B30 Safety Standards for overhead lifting began in 1916 as an eight page safety code – now 94 years old. Although ASME is the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, many Canadian organizations and equipment used here observe their standards, so it’s worth noting.

In Canada, the CSA standard B167.08 began in 1964—It’s 46 years old.

Finally, let us not forget OSHA, which began in 1970, making it 40 years old, who enforces two federal regulations for overhead lifting: CFR 1910.179 for cranes and 1910.184 for slings. Between all these organizations and safety standards there is a total of 355 years of experience. 355 years trumps your 20 years, every time.

These organizations were not put together to make your life miserable! You can’t take short cuts the way you have been doing the past twenty years. These organizations include people that are involved in all facets of overhead lifting, including riggers and production and construction personnel that perform overhead lifting as part of their job. They want you to be safe in your work habits and environment so that you can go home at the end of your shift or work day to your family.

This blog post was written by Larry Lynn, former Product Trainer for Columbus McKinnon Corporation.


So, we know that standards for training, testing & inspections exist for a reason, and it’s important to keep your training and inspection knowledge up-to-date—CM explains more.

CM was asked, “How do we complete the annual PM (preventative maintenance) per the manual unless we open up the gear box and inspect the internals?” This question is centered around the annual inspection task to inspect ‘Load Bearing Parts.'”

Tom, a Technical Instructor who specializes in Hoists & Overhead Cranes for the Columbus McKinnon Corporation says:

We encounter this question frequently in inspection and maintenance training classes.

ASME Standard B30.16 defines load bearing / load suspension parts as follows; “the load suspension parts of the hoist are the means of suspension (hook or lug), the structure or housing that supports the drum or load sprocket, the drum or load sprocket, the rope or load chain, the sheaves or sprockets, and the load block or hook.”

Brakes, load and holding, gearing, motors, etc. are mechanical parts. They are part of the drive train.

ASME B30.16-2.1.3(b) states, “Covers and other items normally supplied to allow inspection of components should be opened or removed.”

ASME states that required inspection items be prefaced with “Evidence Of.”

There are several indirect ways of checking for and detecting (finding “evidence of”) excessive wear or abnormal operation of internal parts. If gearbox oil is not degraded, there are no metallic particles attached to the drain plug, the hoist raises and lowers properly (with and without a load), and there are no strange or abnormal sounds from the gearbox, it is unlikely that serious problems exist. If this inspection causes suspicion, refer to ASME B30.16-2.1.3(c) “A designated person shall determine whether conditions found during inspection constitute a hazard and whether disassembly is required.”