Lifting and hoisting safety

Lifting and hoisting operations are among the major causes of fatalities and serious incidents in global exploration and production (E&P) activities.

IOGP wants to reduce the number and severity of lifting incidents among member companies. We are doing this by highlighting the essential principles of safe lifting and encouraging their strict application.

Despite the vast number of regulations, standards and guidelines that apply to lifting, incidents continue to occur. To address this, we are developing a recommended practice (RP) document, based on current experience and good practice for preventing fatalities and serious incidents.

Although it is not intended to be a comprehensive and technical set of lifting procedures, the RP will provide a source of extensive additional information in the form of appendices and a list of references – all  of which have been recommended as being examples of good practice for particular aspects of lifting and hoisting.

Key principles

Key principles

Eight key areas that control lifting and hoisting safety


  • A lift plan is required for every lift. If the lift deviates from the plan, make safe and stop the job.
  • Hazard identification and risk assessment are an integral part of planning a lift.
  • An assessment of the lift and determination of the lift method, equipment and number of people required are critical to planning of the lift.


  • One person in the lift team is designated as the person in charge of the lifting operation (referred to as PIC).
  • The PIC reviews the lift plan and ensure that the required controls are in place and the lift is carried out following the plan.
  • The PIC ensures that the lift team has tested and understood visual or radio communications prior to the lift.
  • All personnel involved in the lifting operation shall have their individual responsibilities clearly allocated.
  • All people shall be kept clear of overhead loads and areas of potential impact.
  • Manual load handling shall not be used to stop a swinging load and shall only be performed below shoulder height.


  • All persons involved in planning/performing lifting and maintaining lifting equipment shall be trained and competent for their role.
  • Refresher training and periodic assessment is necessary to assure competence.


  • Equipment shall be fit for its intended purpose and operating conditions and shall be designed to a recognized standard.
  • Equipment shall be fitted with appropriate safety devices.
  • Any safety devices installed on lifting equipment shall be operational and not over-ridden.

Inspection, Maintenance and Certification

  • Equipment integrity shall be maintained, supported by an equipment register.
  • Lifting devices and equipment shall undergo detailed/thorough examination by a competent person at least every 12 months, and at least every 6 months for equipment used to lift people.
  • All lifting devices and equipment shall be visually examined before use.

Load Integrity and Stability

  • Load shall not exceed dynamic and/or static capacities of the lifting equipment.
  • The integrity and stability of loads shall be verified before lifting.

Lifting of Personnel

  • Lifting of personnel shall be avoided unless the risk has been demonstrated as being as low as is reasonably practicable.
  • Lifting of personnel shall be according to a specific personnel lift plan for that lift.
  • Lifted personnel shall be properly secured with lanyards unless written procedures and risk assessment require otherwise.

Management Systems

  • Lifting operations will be conducted in accordance with a documented Management System.
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