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When to Retire a Hook from Service

When to retire a hook from service

Using a damaged, expired, or malfunctioned hook is more than just a risky move; it’s a potentially fatal lapse of judgement. Sling slippage, loss of load control, and on-site injury become imminent possibilities when you use a hook that isn’t up to par. Therefore, it’s essential to know what to look for when you inspect a hook and how to tell when it’s time to retire it from service.  

When to Retire a Hook

Hooks might not come with exact expiration dates, but you can easily tell when one needs replacing. Monthly hook inspections are essential to every lift and rigging crew, because they can detect defects, malfunctions, or any other equipment errors proactively. Here are the most common signs to look for when inspecting your hook.

  • Hook requirements

    If an upcoming job requires you to lift a weight larger than the hooks’ maximum capacity, you should rely on a stronger tool. Of course, you don’t have to retire a hook that you can effectively use on another job, but you should never use a hook that can’t handle the weight of the load.

  • Hook latch

    If you notice that the safety latch, or hook latch, is broken or even bent, you should retire it from service. When you use a hook with a damaged safety latch, you run the risk of losing control of the attached sling, which compromises the safety of your crew.

  • Hook stretching

    If you notice that a particular hook looks off, it could mean that the hook has stretched. If you notice that a hook has stretched over 15% or twisted over 10%, retire it immediately to keep everyone on the job safe. After a hook stretches, it weakens much easier, which creates a number of potential safety hazards.

  • Hook identification

    Each hook comes with affixed identification markings disclosing the manufacturer, load capacity, and other essential pieces of information. If this information has worn off of the hook or is impossible to read, you should retire the hook and refer to another piece of equipment that has clear identification markings. Similarly, if you recently bought a hook that didn’t have any identification at all, consider returning the equipment, because it’s most likely defective.

  • Hook damage­

    Hooks, just like every other piece of equipment, age with time and with use. If you notice any damages to the hook beyond small scratches or indentations, you should consider retiring it from service. Cracks or bends in a hook can lessen its reliability and put your crew in serious danger.

How to Preserve a Hook

To preserve the life of your lift and rigging equipment, carefully follow the identification tag limits. If you force your hook to carry a load that’s too heavy, it can easily bend or crack your hook and disrupt the entire plan for your job.

You should never push a hook past its prime. If your equipment is ready for retirement, you can replace your tools with modern, reliable, and safe options from the Florida Wire & Rigging Catalog. We offer a range of hooks, slings, and other lift and rigging equipment so every job has the supplies necessary. Our team of lift and rigging professionals can also train your crew to understand when to retire your tools and how to maximize your new ones. For more information, call us today at 800-846-0309.

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