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Legal aspects of hoisting operations - Part 2

DrillSafe Articles

Safety information and collaboration forum for the exploration drilling industry in Southern Africa.

Legal aspects of hoisting operations - Part 2

Drill Safe

By Colin Rice


The Mine Health and Safety Act is very unclear on the regularity of inspections and /or examinations that must be done on lifting equipment and lifting tackle, in fact, the Act is pretty silent on this issue. The Occupational Health and Safety Act however is very much clearer and so, in terms of Section 103 of the MHSA, the regulations of the OHSA must apply.



The OHSA uses the terms “inspection” and “examination” in relation to lifting equipment and lifting tackle but the Act does not define what these terms mean. I propose that the following interpretations are appropriate: an “inspection” is a careful and critical visual assessment carried out by a trained member of the drill crew without dismantling the equipment while an “examination” is a careful and critical assessment of the lifting equipment and lifting tackle carried out by a competent person.

An examination is therefore a great deal more detailed than an inspection, it is carried out less often and it would normally include visual inspection supplemented by measurement of critical dimensions and non-destructive testing where appropriate.

It is important to recognize that, irrespective of the legal requirements for inspection and examination, the drilling contractor must ensure that all components of the hoisting system of the drill rig are inspected on a regular basis as part of his duty of care. In a drilling application, lifting equipment and lifting tackle includes: 

  • the derrick, mast or feed frame,
  • the winch and the winch power and braking system,
  • the crown sheaves, travelling blocks and wireline pulleys
  • hoist plugs and bails,
  • elevator bodies, elevator links or chains, elevator plugs,
  • D shackles and other standard lifting tackle.
  • wire rope and rope terminations.
  • regular inspection and examination of all of these components is an essential element of the safety management system.

Given the above clarifications we (again) have to extract from the regulations what applies to a drilling operation and then interpret them into a meaningful standard – I suggest that the below schedule of inspections and examinations satisfies the legal requirements.

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