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What is a Safety Hoist?

By Christy Bieber
Updated May 17, 2024
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A safety hoist is an industrial-strength tool that has been introduced to the roofing and remodeling industry. Roofers used to have to carry the roofing materials, which are almost always heavy, up ladders with the added weight resting on their shoulders. Since its invention, the safety hoist has eliminated the undue back strain and provided a more efficient way of lifting the materials to the roof.

A safety hoist is a ladder jack application. This means it works on almost any aluminum ladder construction that is rated for the weight being lifted. When the safety hoist is applied to the ladder, the roofing materials can be loaded onto it and basically get jacked up each rung of the ladder through the use of a jack handle. As the operator pushes down on the jack handle, the safety hoist moves itself up another rung on the ladder until the desired height is reached.

The materials used to fabricate safety hoists are usually lightweight aluminum, rubber bushings and steel bearings that allow for the smooth operation of the hoisting instrument. The plate that acts as the “table” for the materials is fabricated out of welded aluminum. It is supported according to the weight it has been designed to hoist.

There are different safety hoists capable of having different weights loaded onto them. Choosing the right one for the intended use of the operator should be done carefully. Overloading a safety hoist could result in the failure of the unit, which can result in the hoist itself failing to secure on a ladder rung and falling.

Many of the companies that manufacture safety hoists also offer add-ons and aftermarket upgrades to their systems. Examples of such add-ons include wider pan surfaces that allow for a greater amount of material to be raised, and dished trays that can be attached to the original tray for the hoisting of smaller pieces or tools all at once. This is useful for hoisting powered nail guns and the coils of nails. Some also offer slightly magnetized trays as well, in order to prevent loose roofing materials from sliding off of the tray during lowering or hoisting, possibly injuring the operator below.

Another feature that some companies have designed into safety hoists is a motor. The motor performs the act of hoisting the tray up the ladder without having to be raised rung by rung. These units have an arm attached to them and, once engaged, the motor shifts into a drive gear and drives the tray up the ladder until the operator below hits the brake.

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