This goods hoist was recently installed in Shallcross, KwaZulu-Natal. It is quite rare for a member of the public to see the top of a goods hoist as shown in this image so there are a few interesting things to note here for those who are technically inclined.

Firstly, in South Africa, handrails are required on top of goods hoist cars when the distance from the car to any of the shaft walls exceeds 300mm. Goods hoists can be very dangerous to users and service technicians if they are not designed and installed according to the regulations. Fortunately, it is a legal requirement for all goods hoists in South Africa to be inspected by a registered lift inspector to ensure that the unit is safe and that it complies with the law.

There are four ropes on this unit, suggesting a high capacity considering that a two rope setup is considered the norm for most goods hoists. By law, each of these ropes on a goods hoist in South Africa requires a minimum safety factor of 8. In other words, the rope must be able to take a load at least 8 times greater than the actual maximum load it experiences during normal and appropriate use.

In addition to the safety factor mentioned above, if you look at the right-hand side of this photo, you will see a smaller diameter rope running vertically near the shaft wall. This is the governor rope which forms a loop between the governor tension weight at the bottom of the shaft and the overspeed governor at the top of the shaft. If the goods hoist ever moves faster than the preset tripping speed on that overspeed governor, following a freak accident during loading that leads to free fall for example, the governor will lock, causing the rope to activate a safety set that is attached to the underside of the goods hoist. The safety set will then grip onto the guide rails seen on either side of the car to stop the fall. Provided that the governor, safety gear, guide rails and the guide rail-to-wall fixing are all appropriately designed, specified and installed, a potentially deadly accident would have been prevented.

A suitably designed goods hoist is naturally a little more expensive than a questionably legal alternative. This price difference can be tempting for business owners who are desperately trying to keep their businesses profitable, particularly in difficult economic conditions. Furthermore, it is often difficult for someone outside of the lift industry to gauge whether or not a quote is actually suitable. If you are struggling to decide if you should proceed with a quote you have received, wondering if it’s safe, legally compliant, robust enough etc, please feel free to contact our engineers who will gladly assist.

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