COMMENTS are being sought on a draft code of practice for the use of hand chain blocks and lever hoists offshore.

The code has been produced by the UK-based Lifting Equipment Engineers Association (LEEA) in response to a request from the Health & Safety Executive (HSE). Its full title is Code of practice for selection, management, use, maintenance and examination of hand chain blocks and lever hoists in the offshore environment including sub-sea.

This publication is more specific than the more general Technical guidance on the safe use of lifting equipment offshore that was published by the HSE earlier this year. That document includes the use of cranes, winches and personnel transportation equipment.

For a more detailed code on the use of specific equipment, the HSE was keen to see the lifting industry itself produce a code of practice, and so approached LEEA, said LEEA chief executive Derrick Bailes. HSE acted following several incidents involving hand chain blocks and lever hoists in the offshore industry. These were attributed to lack of proper equipment management and maintenance.

Bailes said: ‘The offshore environment can prove particularly demanding for lifting equipment and a number of additional precautions are typically needed to manage the risks involved. In developing the new code with the HSE, the equipment suppliers and operators, we are aiming to provide practical guidance to all those involved in offshore lifting operations. Feedback from as many interested parties within the offshore industry at this stage of the process would clearly be of great benefit to the finished document.’

Topics covered include appropriate lubrication for offshore environments and correct procedures for cleaning equipment that has been in salt water to prevent it from corroding.
Copies of the 29-page draft are available from Derrick Bailes at LEEA ( or tel: +44-1279 816 505).