Can You Pull With A Chain Hoist?

A chain hoist is a wonderful tool that gives you a mechanical advantage when you are lifting heavy objects. I recently went to a mechanical workshop to get a quotation for the suspension on my vehicle. I saw one of the mechanics using a chain hoist to lift  spares, and that made me wonder:” Can you pull with a chain hoist?”  

Lifting machines like chain hoists are not manufactured to pull loads. The lifting hook of any lifting machine should be located above the load’s center of gravity. When you pull a load while lifting, it creates momentum that can cause unwanted injuries and property damage.

Chain hoists are manufactured with different capacities to lift various loads. Using chain hoists in the wrong manner can cause damage to the hoist itself, damage to the load, or even injuries to the user. It is essential always to follow the manufacturers’ recommendations to reduce these unwanted outcomes.

Can You Pull A Load With A Chain Hoist?

Experts in the lifting industry all agree that pulling a load poses a range of risks to the user and anyone in the direct vicinity. The mechanical parts of a chain hoist are not designed to work if it is not being hoisted at the correct angle. It means that it is not a good idea to pull a load with a chain hoist. Here is what can go wrong if you pull with a chain hoist:

  • When you pull a load from the wrong angle, the chain hoist will jam up, which may result in expensive component failure to the chain hoist.
  • If a chain hoist breaks, it will lead to the loss of the load. The chance of a chain hoist breaking because of side-pulling increases with added weight.
  • When a load is pulled with a chain hoist, it will cause swinging in the load that could potentially cause an impact between the user and the load.

Chain hoists are designed to work in a specific way, and doing it any other way will be dangerous. In the following part of the article, we will explore this topic further, and it will be focused on using a chain hoist in a horizontal position.

Can You Pull Horizontally With A Chain Hoist?

You are not supposed to use a chain hoist in a horizontal direction to start with. Chain hoists are manufactured to lift and lower loads vertically. It means that the load is moved in an up and down fashion with the load directly below the hook of the chain hoist. The chain hoist can easily jam up inside the block because of misalignment.

Some people will try and force the chain hoist to do what it was not designed for and that in turn will lead to the chain hoist failing; when this happens, it can become costly to do repairs that they could have prevented in the first place. Only trained and experienced people should use lifting equipment.

Can You Pull Vertically With A Chain Hoist?

A chain hoist is meant to function vertically, but it is meant for lifting and lowering and not for pulling loads. When you pull a load, it is called side pulling, and it can have a detrimental effect on the inner workings of your chain hoist. Experts in the lifting industry suggest that you should lift loads only loads within the rated capacity with a chain hoist.

When you side pull loads into position, it causes damage to the working parts of the chain hoist and could potentially cause property damage to the floor when the load is dragged over the surface. There is also an increased risk of causing damage to the load itself because of poor rigging practices.

There is a range of methods that you can follow to prevent the need to pull loads with a chain hoist. We will discuss this under the next subheading.

Expert Tips For Using A Chain Hoist

It is already clear from the contents of this post and from the expert opinions that it is not a good idea to use a chain hoist to pull a load. There are methods that professionals use to prevent the need to pull loads; here are the expert tips on using a chain hoist:

  • The first thing that experts suggest is that people are trained in the safe ways of using any lifting machine. They also need to be trained to execute the rigging of the load properly. Proper inspections and PPE use will form part of the controls of any risk assessment.
  • If you need to lift loads in multiple places using a chain hoist, the experts suggest mounting the chain hoist on a movable frame called a gantry. This way, you move the chain hoist wherever it is needed.
  • The anchor point used to secure your chain hoist should be strong enough to carry more than the rated capacity of the chain hoist. The user should consider the weight of the chain hoist, the weight of the slings, and the weight of the load.
  • If it is not practical to have a movable or mobile chain hoist, then the load must be brought into a suitable position under the chain hoist so that pulling is not required.
  • Always follow the manufacturer’s recommendations by studying the information properly, and follow the guidelines of the training center where you do training. Never do anything if you are not sure.

Any lifting operation can be dangerous if shortcuts are taken, and it is proven that most workplace incidents occur as a result of some unsafe act.


If you follow the basic guidelines and get expert training from a reputable provider, it is possible to work safely with a chain hoist. Chain hoists are not made to pull loads in any way, and they should not be attempted.

I hope that the information in the post will help you make the correct decisions when deciding to use a chain hoist to lift and not pull a load.  


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