Below the Hook Regulations

Posted by Melissa Hall in #YHSafetyTips, Mar 06, 2019

Did you know the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) updated their standards that apply to below-the-hook lifting devices in 2018? Often referred to as a lifter, a below-the-hook lifting device attaches a load to a hoist. BTH devices come in several forms including: structural & mechanical lifting devices, vacuum lifting devices, close proximity operated lifting magnets, remotely operated lifting magnets, scrap & material handling grapples, and clamps. ASME BTH-1 and ASME B30.20-18 are the most important standards for the design and marking of below-the-hook lifting devices.

ASME B30.20-18 provides detailed standards on the classification, marketing, construction, installation, inspection testing, maintenance, and operation of below-the-hook lifting devices. ASME BTH-1 provides detailed information on the design criteria of below-the-hook lifting devices.

BTH Markings & ID Tags
All BTH devices must include rated load markings that are marked legibly on the device or on a tag that is attached to the device. If the BTH device is made up of several lifters that are detachable from the group, each individual lifter needs to be marked with the individual rated loads.

All BTH devices also need an ID tag, which is a nameplate or other permanent marking that is affixed to the structural or mechanical lifter. ID tags should list the following:

  • Manufacturer’s name and address (the address could be the website address)
  • Serial number (unique to that specific lifter)
  • Lifter weight, if over 100 lbs / 45kg
  • Rated load
  • Cold current amps (when applicable)
  • Rated voltage (when applicable)
  • ASME BTH-1 Design Category
  • ASME BTH-1 Service Class

Design Categories
ASME BTH-1 divides lifting devices into two design categories, A & B.

Design Category A
Design category A states “Design Category A should be designated when the magnitude and variation of loads applied to the lifter are predictable, and where the loading and environmental conditions are accurately defined or not severe.”

Lifting devices in design category A are limited to a Service Class of 0, which limits the device’s load cycles to a maximum of 20,000 cycles. Design category A lifters are often found in rapid manufacturing locations where an identical load is used and where there are no outside conditions acting on the load.

Design Category B
The most common design category with most qualifying below-the-hook lifting devices, this category should be designated “when the magnitude and variation of loads applied to the lifter are not predictable, and where loading and environmental conditions are severe or not accurately defined.” Lifting devices under this design category can fall under service class 0-4 and require a design factor of 3:1.

ASME BTH-1 Table C2-1 Service Class

Service Class Load Cycles
0 0-20,000
1 20,001-100,000
2 100,001-500,000
3 500,001-2,000,000
4 Over 2,000,000

ASME BTH-1 Table C2-1 Service Class Life (Desired Life in Years)

Cycles Per Day 1 5 10 20 30
5 0 0 0 1 1
10 0 0 1 1 1
25 0 1 1 2 2
50 0 1 2 2 2
100 1 2 2 3 3
200 1 2 3 3 4
300 2 3 3 4 4
750 2 3 4 4 4
1,000 2 3 4 4 4

Operational Practices for Lifting Devices
Below-the-hook lifting devices shall only be operated by the following qualified personnel:

  • Personnel designated to operate the lifter
  • Trainees who are under the direct supervision of designated personnel
  • Personnel designated to maintenance and/or conduct testing on the lifter
  • Personnel designated to inspect the lifter

Below-the-hook lifting devices shall not:

  • Be overloaded beyond the manufactured rated capacity
  • Be utilized to handle any load that it was not designed to handle
  • Be utilized when rigging is kinked or multiple part lines are twisted around each other
  • Be utilized when the load is not distributed properly
  • Be utilized when the load temperature exceeds the maximum allowable limits
  • Be utilized in a manner causing the load to swing
  • Be left unattended with a load attached

Inspections of Below-the-Hook Devices
All BTH devices should be inspected before and during each lift made by the lifter. In addition to inspections during use, visual inspections by a qualified person should be performed on a frequent and periodic basis. The frequency of these inspections varies based on the level of service that is needed for the BTH device.

Frequent Inspections
Frequent inspections are defined as visual examinations by the operator or other designated person. Records are not required for frequent inspections.

  • Normal Service – Monthly
  • Heavy Service – Weekly to Monthly
  • Severe Service – Daily to Weekly
  • Special or Infrequent Service – Before and after each occurrence as recommended by a qualified person

Periodic Inspections
A visual inspection is performed by a qualified inspector who records the current condition of the below-the-hook lifter in order to provide the basis for a continuing program of recorded evaluation. Dated reports for periodic inspections shall be maintained.

  • Normal Service - Annual inspection typically performed on-site
  • Heavy Service - Disassembly by a qualified individual should be performed semi-annually to facilitate a detailed inspection
  • Severe Service - Disassembly by a qualified individual should be performed quarterly to facilitate a detailed inspection
  • Special or infrequent Service - Outlined as specified by a qualified individual prior to and following each use
  • Any lifter that has been idle for a period of one year or more shall undergo a periodic inspection prior to use

All YorkHoist inspectors meet and exceed OSHA, ANSI, CMMA, and CCAA requirements.

Welding Requirements
All welding done during the construction of the lifting device must be done in accordance with ASME BTH-1 and ANSI/AWS D14.1.

For more information or to purchase a copy of the standard, visit ASME website,

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