FEM advice on lifting people with cranes

Posted by Industrial Training International on May 26, 2011 8:32:00 AM

personnel liftMay 26, 2011 - The European Material Handling Federation - FEM  (Fédération Européenne de la Manutention) has published its position paper on the handling of personnel with cranes, which virtually outlaws the lifting of people for entertainment purposes.

The paper says that people can be lifted in cable suspended platforms only when it is the safest possible option for the application and in exceptional – rather than routine – jobs.

When these conditions are met and a hook suspended platform does have to be used it lays out some simple requirements and guidelines that should be followed. They include de-rating the cranes lift capacity by 50 percent, running the ‘job’ with an empty platform to gauge stability and available capacity and conducting an overload test for all parts of the platform and rigging chains/cables etc…

The full text of the paper is as follows:

Position Paper of FEM Product Group Cranes and Lifting Equipment - Sub-Group Mobile Cranes

Regarding: "Lifting Persons with Mobile Crane"

Mobile cranes shall never be used for entertainment purposes, e.g. lifting of persons for shows, bungee jumping, dinner-in-the-sky or lifting of other structures with people on the structure or underneath (e.g. lifting of tents)!

Mobile cranes are not intended to lift persons; they may be used to hoist and suspend personnel in man baskets only in unique work situations when it is the least hazardous way to do the job. Platforms fixed to crane booms for lifting of persons are not included herewith, as they are covered by international standards for mobile elevated work platforms.

This exceptional use is permitted only if all of the following requirements are fulfilled under the responsibility of the user:


  • The use of mobile cranes for lifting of persons is permitted by national law in the country of current operation. Specific provisions for the use of man baskets as stipulated by national law are applied.
  • The use of the crane for lifting of persons is reported to the national health and safety authority, if needed by national law (the use may need special approval).
  • The possibility to rescue people in the basket in cases of emergency has been evaluated prior to the job by means of a job-specific risk assessment. Provisions for emergency rescue have to be taken if stipulated by national law.
  • A pre-lift meeting has been held involving all relevant people.
  • The provisions for work in the vicinity of power lines according to the job-site conditions and national law/regulations are observed.


  • With the exception of the man basket being the load, the crane is used as intended and described in the respective operating manual.
  • The crane is checked and no damages are found prior to lifting persons. The man basket is fulfilling the requirements according to national law and/or standards and is used as intended.
  • The man basket is checked thoroughly, no defects are found prior to lifting persons.
  • Any emergency rescue device, if required by national law, has been checked and found to be operational.
  • Hooks used must be of a type that uses a latch eliminating the throat opening. According to national law it is required either to close and lock manually or to use a latch automatically closing operated by a spring.

Tests Prior to Use

  • Before lifting personnel, an overload test lift (proof test) with an overload of 125% of the rated capacity of the basket has been performed at each new construction site and after each modification or repair to verify the performance of basket and lifting attachment (re-location of a crane with basket on a bigger construction site does not create the need for additional overload testing).
  • Before lifting personnel, a trial lift with the unoccupied basket loaded at least to the anticipated lift weight to simulate the loaded basket has been performed simulating the complete planned lifting cycle. This trial lift has to be done at each set up location on a construction site where personnel handling is to be done.


  • The rope pull is limited to 50% of the maximum line pull.
  • The crane is used at 50% of the maximum capacity of the relevant load chart.

FEM represents European manufacturers of material handling equipment including lifting equipment and mobile cranes. For further information see: http://www.fem-eur.com/

Topics: crane safety, lift planning, FEM