Lifting Safety – The Importance of the Centre of Gravity When Lifting.

Locating the Centre of Gravity when lifting is paramount for lifting safety.

Locating the centre of gravity or C of G of any load is vital for ensuring a safe lift; on some loads it is  fairly easy to pinpoint, no rx yet others more difficult due to the shape and so will need estimating; this is where the “test lift” comes into its own, ambulance as slings can be re-positioned as necessary until the C of G is found.

The C of G is the exact point where the total weight of the load is regarded as acting and is the point where all parts exactly balance with each other.

With a regular shaped object, hospital like a steel beam for example, the C of G will be in the middle/ the exact centre point. More complex shaped loads will require estimating and because of this, many test lifts may need to be performed until the C of G is found and the load is evenly balanced.

Sometimes you will need to calculate the weight and C of G of different parts of the load to determine the C of G of the whole load, the diagram below gives an example, and the formula for working out the C of G will be:-

(Wa + Wb + Wc) X = Wa Ya + Wb Yb + Wc Yc       from this the unknown distance X can be found.

Once the position is found it should be clearly marked so the slings can be placed accordingly. It should be noted that this calculation determines the C of G in one plane only, and it may be necessary to apply the same calculations in the other two planes to discover the precise C of G.

A load which is not evenly balanced around its C of G will be unstable and the consequences of lifting an unstable load could be catastrophic.




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