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Understanding Crane Hitches and Safe Working Loads



Load suspended on a hook and wire rope

Cranes are a part of everyday construction, mining, production, rigging, and manufacturing operations. They simplify material management procedures and help workers accomplish bigger, more difficult tasks with ease. A crane is a complex machine made up of various components, each with its unique feature, function, and application.

Some of the most important crane parts include a jib, hoist, boom, engine, control box, and man basket, among more. In addition, crane operators and riggers must understand the meaning and role of crane hitches and safe working loads in safety optimization. In this detailed and informative blog, our crane warning indicator experts in Atlanta have discussed crane hitches and their types. Continue reading to know all about them.

An Overview of Crane Hitches

Firstly, let’s talk about the meaning of crane hitches. Crane hitches usually refer to the load reinforcing and suspending parts of a crane. It is directly associated with the crane hook and is considered a method of loading, moving, and unloading objects using a crane. However, the type of crane hitch you use depends on your material handling requirements and the project’s nature.

Choosing a crane hitch depends on various factors, including your crane type, load weight, movement radius, and the load’s shape. You must also consider safety limits and desired stability, and ground conditions to choose the right type of crane hitch for a lift.

Types of Crane Hitches

Now that you know the meaning of crane hitches, let’s delve deeper and explore its main types:

  1. Single Hitch

Single or single hook hitch is the most basic yet most commonly used type of crane hitch in the world. It’s ideal for regular lifting procedures and provides adequate strength and sturdiness to loads and objects. This straightforward crane hitch type involves suspending a load on one hook to a single lifting point.

Many experts argue that while a single hook hitch may be simple and easy to implement, it may not provide stability and lifting weight distribution for maximum loading and unloading safety. You must invest in quality crane monitoring devices such as a load limiting indicator or a rated capacity indicator to ensure end-to-end crane and personnel safety during single hook hitches.

  1. Dual or Double Hitch

If you’re using a crane to load, move, and unload long or bulky loads, we recommend you opt for a dual or double hook hitch for balanced weight distribution. A double hook hitch suspends a load from two lifting points to cancel the entire weight and balance the object while it’s suspended on a hook.

  1. Choker and Basket Crane Hitches

Compared to the two crane hitches mentioned above, a basket hitch offers better stability and sturdiness to a suspended load due to its unique reinforcement technique. It involves wrapping a sling around a load forming a basket-like shape. This not only secures a load from all sides but also ensures fast and error-free transportation.

In addition, crane operators also opt for choker crane hitches, which involve passing a sling across the load and tightening/fastening it to the crane hook. This hitching technique is perfect for lifting and moving objects with cavities, such as pipes, drums, dry walls, etc.



A heavy-duty crane hook close up


Connection Between Crane Hitches and Safe Working Loads

Safe loads, AKA safe working loads, are a critical determinant of crane safety and are directly associated with crane hitches in various ways. Staying within a crane’s safe working load is extremely important to prevent crane accidents like slipping, overloading, and uneven weight distribution. It is also critical for ensuring crane operator and equipment safety during a lift.

Safe working loads are mentioned by a crane manufacturer on its load chart. That’s why crane operators, riggers, and spotters must have full knowledge of reading and following crane load charts. Your crane’s hitch directly affects its safe working load in the following ways:

Effects on Crane Dynamics and Configurations

Safe working load varies from one crane to another. It depends on crane type, body structure, parts, configurability, boom length, jib and hook type, and more. Your crane’s safe working load is also connected to its hitch, as it can affect weight distribution and load-balancing features. We strongly recommend you consult with your crane’s manufacturer to determine the right type of crane hitch to support the equipment’s unique safe working load.



A crane system at a construction site


Sling Selection

Your crane hitch also affects your sling selection. Slings are used in conjunction with a crane hitch to optimize safe working load and load-limit capacities. Installing a Load Moment Indicator (LMI) or Safe Load Indicator can be very effective in mitigating operator errors and overloading problems. These crane safety devices can also be very helpful in elongating the useful life of your crane hitch, sling, shackles, hooks, wire ropes, and rigging parts.

Why the Right Type of Crane Hitches Are Crucial for Crane Safety

Here are how crane hitches contribute to safe lifting operations:

  • The right type of crane hitch can help crane operators accommodate different crane loads and weights and prevent load shifting or overloading risks.

  • They enable operators and riggers to evenly distribute and lift loads without increasing tip-over and structural failure risks.

  • Efficient crane hitches improve load management capabilities and result in better compliance, productivity, and lifting safety.


A RaycoWylie RCI available at the Crane Warning Systems Atlanta

As a leading and highly reliable crane safety device distributor in the US, Crane Warning Systems Atlanta is here with the best range of Anti two block switch. We’re a RaycoWylie-authorized seller providing cutting-edge and precise Anti-Two Blocking indicators at the best rates. You can browse our full range of products here or check out the R147 ATB wireless system or the R140 wired ATB system here. We also offer top-of-the-line products like LMI, RCI, and wireless Wind Speed Indicator for sale in the US.

Check out our free product manuals, troubleshooting guides, or wiring diagrams here, or call us for more details.



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