Material handling and lift planning: FESHM 10200

Written by: MSS/Lifting and Material Handling Panel

At Fermilab, lifting materials and handling equipment is as crucial to the mission as the science it serves. Often, these tasks go unnoticed and without appreciation of the skill and planning that went into the task. Only when there is an unwanted outcome, and someone’s life or life’s work is at jeopardy does attention get drawn to the individuals and processes involved. To ensure the highest level of quality and safety assurance, the lab has in place the mechanical safety subcommittee, its purpose is to serve as a forum to help assure the management of Fermilab and the Department of Energy that sufficient internal control and oversight systems are in place and are operating properly. The MSS reports directly to the Fermilab Environmental Safety and Health Committee and the chief safety officer.

As a subsidiary to the MSS, there an established lifting and material handling panel; employees with the expertise and experience in the crane and rigging, forklift, aerial lift and other materials handling and equipment industries. This group authors FESHM chapters that set policy and procedures for material handling and lifting, including FESHM: 10100 – Overhead Cranes and Hoists; 10110 – Below the Hook Lifting Devices; 10120 – Powered Industrial Trucks; 10130 – Slings and Rigging Hardware; 10140 – Mobile Cranes; 10180 – Aerial Lifts; 10190 – Crane Personnel Lifting Platforms; and 10200 – Lift Planning. Because all work at Fermilab involves in some way moving people and handling materials, where lives and careers are at stake, there is no room for error. So, to this end, Fermilab incorporates the most stringent codes and best practices within its lift planning and material handling processes.

Every successful lift begins with a plan. FESHM 10200 – Lift Planning provides guidelines, rules and requirements applicable to critical, planned engineered and pre-engineered production lifts and describes the planning and documentation required to perform those lifts. These rules are taken from the Department of Energy’s “Hoisting and Rigging” standard (DOE-STD-1090-2011). The standard invokes applicable OSHA and national consensus standards but also delineates more stringent provisions necessary to accomplish the extremely complex, diversified, critical and oftentimes hazardous hoisting and rigging work found within a DOE complex. Because not all lifts are the same and some require more formal planning, permits and authorization, Fermilab has adopted the following definitions from the DOE standard and follows its rules to aid in the planning process.

Ordinary lift – A standard lift that does not meet the requirements of a critical, planned engineered or pre-engineered production lift.

Critical lift – A lift that meets any of the following:

  • Loss of control of the item being lifted would likely result in the declaration of an emergency.
  • The load/item is unique, and if damaged, would be irreplaceable or not repairable and is vital to a system, facility or project operation.
  • The cost to replace or repair the load/item would have a negative impact on the facility, organizational or DOE budgets to the extent that it would affect program commitments

Planned engineered lift – A lift that exceeds the overhead crane’s rated capacity. Planned engineered lifts should not exceed 125% of the crane’s load rating.

Pre-engineered production lift – A repetitive lift that is performed by production line personnel in the assembly or disassembly of components or systems in which the items to be lifted are identical in terms of dimensions, weight, center of gravity, load path, method of attachment to the lifting equipment and selection of lifting equipment, and all items can be lifted in adherence to a specific step-by-step procedure that eliminates rigging decisions or calculations by lift personnel.

What is required when planning a critical, planned engineered or pre-engineered production lift?

All critical, planned engineered and pre-engineered production lifts need a Lift Plan Permit. The permit will include details of the equipment that will be used to lift the item, the item’s details, rigging details and sketches. The Lift Plan Permit must be reviewed and signed by all responsible personnel to proceed with the lift. And, prior to the lift, the lift director is responsible for conducting a pre-lift meeting. The meeting must be attended by the operator(s), the ESH representative and any other personnel who will be involved in the lift. Pre-lift meetings and process reviews have been proven valuable in identifying potential problems and to ensure safety.

In addition to the lift planning and permit process, the knowledgeable experts of the lifting and material handling panel can be a useful resource for project planners in identifying and reviewing compatible lifting products and make suggestions prior to procurement. Also, if there is ever a question or doubt as to the suitability and safety of a device, the ESH department and panel is available for consultation and advice.

For more information on Fermilab’s lifting and material handling panel, to make a comment/suggestion, or report a safety concern, contact the panel chair, Paul Satti (, or call x3685.