Davit arms are a common sight on construction projects and are used to perform a number of lifting, transporting and safety operations. Because of the specialized functions they perform, it is important that davit arms work correctly every time.
The Many Uses of Davit Arms
A davit arm is a mechanical device used to raise and lower loads. A davit arm may be manufactured of steel or wood and consists of a moveable arm attached to a support pillar. The moveable arm is also connected to a winch or other tackle that does the actual raising and lowering. Davit arms are often used in pairs and are either mounted securely to a fixed base or attached to a portable base. Davit arms that are permanently mounted are able to lift heavier loads, while portable davit arms are often used for lighter applications. Davit arms can be designed to pivot and may be mounted in a track that allows a limited range of movement. Because of the ability to rotate, lift and lower, davit arms are practical when transporting a load over an obstruction, such as the side of a boat.
Davits were developed for use in marine applications and are used to raise and lower lifeboats and anchors from ships. Davits are also used to raise boats from the water and to load and unload cargo. Davit arms also have many uses in construction, including raising and lowering scaffolding platforms and moving construction materials. Portable davit arms are also used to rescue trapped or injured persons from large tanks, wells, construction trenches and other confined spaces.
Davit Arm Safety
Davit arms are designed to lift a specific amount of weight. Attempting to overload a davit system or failing to maintain the moving parts of a davit can lead to a catastrophic failure. Regular inspection and repair of construction davit arms is necessary for the following reasons:
Lost Time and Money
A davit arm failure can damage a construction project by destroying a portion of the project that has already been completed. Material can also be damaged by dropping from a davit arm while being transported. Work stoppages to fix a malfunctioning davit arm or to repair damage caused by a failed davit also result in lost work time and additional expense.
Davits are often used to raise and lower employees to their work location. Some workers perform their jobs while working in a cage or on a platform supported by davit arms. Failure of a davit used to carry personnel could injure a worker. Personnel working under or near a failed davit system could also be injured by a falling platform, the davit arm itself or materials struck by a falling davit.
A davit arm that does not operate properly can do more than damage a project or injure workers, it can also generate liability for the construction company if private property is damaged or if passersby are injured due to the failure of a davit arm.
With any construction project, it is critical that all equipment work properly to prevent delays, additional expense, injuries or even death that can result from avoidable factors such as equipment failure. Because worker and public safety are involved, a davit arm must work properly every time.