Lifting Gear Hire takes pride in keeping the construction industry safe.
By Staci Davidson, Senior Editor at Knighthouse Publishing
Whenever a contractor excitedly wants to tell me about his or her company’s safety program, I get excited as well. Safety is the most important aspect of the construction industry – actually, most industries – and the best contractors know not to take it for granted. Lifting Gear Hire (LGH) makes safety its business, and this focus has driven its success for more than 25 years.
Based in Bridgeview, Ill., LGH is the leading expert in the rental of hoisting and rigging equipment, and has become the leader by staking its reputation on safety, quality and reliability. The company strives to always set the standard with its extensive rental inventory, and it backs that up with the expertise and knowledge of its workforce. LGH has 23 locations in North America from which it can rent hoisting, pulling, jacking, rigging, safety and material-handling equipment for every lifting or moving need, from simple everyday tasks to special projects where expertise is required.
“The LGH team shares a common purpose to serve our customers with passion, motivation and dedication as we continually work together to exceed all expectations,” Business Sales Manager Dan Pittman says. “Every piece of equipment has been carefully selected by LGH for its durability and longevity. All rental stock is maintained in superior condition to be ready for immediate and, above all, safe use.”
LGH was founded in 1990 and has since become the largest single organization devoted exclusively to the provision of lifting and moving equipment for rent in the United States. The company’s mission is to offer expertise in the rental of the safest and most reliable hoisting and rigging equipment to build and support a better country. It values its customers and strives to demonstrate this by providing them with quality service.
“LGH is very much a customer-focused organization,” Pittman says. “You can take comfort in knowing that everyone on our service team, from our national rental center to our rental representatives in the field, and from rental center staff to the delivery personnel, recognize that when it comes to customers’ needs, being second best is not good enough. Not for our customers and therefore, never at Lifting Gear Hire. As the industry leader, we take pride in providing each customer with top-notch service. That is why we are constantly developing our superior service standards, processes and employees.”
Support in the Snow
LGH has rental representatives working at locations throughout North America to best support its customers. The company understands the construction industry has many challenges, and it helps to reduce those by only renting inspected, tested and/or certified lifting and rigging equipment from top manufacturers. Its dedication to excellence and value helps contractors minimize capital expenditures, cut costs and ensure they always have access to the most up-to-date equipment. On one of its recent projects, LGH was involved in helping steel erector Clausen Structures place spans for a pedestrian bridge in Peoria, Ill.
Clausen Structures was tasked with setting two 210-foot by 14-foot-8-inch pedestrian bridge spans, each weighing about 160,000 pounds. Working over Knoxville Avenue in Peoria, the bridge had to be set between two sets of power lines, over a highway, in a 40-minute window, in the cold and snowy Midwestern winter. LGH explains this project was a two-crane pick with one 500-ton crane and a 300-ton crane.
LGH worked with the structural engineer to provide the correct design configuration of the rigging and modular spreader beams to create the lift plan. LGH’s quoting process helped owner Christina Clausen easily identify equipment weight and capacities needed for the calculations and provide all of the safety certifications required, Pittman says.
These lifts required polyester round slings because they would not conduct electricity if they touched the power lines. Pittman explains the project used:
• Two 50-ton modular beams with spans of 14 feet
• 12 EN800 x 10-foot slings
• Eight 35-ton screw pin shackles
• Four EN800 x 20-foot slings
“The rigging was critical because it had to be non-conductive since the power lines were so close to the bridge placement,” says Pat Kleyweg, project manager at Clausen Structures. “Christina didn’t just call Jim at LGH and order equipment. He was instrumental in choosing the right rigging for the safety of the project.”
The lift design configuration was planned so the same rigging equipment could be used for both lifts in different configurations as needed, in an effort to further enhance Clausen’s cost and time savings. “The complete scope of this project took the Peoria Park District about two years to engineer,” Pittman says. “Clausen was given a 40-minute window that Knoxville Avenue would be closed down for the lifts. With Clausen having the right equipment for the lifts, they completed them in 20 minutes. There were no safety incidents and the power lines were never touched.”
A Conscious Effort
LGH stresses that it remains an industry leader as a result of the strengths of its people. Its staff is dedicated to continuous improvement to ensure it provides customers with the highest-quality service and equipment. This leads to a deep well of knowledge within the company because there are many employees with long tenures. Pittman is one example of this: He joined the company in 2002 as an outside rental representative, and was promoted to northeastern regional manager in 2006 and then to business sales manager in 2010. In 2012, Pittman was appointed to serve on the LGH board of directors.
The company cares about the ongoing development of all of its people, with quality and safety always being the focus. For example, LGH carries out an annual program of audits at each rental center, reviewing its operational and administrative practices and procedures. It also conducts in-depth analysis of its workshop practices, examining equipment, maintenance, personnel efficiency and safety.
To further ensure the safety and reliability of its equipment, LGH has a 125,000-pound dynamic vertical proof testing machine capable of dual-load-range testing. It also has a 72-foot long, 300,000-pound dynamic horizontal proof testing machine that has fixtures for winch mounting, and is fully equipped with a computer and data-test software.
“This testing equipment was added in a conscious effort to deliver safe equipment to our customers,” Pittman says. “It’s just another way for us to make sure we put customers’ safety first.”
Additionally, to ensure its staff remains knowledgeable about its equipment, LGH places an emphasis on training with in-house classes and training seminars from its suppliers. The company provides ongoing training for all rental center staff, as well as comprehensive courses for distribution center personnel at its fully equipped centers. LGH insists that all staff members are trained to the highest degree possible to fulfill their job function, so every employee receives a minimum of 90 hours of training each year.
“The aim is to improve safety and training skills in line with specific safety requirements, as well as to promote the effective and safe use of our lifting and moving equipment,” Pittman says. “Practical workshop activities are presented to our in-house staff. Every one of our training programs meet, and in many cases, exceed statutory and legal requirements.”
In June, LGH completed a new training center at its Bridgeview campus. The center was created to train employees and customers in a quiet, temperature-controlled and classroom-style environment. It can seat up to 12 people, and the benches can be arranged in different configurations, depending on the class size and equipment required. The center also features an overhead camera and wall-mounted monitor, so trainees have a clear overhead view of what the instructor is working on. Fast wireless internet access is provided for the instructor and students.
“This training center will allow LGH to further develop the skills of our employees and further increase their knowledge of the service, function and proper care and maintenance of LGH rental stock equipment, which upholds our mission to provide quality service and equipment to our customers,” Pittman says.
In the construction market, LGH frequently is asked to be a part of projects for hospitals, schools, universities, high-rise office buildings, large commercial structures, industrial construction and airports. Its customers appreciate the ongoing support LGH provides. As an example, in April, LGH received a Longevity Award from the Specialized Carriers & Rigging Association (SC&RA), which is an international organization with more than 1,350 members in 46 nations. SC&RA members are involved in specialized transportation, crane and rigging operations, machinery moving and erecting, industrial maintenance, millwrighting, manufacturing and rental services.
LGH was recognized with the 20 Years Award for its longtime support and dedication to the association and its mission. LGH take pride in setting the standard for the meticulous certification processes of its rental equipment, which, in most cases, exceed ASME standards, ensuring confidence and a high level of value for its customers.
“The entire LGH family is proud to support the SC&RA member companies and the related industries as a whole,” Pittman says. “We have partnered in so many special projects due to the staunch relationships we have developed over these past 20 years. We are pleased to have played a role in the successes of the association and have actively participated in industry issues that we all face daily. We look forward to further adding value to the SC&RA as the world’s foremost organization devoted to the crane, transportation and rigging industries.”
The company continues to expand, and in January, it opened a new rental center in the San Francisco area. The space covers more than 15,000 square feet and is home to more than $1 million in rental equipment. The rental center opened with three employees and supports Beth Kolar, its local rental representative, in her efforts to bring timely deliveries to customers.
LGH says its success is largely the result of its commitment to lifting engineering and professionalism in everything it does. The company’s commitment to professionalism extends to:
• The selection and range of equipment it offers for rent or sale;
• The way in which it ensures every item of equipment it stocks is safe and ready for use;
• How it ensures the right equipment is delivered to the right place at the right time; and
• The way in which it seeks to meet customers’ needs.
“These levels of professionalism are only achieved by dedication, preparation, hard work and a willingness to assess all aspects of our company’s operations,” Pittman says. “This continuously ensures we achieve optimum levels of efficiency in all areas.
“As leaders in the lifting engineering industry, we continuously improve our standards and have continued to set the standards throughout the lifting and engineering industry,” he continues. “We go steps beyond what is required in our commitment to statutory and legal obligations in the inspection of our equipment. We have our own range of testing equipment, where necessary, to simulate equipment working conditions as closely as possible.”