Menu Close


(0) Lift-It Manufacturing Co. Inc., president, Mike Gelskey Jr., featured in the latest issue of Rotorhub International

“We base everything we are working on on the conversations we have with our customers. If they are looking for a more durable cover, we’ll find a way to make it.”

Mike Gelskey, President, Lift-It

When it comes to long line work, be it construction or firefighting, the temptation is to think about what’s at either end of the line – because a rope is just a rope, right? Wrong, as Gideon Ewers discovers.

Historically, revolutionized long aerial line operations work, giving helicopters a much greater versatility in terms of the number and type of payloads they can carry.

As with much of the helicopter industry, long line operations can be traced to Igor Sikorsky’s pioneering work back in the late 1930s, but it wasn’t until the advent of the Bell 47 that long line external load operations became commercially practical.

Click on the magazine image below to read the full article.

(0) Lift-It® number one producer for Slingmax® Twin-Path® three years consecutive

Very proud to announce Lift-It is at the top of the pile yet again!! When you think of the best, Lift-It & Slingmax are always top of mind! With over 40 licensed fabricators around the world this is no small feat. Day, or night we’ll turn on the lights for you!

For 37 years Lift-It has been a top producer of Slingmax® Twin-Path® products. From 500 pounds to 1.4 million pounds Lift-It has the knowledge, experience and tenacity day or night to fabricate your Slingmax® Twin-Path® products! Let us help you with your next mega lift!  



Helicopter External Cargo Rigging Course
(0) Helicopter External Cargo Rigging Course

We had the distinct pleasure meeting some of the great people at Luma Aviation while providing external cargo rigging principle course.

Coming back for one more day of rigging inspection. Puerto Rico.

Day 2 “hands on inspection” was amazing.

Take our classroom instruction and improve knlowedge and comprehension in a “hands on” environment.

Learn, apply!

Highly impressed with the Luma Aviation’s team attitude and attendance from top of the organization all the way down.

Engaging conversation between the team, sharing experiences and learning from the curriculum and real world experiences shared!

Thank you Luma Aviation for your time, energy!!

If you would like to schedule training for your organization, please visit our training page at


Fall Zone + Sphere of Influence = Danger Zone
(0) Fall Zone + Sphere of Influence = Danger Zone

Fall Zone + Sphere of Influence = Danger Zone

By: Michael J. Gelskey, Sr.

The U.S. Department of Labor – Occupational Safety & Health Administration in 29CFR 1926.1401  defines the fall zone as, “The area, including but not limited to, directly below the load in which it is reasonably foreseeable that partially or completely suspended materials could fall in the event of an accident”.

Untrained users may be unaware of the subtlety of “but not limited to, directly below the load”.
Erroneously the focus may be placed solely on the “directly below the load” without regard to “but not limited to”. 
As an example, consider a scenario in which a spreader bar is used to lift a load and it is connected to the crane with a two-leg bridle sling. Imagine the sphere of influence if during use, just one of bridle legs were to break. The load may fall “directly below”, but the spreader bar, while still connected to the crane with the remaining bridle leg may be propelled into the “but not limited to” zone. 

A Key point to realize is that our awareness of the potentially deadly consequences of the fall zone must involve more than falling loads. The release of tension in any attitude, i.e., vertical (up and down), and/or horizontal
(to and from), at any angle can result in severe injury or death.

Additional hazard awareness is necessary to fully comply with the OSHA mandate. Compliance not only assists in ensuring one’s safety, but provides countless, additional benefits, i.e., the pursuit of happiness, living long enough to exact revenge on children through grandchildren,  lower worker compensation modification rates, improved morale, etc. Fall Zone hazard awareness must always include the sphere of influence from the perspective of an unplanned release of tension.

Effective warnings must not only identify the hazard but recommend appropriate measures to mitigate the hazard and/or clearly state the consequence of not addressing the hazard, i.e., SEVERE INJURY or DEATH. An unplanned release of tension can produce devastating whiplash and/or impact force as broken rigging or load securement components are propelled at hundreds of feet per second in unpredictable directions striking personnel.

Human factors experts, utilizing focus groups determined the best term to describe an area that would encompass not only the Fall Zone, but the sphere of influence was Danger Zone.  It was also determined that symbols be used to transcend language and literacy barriers, while enhancing comprehension of the hazard. Brevity is not only the soul of wit, but the efficacy of an effective warning.
NEVER UNDER – NEVER ON – NEVER IN-LINE combined with graphics designed for load handling (lifting) and load securement (tie down) were evaluated, reviewed, and developed.


A 9mm socket dropped from a wind turbine nacelle can be just as deadly as a 500-ton dropped load. Gravity always works, what goes up, will certainly come down when unplanned tension is released. While the direction and/or thrust of broken rigging is unpredictable, the consequences of deadly tension can be devasting.

Michael J. Gelskey, Sr. is the CEO and founder of Lift-It® Manufacturing Co., Inc. – Pomona, CA.
He has been involved in the design and manufacture of slings and tie downs for 47 years.

He currently serves as a committee member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers
B30.9 Sling Committee, the Associated Wire Rope Technical Committee, the Web Sling and Tie Down Association Web Sling and Roundsling Committees and chairs the WSTDA Legal Resource Committee.  He has presented training sessions for forty years to sling users, sling and rigging gear inspectors, trade, industry, association, and regulatory groups and provides safety and professional development courses for training and safety personnel.

Load Handling and Load Securement Best Practices
(0) Load Handling and Load Securement Best Practices

Lift-It Manufacturing, CEO, Michael J. Gelskey featured in Lift and Hoist International Magazine.

Click to read the article in its entirety.

Best Practices in Sling Protection
(0) Best Practices in Sling Protection

Come see us in Phoenix for our “Best Practices in Sling Protection” workshop presentation.


On September 20th, Mike Gelskey, Jr., Vice President and General Manager, Lift-It Manufacturing is a featured speaker at the Specialized Carrier and Rigging Association event in Phoenix, Arizona.

Sling protection is a critical consideration in all load handling activities. Join Workshop speaker, Mike Gelskey, Jr., as he shares best practices to avoid damages.

Register now and learn how to utilize best practices in sling protection.

Wear Pads for Slings
(0) Wear Pads for Slings

Wear Pads for slings is terminology from the past, although many still refer to sling wear pads as such.

Engineered sling protection has come of age and needs to be used correctly during load handling activities to prevent death, serious injury and/or property damage. There are two basic forms of sling damage that responsible riggers need to address, damage from cutting and damage from abrasion. While both cutting and abrasion can both cause sling damage, the steps taken to mitigate damage from cutting and/or abrasion are generally totally different.

The Web Sling and Tie Down association defines abrasion as “The mechanical wearing or scuffing of a surface, resulting from frictional movement between two materials or surfaces. When sling tension and compressive force against a damaging edge join together a cutting force is created.

While certain materials can be used to prevent abrasion damage, these same materials will not prevent damage from cutting.  Generally, bulked nylon buffer material, also known by the Dupont trade name, Cordura® is four times more abrasion resistant than regular nylon or polyester webbing.  This 1/8 inch thick abrasion resistant material will not prevent cutting.

Generally, bulked nylon materials are sewn directly to web slings in specific locations to prevent the effects of abrasion.  Depending upon the sling configuration, sewn-on pads can be attached in single or multiple layers and can vary in length.  The same abrasion resistant material (bulked nylon fibers) has also been woven into tubular sleeves for roundslings, resulting in more durable sling covers when compared to polyester tubular sleeves.

It is interesting to note that leather for many years has been used as a sling protection material.  Images of the “old west” and “rawhide” seemed to make good sense, but in reality, leather has many serious shortcomings. When leather wear pads are sewn on to a synthetic sling, the rate of elongation for the leather is different than the nylon and/or polyester webbing.  When sling wear pads are sewn to synthetic web slings, the leather does not elongate at the same rate as the webbing, resulting in thread breaking as the leather wear pad can become separated from the nylon lifting or polyester web sling.

When our customers absolutely insist on leather wear pad, we try to convince them to consider alternates, which are far superior. Since the customer is ALWAYS right, we will not recommend sewn on leather wear pads more than 60 inches in length to prevent the previously mentioned thread breakage due to differential elongation rates. In 1981 Lift-It manufactured 24-inch x 50 ft. Wide body cargo slings for use in rail car handling resulting from derailments.  The purchaser was insistent upon FULL LENGTH leather wear pads for slings despite our pleas. During the first use the leather wear pads sheared away from the nylon cargo slings and thankfully the slings were not damaged.  The leather pads were replaced with synthetic nylon wear pads which performed properly.

Some still refer to sling protection as “softeners” or wear pads for slings.  There is a tremendous difference between engineered sling protection which has been designed, tested and labelled by the sling protection manufacturer and the many make shift devices such as: conveyer belting, fire house, cardboard, shop rags and/or leather gloves which were never intended for use as sling protection devices.

Sling users are far more astute at recognizing the need for not only selecting the correct type of protection, but that the protection is used properly.  This need can best be assessed by a qualified person who knows proper protection selection and usage. We encourage responsible riggers to always take the time to do the job correctly, the first time.

Sling Safety Consensus Standard ASME B30.9-2018 Released
(0) Sling Safety Consensus Standard ASME B30.9-2018 Released

The American Society of Mechanical Engineers has now issued the 2018 version of the B30.9 Sling Safety Consensus Standard. The 2018 revision of the previous 2014 version has some very notable additions and changes.

In Chapter 9-0 which contains scope, definitions and personnel competence, new language regarding minimum requirements for riggers assigned to load handling activities have now been added in Section 9-0.4. Riggers involved in load handling activities must ensure the weight of the load and determine the center of gravity are cited in the newly added, Rigger Responsibility Section. Sling selection and inspection are also cited in the new section, and also lists several other ASME standards for compliance and proper usage, i.e., ASME B30.10, B30.2, B30.23 and B30.26. Section 9-0.4 also mentions that the effects of angles (sling tension) must also be taken into consideration to avoid overloading. Properly attaching and ensuring load control (balance) as well as, the need to protect slings from abrasion, cutting and other forms of damage have been included in the new section. Lastly, Section 9-0.4 also addresses the need for responsible riggers to understand applicable signals for the equipment used and that tagline use may be necessary when additional control is required.

The 2018 Volume includes a new, seventh chapter (9-7) for High Performance (HP) Roundslings.  The B30.9 sling subcommittee decided after much discussion that HP roundslings should have a separate chapter and not be included into the existing Chapter 9-6 for polyester roundslings. Much like the other six chapters, the HP Roundsling chapter contains sections for training, components, fabrication, design factor, rated load, proof test requirements, sling identification, effects of the environment, inspection, removal, repair as well as operating and rigging practices. Since many different fibers and/or combinations of fibers are used High Performance Roundslings, much of the emphasis for proper use is placed onto the qualified person and/or the manufacturer.

Along with these abovementioned additions, many significant changes to existing language are now a part of the B30.9-2018 Sling Safety Standard.

Language for slings that have been in storage or idle for more than a year is now included.
Section 9-X-9.4(d) specifically states that periodic inspection for slings in storage or idle slings (slings not used) for more than a year, IS NOT required. What is required is that before  “idle” or “stored” slings are used that they be inspected before being put into use per the provisions of periodic inspections for slings.

Removal from service criteria for polyester roundslings has finally been corrected to reflect language that leaves nothing to the imagination.  Prior to the 2018 Revision, Section 9-6.9.5(g) stated, “knots in the roundsling, except for core yarns inside the cover”. The 2018 Revision, now states, “knots in the roundsling, except for core yarn knots inside the cover installed by the manufacturer during the fabrication process”.

It took me several attempts over many years to provide rationale to the subcommittee and I was finally successful in my efforts.  All I ever wanted was for the 2014 language to be changed from “Core yarns inside the cover” to “core knots inside the cover”. Most roundslings have core yarns, while not all roundslings have core knots installed by the manufacturer.

We would recommend that qualified persons obtain a copy of the newly released ASME B30.9-2018 and become acquainted with these and other important modifications.

You can visit the ASME website and download your copy by clicking the link below:


Michael J. Gelskey, SR.

CEO-Lift-It Manufacturing Company, Inc.

Engineered Sling Protection
(0) Engineered Sling Protection

We have worked with many of you over the years to make a difference in the lives of those you are tasked with protecting. Most recently we worked with US DOE representatives to assist in developing some of the information contained in the recently released, “Engineered Sling Protection”, OE-3: 2018-03. The Operating Experience Level 3 issued by Mr. Josh Silverman, Director – Office of Environment, Health, Safety and Security addresses many important considerations and certainly highlights the significance for raising the awareness of damage that may occur to slings during rigging operations.

Much of the specific sling protection language contained in the aforementioned OE is verbatim from the information I have presented over the past thirty-seven years in our training programs. We are honored in our association with the US DOE, a community of professionals who embody a quest for excellence that is difficult to attain and more trying to sustain.

Sling protection like many other devices, if improperly used may injure, kill and/or destroy property. We shipped a very large sling protection order to one of the incident locations mentioned in the OE. We called to thank the purchaser and when we inquired about training for the protection devices were told that the trainer used at their facility would cover training for the sling protection devices received. We sincerely hope that did in deed occur.

In my review of another DOE incident, I had to question the use of the term, “insufficient” used in describing an
internal post incident review of the “sling protection” used at the time. Apparently, it was recognized before the incident that the protection may not be robust enough, but that it had worked many times previously and that despite some doubt, it would work again.

The 2009 Mackey, Henderson report took the blinders off for many as it connected common root cause factors in thirteen separate incidents involving sling damage from cutting. The conclusion reached by Mr. Mackey is a sound one; inadequate and/or non-existent sling protection resulted in sling damage and loss of load control with death, injury and/or property damage as outcomes. Since the release of the report, I have reviewed additional incidents in recent months with identical contributing factors and outcomes.

Lift-It sling protection bulletins will be previewed and discussed in our presentation for the 2018 EPRI-User Group-Hoisting, Rigging and Crane Workshop.  The protection bulletins (user manuals) contain valuable information relative to the selection, use and inspection criteria for Lift-It protection devices. They were developed using feedback from sling users representing many diverse industries, as well a development and review process done by industry experts and safety professionals under the guidance of a human factors expert.

On April 24, 2018 at presentation for the Spring 2018 Associated Wire Rope Fabricators I made the point that several manufacturers in attendance promote and sell 1/8” thick bulked nylon products (Cordura®) as “softeners” used for “cut protection”.  It is also interesting to note that others who provide training disseminate sling protection information that is not only incorrect, but inherently dangerous.

OE-3 :2018-03 specifically addresses some of the most recent occurrences where rigging professionals, employing “sufficient” sling protection did not complete the load handling activity successfully.

In the April 2018 OE-3, a very compelling point is presented relative to load control as it pertains to the angle of loading and the sling and/or protection device sliding across loads. Charles Lucas, who made significant contributions to the rigging community over a long and distinguished career and I have had many discussions of various load control factors, i.e., coefficients of friction, sling to load angles, sling protection adequacy, etc.
It occurred to me when reading the OE and the prior conversations with Mr. Lucas that the same conclusion (60-degree angle of loading “awareness”) was reached from two, totally independent perspectives. The effects of “low” angles, coefficients of friction, etc. have on successful load handling activities are some of the very important and requisite steps in the proper use of slings and sling protection.

In discussions with US-DOE representatives, methods to effectively disseminate and integrate the vital message(s) of this or any OE into the Department of Energy safety culture were discussed. To be effective, the process needs to permeate all organizational levels and certainly include subcontractor and ancillary personnel.

Training must facilitate and enable modified behavior or reoccurring incidents are certain. It’s not just the message (training program), but the methodology (training techniques) used to transfer the message, which when effectively employed will result in changed behavior. A Train-the-Trainer program may be a key component in improving the effective communication of any message, including that for engineered sling protection.

If you are interested in receiving copies of the Lift-It Sling Protection Bulletins and/or information on our line of Engineered Sling Protection and/or the new and diverse training programs we provide, please contact us.

If there is anything we can do to assist you in gaining traction for action on a site, regional, business sector, etc. level, contact us. Have slings and do travel.

We look forward to hearing from you and to seeing some of you soon at upcoming events.

All the best,

Michael J. Gelskey, Sr.
CEO & Founder

Lift-It Mfg. Company, Inc.

2018 Sling and Rigging Training Schedule is Online
(0) 2018 Sling and Rigging Training Schedule is Online

Accident Prevention Through Education

Thirty-seven years ago, long before training was fashionable I began training sling users and inspectors. I would travel anywhere at my own expense and on occasion, work around the clock with the goal of enabling men and women to perform their job tasks more safely. Our motto and mission has always been, “Accident Prevention Through Education”.

We are passionate about training and we know we have a sacred duty to instill a quest for excellence in our students that goes far beyond traditional sling and rigging topics. Our passion is contagious and on several occasions our students applaud and thank us for our message, which is God, country, family, life’s blessings and a quest for excellence that does not allow compromise.

If you rig loads, supervise, perform inspections, serve as a safety professional or tool room attendant, provide training, loss control, quality assurance services or purchase rigging, you will benefit greatly from our training. You will leave educated, enthused and exhausted.

Our world class, state of the art training facility enables us to provide specialized training sessions. Consider hosting a private, corporate event at our facility.

One of our clients remarked, “What I really like about your training, is that you don’t just teach about slings and rigging, you provide my people with a safety mentality for life”.

You have my personal guarantee that our training will be the best you have ever experienced. If together, we prevent just one accident, then we have accomplished our objective.
Michael J. Gelskey, Sr. CEO and Founder

Please visit for a list of all of our training events.

The Lift-it family mourns the loss of Edna May Quintero
(0) The Lift-it family mourns the loss of Edna May Quintero

The Lift-it family mourns the loss of Edna May Quintero.

Edna was born July 5, 1927 in East Los Angeles, CA and married the love of her life, Peter Quintero during the tumultuous years of WWII. During the following years they were blest with three children: Robert, Michael and Yolanda.

Edna was one of the four original, Lift-It employees with a 39 year career in the synthetic sling fabrication.  Michael J. Gelskey, Sr., CEO and Founder remarked, “Edna was an invaluable part of our company for her entire career and was our first retiree.

She led by example and always challenged us to be the best version of who we could be. We were blest by her years of mentoring and by her kind and loving ways, which truly were the heart and soul of our organization.”

Michael J. Gelskey, Jr., Vice-president and General Manager, Lift-it Mfg. Company, Inc., stated, ”Edna was truly inspirational to the many adopted “sons” and “daughters” she took under her wings. Her conscientiousness and zest for life were incredible and heaven will never be the same!”

Edna was predeceased by her husband, Peter and by her co-workers: David Barthule and Wolfgang Keil. She is survived by her three children, who lost a mother and their best friend.

4 Benefits of Drum Handling Slings & Risks when handling drums
(0) 4 Benefits of Drum Handling Slings & Risks when handling drums

Four Benefits of drum handling slings:

1) Better load control via positive drum engagement

2) Less damage to drums and/or contents

3) Ability to keep drums to a minimum height during transport

4) The ease of efficient drum handling.

Four Risks when handling drums:

1) Non-positive drum engagement:

Placing drums on top of forklift tongs or “grappling”  drums under the rim does

not provide for positive engagement and/or control of the drum.

2) Handling partially filled drums:

Fluid can “slosh” back and forth resulting in dynamic loading and loss of load


3)  Handling damaged drums:

Damaged drums do not allow a firm grip between the drum sling tightening band

and the drum surface.

4) Transportation of drums:

Uneven surfaces may cause drums transported by equipment to become unstable

during transport.

For more educational video content on drum handling slings please watch our video at