Since 2001, Bailes has advised the industry on the best way to choose, inspect, use and maintain hoists, cranes and rigging equipment. His entire series is archived at

Derrick Bailes

Derrick Bailes

After more than six years of insightful, thought-provoking articles, he will speak to me about the association’s unique relationship with the publication, the state of the market, and looks forward to the next 50 columns, an interview to be published alongside his milestone contribution to the publication, which itself will see out the calendar year with its 67th issue, my 16th at the helm.

In his first column, entitled ‘planning for a safer lift,’ published in the October/November 2001 issue (Hoist 18), Bailes highlighted the importance of rigorous planning before starting lifting operations.

Studying accident reports that cover lifting operations can be a sobering experience, he said. While accidents during lifting procedures are probably no more frequent than in other areas of industrial activity, the human cost of mistakes soon becomes clear, not to mention the financial and legal implications.

Bailes has since discussed almost every element of lifting in the factory environment, including slings, chains, shackles, eyebolts and hooks, in addition to the lifting machines themselves. He has covered testing, termination, sling geometry, packing and instructions, always with an expert knowledge that is hard to match anywhere in the business.

As he says, “those of us who have been involved in the lifting equipment industry for many years often forget that, to the newcomer, the variety of equipment on the market can be bewildering and even somewhat intimidating. The huge array of products does, of course, offer the prospect of finding a close match for virtually any lifting application. At the same time, the chances of getting things wrong are also increased.”

This is what makes his end user-focused columns so valuable to the lifting business.

There are plenty of reputable suppliers willing and able to offer practical help, but as with any industry there is always a danger of them failing to explain the basics, particularly to someone buying lifting equipment for the first time. To address this, Bailes has provided straightforward advice on the various types of equipment available to aid the newcomer in selecting the right equipment for a particular application.

Put simply, nobody else could have done this in quite the same way.

Richard Howes