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Davit Arm

By: Tabitha Mishra
| Last updated: June 14, 2021

What Does Davit Arm Mean?

A davit arm is a fall protection suspension system used by workers to complete tasks in confined spaces such as manholes, tanks, vaults, and silos. It is also used in rescue operations, raising and lowering loads for construction projects, and lifting and lowering lifeboats and ships. has many other applications as well, including rescue operations, raising and lowering loads in construction projects, lifting and lowering lifeboats in ships, and other applications.

Safeopedia Explains Davit Arm

The davit arm is a mechanical device made of steel or wood with a movable arm attached to a support pillar. The movable arm is connected to a winch or tackle that lifts and lowers the loads. Davit arms can be set up temporarily (mounted to a portable based and used for lighter applications) or permanently (mounted securely to a fixed base and used for heavy-duty applications).

Davit arms are an integral part of any plan meeting the requirements of Occupational Safety and Health Association (OSHA) Regulation 1910.146 (Permit Required Confined Spaces).

Various Applications of Davit Arms

  • Marine: Lifting and lowering of lifeboats and anchors from the ship, raising boats from the water, loading and unloading cargo
  • Construction: Raising and lowering scaffolding platforms, moving construction material
  • Rescue operations: Rescuing trapped persons from tanks, wells, trenches, manholes, and other confined spaces
  • Routine work: Suspend personnel working at heights or in confined spaces for repair and maintenance work

Maintenance of a Davit Arm

Davit arms have specialized and critical functions, and are therefore required to work correctly at all times. Therefore, they should be carefully inspected before and after each use. An improperly functioning davit arm can cause injury to the worker, injury to personnel working below, and damage to property.

Davit arms should never be overloaded, as this can lead to failure and, subsequently, injuries, fatalities, and financial damages. Some of the ways a failed davit arm can cause losses include:

  • Material dropped from a davit arm causing damage to the structure underneath it
  • Damage to the material dropped from the davit arm
  • Maintenance operations on a failed davit system can incur expenses in terms of lost project time
  • Workers supported by the davit system can be severely injured if the system fails
  • A platform supported on failed davit arms can injure personnel beneath it and damage property
A davit arm is a highly convenient, versatile, and cost-effective way to perform jobs and carry out rescue operations in confined or hard-to-reach places. However, they should be thoroughly checked for any wear and tear that could lead to failure.
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Safety EquipmentFall ProtectionConfined SpaceEmergency Response

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