Davit Arm System Guide

Featured photo of construction worker on site assembling Pelsue Davit System

Worker safety is paramount when it comes to employing fall protection and confined space entry or rescue equipment on a job site.

The davit arm system is a trusted mechanical device specifically engineered to protect workers in the field.

Part of an overall davit fall protection system, which typically consists of a davit arm, elbow, post, and base, the davit arm makes workers feel safe and secure whether working at heights or within a confined space, enabling them to stay focused to get the job done right.

Pelsue understands workers need fall protection equipment they can rely on. An industry leading designer and manufacturer of davit arm systems and confined space protection, Pelsue has remained committed to its goal of enabling safer work environments for nearly 60 years.

In 2020, 351 out of 1,008 total deaths in construction alone were from falls, slips, or trips, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistic. 

Pie chart showing six different construction-related death categories

Nearly 60% of fatalities surrounding confined space tragedies have involved would-be rescuers.

The consensus is that most of these deaths may have been prevented had appropriate fall protection systems been in place.

Understanding how a davit arm system functions is important information for workers who may need to utilize fall protection equipment for any number of reasons. We’re going to discuss what a davit arm is, its basic applications, and how it works.

What is a davit arm system?

Built from structural aluminum and steel, a davit arm is a crane-like fall protection suspension system used to safely lower and raise workers and/or equipment from heights or in confined spaces, as well as serving as a critical tool for confined space rescue. 

The Pelsue Davit System labeled with the three essestial parts

Davit arms can be temporary or permanent depending on the work site and job needs.

Why is a davit arm system essential to fall protection?

The davit arm is engineered to provide an offset overhead point for the mounting of a personnel lifting, lowering, or retrieval device and/or a personal fall arrest system.

Davit arms are an integral part of temporary or permanent davit systems typically used as part of fall protection and rescue and retrieval from confined spaces such as manholes, septic and holding tanks, utility vaults, vats, silos, pumping/lift stations, pipelines, pits, and sewage distribution, among others.

They are a required consideration for employers when developing a written program that complies with either OSHA 1910.146(c)(4) for general industry or 1926.1203(d) for construction.

It’s imperative that davit arms systems be maintained for optimal use and to avoid malfunction leading to worker injury or property damage. Part of this requires careful inspection before and after each use. Failure to do so can result in worker injury or fatality as well as financial damage due to lost project time and property damage.

Resources: OSHA requirements for davit in different situations can be found here. 

Considerations when choosing the right davit arm system for your project

Whether your project involves working at heights or being lowered into an enclosed space, there’s no debate—using a fall protection system is critical to keeping your crew safe.

And while the aim is to be proactive in preventing accidents from happening, employers also must consider a quick response in an emergency. It’s worth noting that every second counts, especially in the event of a fall or confined space rescue. That said, typical applications for using a davit arm system may include construction, rescue and retrieval, marine, and rooftop.

Based on your specific project requirements as well as your workspace, you will need to determine what type of davit system will work best. Pelsue offers two different kinds of bases to provide ultimate performance and protection under different conditions. 

Portable Base Davit System The Pelsue portable, expandable base comes with built in jacks and a bullseye level to make sure the unit sits evenly. Typically used for temporary projects because of its ability to be easily set up, dismantled, and moved to different locations, you should also factor in specific project needs including frequency and weight considerations.

Permanent Base Davit System For more complex jobs that require you to establish a davit in one location, the permanent base can either be vaulted to the floor, wall or set in fresh or existing concrete providing you with a ready-to-use davit arm system.

Another option is the Vehicle Hitch Mount System which can be used as the base of your Pelsue Portable Base Davit system and can be set up in just seconds.

The davit arm is typically secured to the portable base or permanent base davit system via an elbow to a davit system support post. 

How Do I Attach a Davit Arm?

Whether you determine portable or permanent base to suit your needs, the davit arm is easy to attach. 

  • Once the davit system base (portable or permanent) has been set up and the center post inserted into the sleeve, just attach the offset arm to the elbow, securing the elbow to the center post using pins*.  

Need a longer offset? Simply reverse the direction of the elbow for an additional six inches of reach.

  • The Pelsue davit system comes with a mounting bracket on the back of the center post where you can attach a hoist system. There is a second bracket that can be added so the davit system can be used for both fall protection and rescue and retrieval. 

How? Simply slide the end of the hoist bracket over the bar, line up the pin holes, pin the hoist securely in place, let out slack in the line to feed over the roller, and pull the line over the davit arm.

To ensure worker safety, the davit arm system base should be assembled away from the manhole or confined space to avoid injury. 

*Note: All parts of the davit system (arm, elbow, post, and base) are secured using pins.

See how to set up the Pelsue Davit System in this helpful video. 

A davit arm system for peace of mind and industry compliance

A davit arm system will help to prevent accidents, keep workers safe, and serve as part of your fall protection arrest and rescue unit should an unfortunate accident occur.

Versatile in nature (portable or permanent) for all types of situations, davit arms provide you with the peace of mind of knowing workers are performing their jobs safely while meeting industry standards and requirements.  

Have a question you'd like answered? Please call us at 800-525-8460 or