Recent Blog Posts

Hoist Operators…should I hire one from McDonough or provide my own?

We are often asked if any job site laborer can be trained to operate the hoist and assume all the responsibilities related to the hoist operation.  The short answer is yes, but the more intriguing answer may very well be no and here is why.  Yes, we provide on-site operator training and we routinely train people of varying skill levels to operate our hoists.  This can be done with relative success depending upon the operator’s abilities and job site conditions.  Simply training someone to handle the physical and mental rigors of operating the hoist is only the beginning.  The question you should be asking yourself is what are the responsibilities you take on when you are the one employing the operator.

As a part of McDonough’s training, the operators are schooled on the importance of following a daily checklist of activities which include a myriad of functions related to the safe operation of the hoist.  Some of the items included on the checklist require the operator to check all the safety limit switches, proper car door operation, door locking mechanisms, level landing accuracy, evaluating the ride quality, carry capacity overloading conditions, unsafe loading conditions, proper landing door operation, and many other.   Although McDonough offers refresher training visits for the operators, it is still solely the operator’s responsibility and their employer’s responsibility to ensure safe operation of the hoist and adherence to proper daily maintenance records requirements as outlined in the National Hoist Code ANSI A10.4.  Failure to follow the daily checklist routines and maintain accurate job site records indicating the daily maintenance is being done can and often results in heavy penalties for the hoist operator employer (that’s you the contractor!!)

When you hire McDonough to provide the operator, you need not worry about who is responsible for keeping proper daily maintenance records and if the hoist is operating safely and efficiently.  McDonough’s operators are covered under our insurance policy and NOT yours.  This eliminates the risk and liability which could otherwise place your company’s insurance and reputation at risk.  In some documented cases, lack of operator supervision and negligent acts on behalf of the operator has caused serious injury and even death.  When this is brought to light, the responsible parties are made to bear the responsibility of their willful actions.  Why take that risk when someone else, who is a qualified expert, is willing to do so?  Eliminate the headaches and potential litigation by hiring McDonough to operator your job site personnel and material hoist.

If you would like to learn more about hoist operators for your job site, please give us a call.

Benefits of Rental Hoist

More plant safety departments, turnaround managers, and general contractors are requesting temporary personnel/material hoists for use during outages and turnarounds on the taller structures in the plants. Common structures that utilize temporary personnel/material hoists include FCC units, crude and vacuum towers, coker units, furnaces, and boilers just to name a few. Customers have come to realize the benefits of using temporary hoists namely the increase in worker safety and productivity. Safety becomes increasingly important as projects near completion. Depending upon the work schedule, workers can experience end-of-project fatigue. Slips, trips, and falls on stairs/ladders are very common incidents.

For those craft workers performing in more challenging locations, possibly working at great heights, extra vigilance is required. Climbing and descending stairs and cage ladders is very physical. Workers often have heavy tools and material to transport. By providing them with a means of arriving at the work front safely and quickly, overall schedule compliance is enhanced.

Another bonus of installing a temporary hoist is that inspections are easier to perform, thus keeping the overall project on schedule, saving time and money. Furthermore, an emergency rescue of workers at the top of the structure becomes easier to coordinate and execute quickly, thus potentially saving lives.

If any of these challenges sound familiar and you would like to discuss how to make sure your workers are productive and safe during your next project, please contact McDonough Elevators.


Studies conducted in recent years have shown that an increasing number of accidents on the road have occurred due to distracted driving. Recently, McDonough adopted a new policy on accepting mobile phone calls while driving. Briefly, the policy states that drivers cannot place a hands free or hand-held call while driving and can only accept a hands free phone call of two minutes duration for personal emergency or critical travel reassignment. Our drivers must safely pull off the road and park for making or accepting longer phone calls. Company policy also bans texting and the use of other electronic devices while driving.

Why has McDonough adopted this new policy? Most importantly for the safety of our drivers and others around them. Research into the effects of driving distractions has repeatedly shown drivers talking on handheld or hands-free devices can fail to see 50% of their surroundings. While more than 50% of drivers believe hands-free is safer, the fact is you remain distracted. Vehicle crashes are the No. 1 cause of work-related death. Distracted driving fatalities outpaced every other kind of crash in the latest NHTSA data. Drivers are four times more likely to crash, commit driving errors, and violate traffic laws. They also have slower reaction times like alcohol impaired drivers. There are so many reasons not to, but none more important than your and your family’s safety.


The View from Up Here

We really admire our crews and others who day after day climb and work far above our heads either installing, dismantling or maintaining rack and pinion elevators. Our elevators are workhorses, employed at an incredible variety of construction, mining, and industrial sites across the country. They safely ferry thousands of pounds of materials and people every day. McDonough’s inspection, maintenance, and testing services keep these elevators and hoists dependably serving; but everything begins and ends with our crews working safely high above the ground.

McDonough crews entrust their safety to the right training, equipment, and safe work procedures that we have developed and refined over many decades. They also trust one another and their leaders to look out for hazards and control risks. Every crew member is outfitted with the finest fall protection equipment money can buy; every approved anchor point to safely tie-off is known; every time to do so is documented. We know how to work safely with others and never compromise on safety. There is a shared confidence in knowing that work can be stopped if there is a doubt about safety.

Because of what we do, we value the safety of our workers and passengers above everything else.

Replacement Safety Devices

When it is time to replace the safety device on your rack & pinion elevator, you may want to explore your purchase options.  New OEM, Recertified OEM, and STROS are all viable, code compliant options offering a wide range in pricing.

OEM Replacements

Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) parts are made by the elevator manufacturer.   Typically new OEM replacement safety devices will have the highest price tag.  Cores from the expired safety device must be returned to the supplier.

Recertified OEM

There are a number of third party companies that have designed engineered solutions for rebuilding and recertifying used safety devices.  The recertified safety device is code compliant and is typically more cost effective than new OEM safeties.  Cores from the expired safety device must be returned to the supplier.


STROS is an OEM rack & pinion elevator manufacturer with over 50 years of experience.  STROS has designed safety devices that are compatible with most brands of rack & pinion elevators and are code compliant.  STROS safety devices typically are lower priced than other OEMs.  Cores from the expired safety device must be returned to the supplier.

McDonough Elevators offers OEM, Recertified, and STROS safety devices.  No matter which solution fits your needs, McDonough has vetted the vendor to insure that the parts are of high quality and will offer safe, reliable, and code compliant service in your elevator. Let us help you determine the best option to fit your needs and budget.  You have more than one choice when it comes to replacing your expired safety device!

McDonough sells and installs replacement safety devices and performs code compliant full load drop tests.

OEM versus Aftermarket – Spare Parts for Elevators

If you are having your rack and pinion elevator maintained by the original manufacturer, chances are you will receive Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) parts. Just like in other industries (automobile, appliances and others), aftermarket parts exist for elevators.  Is there anything wrong with aftermarket parts? Does a less expensive part mean a poorer quality part? And in what situations should you use only OEM parts?

To answer these questions, we’ve created a list of pros and cons to help you make a more informed decision when choosing parts for your rack and pinion elevator. In this way, you can determine your best strategy to balance cost effectiveness with the function and reliability of your elevator.

Aftermarket Parts

An aftermarket part is any part for an elevator that is not sourced from the elevator manufacturer. A number of companies make parts designed to function the same, or in some cases even better than the original.  Additionally some manufacturers use outside suppliers’ parts in the original manufacturing process and they are labeled as such.


  • Less expensive:Aftermarket parts are usually less expensive than OEM parts; how much you save varies by brand. At McDonough Elevators, we shop around to find the best price and we can give you an idea of how much that part usually costs. If the price of a part seems too good to be true, we ask detailed questions about its quality.
  • Quality can be equal to or greater than OEM:In some cases, you may end up with a better part than the original.  Also, in many cases, there are only aftermarket parts available. It is typical for the aftermarket companies to reverse-engineer parts to correct some of the original issues.
  • More variety:There are many companies that make aftermarket parts. Some specialize in specific parts, and other companies make almost any part you can think of. More variety means greater selection and a wider range of prices.
  • Better availability:Using aftermarket parts means that you have better availability.  This is important if you are in a remote location.


  • Quality varies greatly: Some aftermarket parts can be inferior because of the use of lower-quality materials. Stick with aftermarket brands you’re familiar with or are recommended by an elevator service company that you trust, even if these parts cost a bit more.
  • May not have a warranty:To keep costs down, some aftermarket parts do not have a warranty.

OEM Parts

OEM parts are made by the elevator’s manufacturer. These match the parts that came with your elevator when it was installed.


  • Easier to choose your part:There is usually a part number and only one type that will work. You don’t have to worry about assessing the quality of different brands and prices.
  • Greater assurance of quality:The OEM part should work exactly as the one you are replacing. It is the part that was manufactured for the elevator and provides a peace of mind in its familiarity and performance.
  • Comes with a warranty:Most elevator companies back up their OEM parts with a warranty.


  • More expensive:OEM parts will usually cost more than an aftermarket part, as much as 60% more.
  • Need to be bought from the manufacturer: This limits the number of places from where you can buy. You can request OEM parts from your local service provider, but it may take longer to get your elevator repaired since the parts must be ordered and sometimes, manufactured.
  • Quality may not be superior:You paid the extra money for an OEM part, hoping that it was vastly better than an aftermarket part. Perhaps the original manufacturer has even said that you must use OEM parts or you are in violation of U.S. code requirements.  However, most buyers know that is a scare tactic and not an accurate statement.  Many aftermarket parts are equal to or better than OEM parts. So you might be paying extra for no valid reason.

Which Is the Best Way To Go?

This is a matter of reliability and value for money.  Whether you choose to use only OEM or prefer the flexibility of aftermarket parts, McDonough Elevators can help guide you to a decision that is best for your business.  And, as always, if the part is purchased through McDonough we stand behind it 100% regardless of whether it is OEM or aftermarket. Put our experience to work for you in providing the best in both cost effectiveness as well as peace of mind knowing that you have the best part for the job.

Eliminate Reactive Maintenance to Increase Elevator Longevity

Maintenance can be the largest controllable operating cost for our customers.  It is a critical business function that impacts not only plant operations, but also safety and environmental performance.  For McDonough Elevators, we believe proper maintenance of an elevator is important for worker productivity, safety and longevity of the equipment.  When properly maintained an elevator can have a lifecycle of up to 30 years.

Run to Failure Maintenance vs Preventative Maintenance

Our customers generally take one of two approaches.  The first approach is letting elevator maintenance be reactive, or “run to failure”.  RTF is when an organization chooses to wait until an elevator breaks down before servicing it. At the time of failure, the elevator is repaired and put back in service only to wait until the next failure. This method can be extremely expensive and greatly reduces the reliability and life expectancy of the equipment. On the other hand, many customers use a predictive and preventative approach, where maintenance on the elevator is preplanned and performed at regular intervals (typically monthly or quarterly).

Dangers of Reactive (Breakdown) Maintenance

We view regularly scheduled maintenance as the key to getting the most years out of your elevator.  It is more effective if an elevator is properly maintained from the beginning of its lifecycle.  We have been called in to help customers where an elevator has been neglected for many years.  For these elevators it is more costly and challenging to bring them back to a level of reliability due to years of abuse.  In some cases, they are beyond an easy repair.  They require a major upgrade or need to be completely replaced.

Preventative Maintenance Programs

McDonough Elevators offers preventative maintenance programs based around the simple concept of keeping your elevator both safe and reliable to operate. The company’s programs provide data to help anticipate component failure and aid in planning the needed repair.  Parts and repairs can be budgeted and become more cost effective.

Planned Elevator Maintenance

McDonough provides preventative maintenance plans for all brands of rack and pinion elevators. The company is committed to ensuring the elevators under its maintenance plans are well maintained to prevent downtimes. The process is designed to be transparent, allowing McDonough’s customers to know the current and historical condition of their elevators at all times. Together, we can create the optimal plan for maintaining your elevators.

For more information, call (866) 497-3654.

Built To Outlast Them All

We like to brag about the strength and durability of our elevators. McDonough Elevators are built to perform in extreme, intense working conditions. What makes them strong enough to stand up to the harshest of environments? The thickness of our car walls and the bracing of our frames support all reaction loads so the frame and car do not twist or deform over time. Our steel support members are rolled to ensure rigidity. All components are manufactured in Europe or the United State to the toughest of standards. An elevator is a heavy duty piece of equipment and we believe it should be built to last longer than a lawn mower.

Do you know where your elevator was manufactured?

Many times we have been requested to provide the Country of Origin for our elevators. As the term was originally conceived, Country of Origin was supposed to be a single location which encapsulated the brand’s origin, the place of design, and the place of production. Globalization has challenged this concept, resulting in a growing differentiation between the Country of Origin of the brand, the place of design, and the place of production, which potentially creates more confusion.

When a product is wholly obtained and produced in a single country, it is relatively easy to determine its origin. Difficulties arise in determining origin for goods manufactured in, assembled in, or using materials originating in, more than one country.  McDonough Elevators is a proud partner of the Czech Republic rack and pinion elevator manufacturer, STROS. All of the components used in manufacturing a STROS elevator originate from European countries or the United States only. We find the easiest way to describe the origin of the equipment we sell is to list the components and countries from which they originate. For example, Brakes – France; Electrical Components – Germany; Steel – Italy. All STROS elevators are assembled in the Czech Republic. By providing this information, we feel we are completely transparent concerning the Country of Origin and the quality of the equipment we sell.

We believe full transparency is best because we consider safety as one of the primary factors associated with sourcing elevators. A key aspect of the safety of an elevator lies in the material used to create the components. For example, many of our customers will not accept steel sourced from certain countries. This is because some countries are known for producing inferior products, as diverse as steel, hot-rolled coil (used for grating), sulfurous drywall, and more. Stros and McDonough Elevators take these safety concerns seriously and prove it by providing our sourcing policies.

Therefore, if you would like to know more about our elevators and components, please let us know. We are happy to share our Country of Origin.

Replacement Elevator Parts Available for Immediate Shipment

McDonough Elevators has recently launched a new e-commerce quote cart to better service our clients’ immediate needs for spare elevator parts.

In order to meet the demand for replacement elevator parts, we have stock of key rack and pinion elevator, construction hoist, and industrial hoist rollers/bearings, overspeed safety devices, electrical equipment, brake parts, and mechanical parts for immediate shipment to ensure minimum equipment downtime.

We have spare parts for all major elevator manufacturers including:

  • Stros
  • PEGA
  • Alimak

Additionally, if you don’t see your needed parts shown in our online database, we can stock inventory on your behalf that you can request on an “as-needed” basis. If this is the case, contact us today!