MGF Counterbalance Davit System / Rescue Winch
System User Manual

MGF Counterbalance Davit System Rescue Winch System User Guide


  • For the use of MGF supplied equipment only.
  • This user guide should be read in conjunction with all relevant MGF User Guides.
  • Ensure potential users are confined spaces trained, familiar with the operation of this equipment and that a site specific safe system of work is in place and adhered to.
  • Users should comply with the Confined Spaces Regulations 1997 and HSE ACOP L101 (2009) and the Work at Height Regulations 2005 and (Amendment) 2007 where applicable.
  • It is essential site specific risk assessments are undertaken.
  • If in doubt concerning the integrity of any part of the equipment DO NOT USE IT.
  • MGF COUNTERBALANCE DAVIT SYSTEM is rated to 135kg SWL under LOLER with the clamping anchorage rated at 1000kg SWL in accordance with BS EN 795 (Class B Anchorage). For more comprehensive instructions please refer to the Shoring Ancillaries Safe System of Work Booklet and Technical Files available at


MGF Counterbalance Davit System is simple, robust, demountable aluminium cantilevered lifting beam designed to support the MGF Fall Arrest and Rescue Recovery Winch. No floor penetration is required and the complete system is modular and can be assembled in minutes providing a safe means of man riding, fall arrest and rescue from height. The davit can be used in conjunction with MGF’s Rescue Stretcher in a personnel recovery emergency situation. You have been provided with:

  • MGF Davit Base with Weights
  • MGF Davit Pillar
  • MGF Davit Arm
  • RidgeGear RGA4 Winch Arrestor (or similar approved) c/w fixing bracket, blue nylon rope or RGR7 man riding winch.


  • A thorough examination to LOLER of the davit and the fall arrest / rescue winch will be carried out at least every 6 months by a competent and trained technician.
  • A valid certificate of test / examination will be provided with your davit and fall arrest / rescue winch.
  • Please return your davit to MGF for a thorough examination at any time should you have any concerns about its condition or if the test certificate is due to run out.


The user must carry out a thorough visual inspection and functional test of the system prior to every use to ensure that it is suitable for its intended purpose. This must include:

  • A visual inspection and functional check of any moving parts such as pulleys, karabiners and securing aids.
  • An inspection of any harness assemblies or stretchers that are to be used in combination with the Counterbalance Davit System for damage following the appropriate MGF user guide.
  • Visually check that the system is installed level, plumb, square and over the intended lift / arrest location.
  • Check that the fall indicator hook on the winch is not showing red, the cable extends / retracts freely, locks when pulled sharply and no damage to the block or cable is evident.
  • Prior to permitting its use, it is strongly recommended that a test load of the installation is carried out by raising an object from the base of the excavation approx. 300mm.


Following an inspection, if there is any doubt on the serviceability of any component part of the system, it must be withdrawn from service immediately and returned / reported to MGF. In the event of a fall arrest incident inform MGF immediately and place the equipment into quarantine.


  • Always install the system from a position of safety.
  • A minimum of two operatives are required to install davits.
  • Ensure in case of an emergency the area is free of obstruction and a stretcher could be laid down flat.
  • Take care in locating the davit so that the fall arrest/rescue line is free to extend / retract without snagging.
  • Find a relatively flat and secure area to lay the counterbalance unit. Once in place adjust the feet so that the davit base sits level. Then add the weights as required.
  • Rotate pillar so arm can be safely installed by hand from a position of safety.
  • Using the mounting bracket on the pillar, install the fall arrest / rescue winch – placing the lip of the winch bracket into the cross bracket and secure into position using the locking pin.
  • If so desired you may allow the rubber ball on the cable to rest in the eyelet of the winch to prevent dirt entering.
  • If the davit base requires repositioning, remove all the weight before movement. Failure to adhere to this could cause damage to the base and potentially affect the structural integrity of the davit system.


It is recommended that users always wear a correctly fitted safety harness when working in conjunction with the MGF Counterbalance Davit System assembly – refer to MGF Harness User Guide.


  • Securely attach hook to the rear or front of harness Dee ring.
  • Release the blue nylon rope that is attached to the safety hook, allowing it to be lowered down into the work area.
  • When safe to do so descend slowly into the work area – the fall arrest / rescue line will automatically pay out as the user descends.
  • It is recommended that during such personnel descents / ascents that a top side safety person wearing a safety harness & secured by a lanyard is employed as a visual safe guard.
  • At the foot of the descent the blue nylon rope should be gripped firmly, two feet from the safety hook connection and release the safety hook from the harness connection.
  • Once this operation is complete safely secure the loose end of the blue nylon rope on a fitting where no harm can be caused.


  • In the ascent mode the arrest line should be pulled down into the working area using the blue nylon rope.
  • Carry out the descent instructions in reverse.
  • During ascent the loose end of the blue nylon rope may be left loosely tied off at the base of the ladder.


  • Should a fall situation occur during ascent or descent the user will be safely arrested and will remain suspended by the system until assistance is given.
  • It is important that the arrested person is quickly rescued to prevent harness suspension injuries occurring.
  • The MGF davit can be used as a personnel recovery system in an emergency situation utilising MGF’s rescue stretcher. Attach hook of fall arrest / rescue line through eye of suspension straps or lifting rope attached to the stretcher.
  • Following a fall arrest situation or to rescue an injured party, engage winch arm by: i) pulling out and holding positioning knob ii) push in winch arm and turn, ensuring that gears mesh iii) release the positioning knob iv) turn handle anticlockwise to lower or clockwise to raise the stretcher/arrested person (whichever is quickest and safest).
  • Recover the line – in reverse. · Face the davit onto a safe area.


  • Once safely located above a safe area, lower the person/ stretcher to ground level using the winch.
  • Always ensure davit operations are carried out from a point of safety and rescuers DO NOT stand on unsupported edges or put themselves at risk from falling in to the excavation.
  • In the event of a fall arrest incident inform MGF and place the equipment into quarantine. The winch arrest hook will indicate that a fall arrest incident has occurred and is NOT to be used until repaired.


Always disassemble the system from a position of safety by following the assembly instructions in reverse.


Failure to adhere to the instructions supplied with the equipment may invalidate any claims with respect to damage, death or injury due to the misuse or malfunctioning of the apparatus.


  • NEVER – Use this system to lift equipment or materials.
  • NEVER – Exceed the safe working load of 135kg or the SWL of equipment used with the davit if this is lower:
  • RS-100 Stretcher – 120kg.
  • NEVER – Attempt any maintenance (if in doubt contact MGF).
  • NEVER – Lift the davit base with the weights in place
  • ALWAYS – Ensure adequate edge protection / safety measures are in place for operatives working around the davit.

MGF Counterbalance Davit System Rescue Winch System User Guide - Thank You Page
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