Rigging Safety

Originally published 03/15/2017

Construction workers may think rigging looks like an easy operation, but, don’t be fooled. Many people who’ve thought that “anyone can do it” have lost fingers or hands, or caused much more serious injuries. Below are guidelines for safe rigging practices.

  • All rigging and lifting operations should be supervised by a qualified operator (a person having training and knowledge to be capable of identifying existing and potential hazards associated with hoisting and rigging activities, and having the authority to stop the work).
  • Your rigging is only as good as the clamps holding it together. All job-fabricated rigging must be designed and certified by a qualified engineer, and field tested at 125 percent of the rated safe working load.
  • In any kind of lift, only rigging that uses forged clamps should be used. Malleable clamps can fail and should not be used.
  • Each day before use, the sling and all fastenings and attachments shall be inspected for damage or defects by a competent person designated by the employer. Additional inspections shall be performed during sling use when warranted by service conditions.
  • Daily inspections must be recorded in a logbook and kept for reference. There are no excuses for equipment failure from rigging that should have been recognized as defective or worn. Any and all defective or worn rigging must be immediately removed from service.
  • Observe OSHA guidelines for use of cable clamps, safety latches, chains and slings.
  • Know the rated capacity of the cable, chain or wire rope being used.
  • Avoid overloading and sudden jerks.
  • Wear appropriate personal protection equipment consistent with the hazard, including hard hats, safety glasses and work gloves.
  • Check loads and inspect rigging to ensure a safe and balanced condition.
  • Do not stand, walk or work under suspended loads.
  • Awkward loads should have taglines attached to control the load.
  • Review signals and operator communications. Only one person should direct the operator. The signal person must not order a move until getting an “all ready” from each crew member.
  • Review the area for utility lines, tree limbs and other overhead safety hazards.
  • The qualified operator should determine when a spotter is required.
  • Personnel working taglines should review the area for slipping, tripping and falling hazards. If it isn’t possible to eliminate them, then take precautions to avoid them.
  • The role of the crane operator is one that must be understood by everyone on the job site. The crane operator is the ultimate authority on all lift decisions and must be a qualified, designated individual trained to operate these delicate pieces of equipment.
  • The cranes themselves must be inspected, although the frequency is based on the manufacturer’s requirements.

Download the recording form here.

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