Improper rigging, rigging failure and shifting loads can be a contributing cause to struck-by and caught-between injuries (part of OSHA’s Focus Four). To prevent rigging and lifting-related injuries; below are OSHA standards and safe work practices associated with rigging for material handling detailed in 1926 Subpart H: Materials Handling, Storage, Use, and Disposal: 1926.251.


  • A designated competent person must inspect a sling and all its fastenings and attachments for damage or defects each day before you use it.
  • Inspect rigging equipment before each shift and as necessary while you’re using it to ensure it’s safe.
  • Record each inspection.
  • Remove damaged or defective rigging equipment (web slings, alloy steel chains, wire rope) from service.
  • Don’t shorten slings with knots or bolts or other makeshift devices.
  • Don’t place your hands or fingers between the sling and its load while you’re tightening the sling.
  • When the load is resting on a sling, don’t pull the sling from under it.
  • Always connect two slings with a shackle; never tie two or more web slings together.
  • Never attach a sling directly to a lifting lug.
  • Do not use a shackle-to-shackle connection.
  • Don’t stand, walk or work under suspended loads.
  • Don’t place your hands on a suspended load to control it. Use a tagline.
  • Inspect the area for overhead utilities, trees and other overhead safety hazards.
  • Store rigging equipment so that it won’t be damaged by environmental or other conditions.


  • Rigging must have permanent, legible identification markings.
  • Don’t use rigging without permanent, legible identification markings.
  • Don’t load rigging beyond its recommended safe working load.

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According to OSHA, of the 4,779 worker fatalities in private industry in calendar year 2018, 1,008 or 21.1% were in construction — that is, one in five worker deaths were in construction. The leading causes of private sector worker deaths in the construction industry were falls, followed by struck by object, electrocution and caught-in/between. These “Fatal Four” were responsible for more than half (58.6%) the construction worker deaths in 2018.

Fall fatalities – 33.5%
Struck-by object fatalities – 11.1%
Electrocution fatalities – 8.5%
Caught-in/between fatalities – 5.5%


  • Correctly install and use personal fall arrest equipment.
  • Install and maintain guard rails and perimeter protection.
  • Cover and secure floor openings and label floor opening covers.
  • Inspect and use ladders and scaffolds correctly.


  • Do not place yourself between moving equipment and fixed objects.
  • Wear and maintain high-visibility clothes.
  • Use tag lines when moving suspended loads.
  • Inspect and use powered equipment correctly.
  • Use proper rigging techniques.


  • Properly slope or implement trench protection for excavations five feet or deeper.
  • Ensure guards are in place and in good condition on powered tools and equipment.


  • Locate and identify utilities before starting work.
  • Look for overhead power lines when operating any equipment.
  • Maintain minimum approach distance from power lines.
  • Use GFCI on all portable electric tools.
  • Be alert to electrical hazards when working with ladders, scaffolds or other platforms.

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Struck-by injuries are produced by forceful contact or impact between the injured person and an object or piece of equipment. In comparison, a caught-in or between incident occurs when an injury is a result of the crushing force between two objects. For example, if a person’s hand is pulled into a conveyor and suffers an injury due to being pulled in and caught between the rollers.

Sources of struck-by accidents include:

  • Equipment or vehicles moving in the work zone.
  • Falling tools, equipment or materials.
  • Operating tools or equipment.
  • Moving or lifting unsecured loads.

Vehicle and equipment traffic operating within the project including dump trucks, paving equipment, rollers, and other heavy equipment create a struck-by hazard for contractors working within the project. The equipment’s large size and height creates blind spots for the operator that can extend greater than 10 feet outside the perimeter of the vehicle or equipment.

Important safety measures include:

  • Don’t walk in front, along the side or behind vehicles or equipment when they are moving.
  • Maintain a three-foot perimeter around all equipment. Equipment could move suddenly.
  • Don’t allow work activity to overlap. No work activity should take place within the swing radius of excavation equipment.
  • When one piece of equipment is lifting or putting materials or tools in place, do not place your hands on, or manually guide, the load. Use a tag line.
  • Secure tools, equipment and material to prevent them from falling from heights.
  • Inspect saws, grinders and other tools before use to make sure the guards are in place, the blades aren’t chipped or cracked and are in overall good condition.
  • When you are using saws, grinders and other powered hand tools, always wear safety glasses and a face shield.
  • Coordinate work activity to minimize the possibility for people to be near overhead work activity or moving equipment.

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Members can download the audio version of this toolbox talk here.