Rigging Safety

Originally published 11/04/2015

Failure to properly secure static loads for transport causes injury to people and damage to property. When securing a load against unwanted movement during hauling, employees should use the same rigging techniques for tie-down as for lifting. The consequences of rigging failure during transport can be just as disastrous as dropping a load during a high crane lift.

The quality of the rigging equipment is important. Rigging materials such as chains, straps, hooks, eye bolts and clamps are not required to meet the same standards as similar gear used for lifting. However, when using come-alongs, strap winches and other tightening devices, the strain on rigging materials can begin to approximate lift strain. When the strain on equipment caused by tightening is combined with the strain of a truck when turning quickly, climbing a steep grade or making sudden stops, the strain on equipment can equal that of lifting, and cause rigging to fail.

Most chains used for hold-in-place rigging are grade 70. While these chains are very strong, they do not meet OSHA standards and are not safe for overhead lifting. Chains that are rated for lifting are typically SGG grade 100 chains. It stands to reason that a 70-grade chain is more susceptible to wear and tear than a heavier grade chain.

To ensure safety, inspect all tie-down equipment before use as follows:

  • Test chain links for stretch and breakage.
  • Inspect hooks for deflection at the throat and twist.
  • Inspect eye bolts and other terminating attachment points for wear and deflection.
  • Test tie-down points on the truck or load surface for wear and damage.

The same procedure should be used for straps and other tie-down equipment. If the equipment shows extreme wear, don’t use it.

Additional tips for load management include:

  • Place lighter items at the bottom of the load so that heavier items can help hold them down.
  • Block items against each other, or bundle them together, to minimize shifting and movement.
  • Lay tall items flat in the truck bed or trailer, when possible.
  • Block the wheels of equipment to prevent rolling. Wrap straps around and through wheeled equipment to further secure it.
  • Cover items with a solid, waterproof tarp to prevent damage from rain and airborne debris.
  • Tag all load corners with red flags if the load extends four feet beyond the bed of the truck or trailer.

Well-secured loads provide safety for your employees as well as the motoring public.

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