Weekly Safety Meeting – Rigging Safety Practices

Rigging safety is a critical part of work Rigging is used to lift heavy materials to heights with cranes and other devices. Riggers also act as signalmen. Improper rigging of a load or a rigging failure can expose riggers and other workers nearby to a variety of potential hazards.

Over the years, workers have been seriously injured or killed while working with or near rigging operations. Employees whose work activities include rigging must be trained in the recognition and avoidance of unsafe conditions.

Annually about 50 riggers are killed when loads have slipped from the rigging or when the rigging has failed. To protect workers against accident, OSHA has a series of strict rigging requirements. These requirements call for maintaining rigging equipment, properly training employees, and more.

General Information:

  • Rigging equipment for material handling shall be inspected prior to use on each shift and as necessary during its use to ensure that it is safe.
  • Rigging equipment shall not be loaded in excess of its recommended safe working load. Do not shock-load any rigging.
  • Rigging equipment, when not in use, shall be removed from the immediate work area so as not to present a hazard to employees.


Inspections of slings and related rigging hardware are to be done before each use. Any sling that is found unfit for use shall be “red tagged” and removed from service.

Some of the things to look for when inspection slings:

  • Missing or illegible sling identification;
  • Melting or charring on any part of the sling;
  • Holes, tears, cuts, snags, or elongation of the sling;
  • Broken or worn stitching in load-bearing splices;
  • Excessive abrasive wear;
  • Knots in any part of the sling;
  • Excessive pitting or corrosion, or cracked, distorted, or broken fittings;
  • Distortion of chain links;
  • Visible indications that cause doubt as to the strength of the sling, such as loss of color that may indicate the potential for ultraviolet light damage; and
  • Distortion, kinking, bird caging, or other evidence of damage to the wire rope structure.
    • Wire rope shall not be used if, in any length of eight diameters, the total number of visible broken wires exceeds 10 percent of the total number of wires.

The Lift:

During the lift, avoid shock loading by taking up the slack in the sling slowly. Apply power cautiously so as to prevent jerking at the beginning of the lift and accelerate or decelerate slowly. Use taglines that are long enough to control the load, but that still keep people out of the swing of the load. When using a sling there are several key points to keep in mind:

  • Is the sling free of kinks or any other damage?
  • Is the sling rated for the lift?
  • Is the load balanced to prevent slipping?
  • Is the sling securely attached to the load?
  • Are the sling and the load protected from damage during the lift?
  • Is there a clear path for the movement of the load?
  • Are employees and other persons kept clear of the “danger zone” during the lift?


There are good practices to follow to protect yourself while using slings to move materials. First, learn as much as you can about the materials with which you will be working. Slings come in many different types, one of which is right for your purpose. Second, analyze the load to be moved – in terms of size, weight, shape, temperature, and sensitivity – then choose the sling which best meets those needs. Third, always inspect all the equipment before and after a move. Fourth, use safe lifting practices. Use the proper lifting technique for the type of sling and the type of load.




Download flyer: SMOTW_608_Rigging Safety Practices

Download Spanish flyer: SMOTW_608_Rigging Safety Practices_esp

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