Weekly Safety Meeting – Rigging Safety

Rigging Safety

Rigging looks like an easy operation, one that doesn’t seem to require any particular skill or experience. But don’t be fooled. Many people who’ve thought that “anyone can do it” have lost fingers or hands or suffered more serious injuries. We don’t want anyone injured while rigging on this job. So I’m going to point out some of the “do’s and don’ts.” Pay close attention.

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.

Lifting or applying loads in any direction is incredibly dangerous work. Failure of any component or link in the chain can result in catastrophic failure. Heavy loads can be dropped causing massive damage to equipment and facilities as well as serious injury or even death to workers.

Qualified riggers must be used during ANY hoisting activities for assembly and disassembly work. The person designated as the qualified rigger must have the ability to properly rig the load for a particular job.

Rigging and Hazardous Conditions

When rigging loads, employees must be able to recognize hazardous conditions such as:

  • Rigging equipment, not in use, that is left in the immediate work area that poses a hazard to employees;

  • Improper sling or attachments for the type of load to be lifted and the environment in which it is being lifted;

  • Worn slings and attachments or those with damage such as cracks, kinks, bends, cuts, gouges, and frayed fibers; and

  • Improper storage of slings and misuses such as resting of loads on the sling or dragging of slings across abrasive floors.

Sling Inspections

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 NOT used. Inspect for:

  • 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, 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.

Lifting Practice Checklist

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. Accelerate or decelerate slowly. Use taglines that are long enough to control the load but still keep people out of the swing of the load. When using a sling there are several key points to keep in mind:

  • Find out load weight before lifting.

  • Balance the load to avoid overstress on one sling leg or the load slipping free.

  • Ensure the sling is free of kinks or any other damage.

  • Ensure the sling is rated for the lift.

  • Ensure the load is balanced to prevent slipping

  • Ensure sling is securely attached to the load.

  • Pad sharp edges to prevent bending links.

  • Replace broken safety latches.

  • Keep hands and fingers from between load and chain.

  • Do not jerk the load when lifting or lowering.

  • Do not drag the sling.

  • Do not splice by inserting a bolt between two links.

  • Do not force a hook over a link.

  • Do not use homemade connections.

  • Ensure there is a clear path for the movement of the load.

  • Ensure all employees and other persons are 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.

Get ‘Hitched’ To Safety…Know How To Rig Loads Properly!!! 


Download flyer: SMOTW_9_Rigging Safety.pdf (118.30 kb)

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