Proper Rigging Safety Techniques

Learn how to inspect slings and rigging gear per the latest ASME and OSHA standards. 90% of Rigging-related accidents are caused by human error.

Rigging Safety
Rigging Safety | Source

Rigging Safety Courses

We have all heard the phrase: "A chain is only as strong as its weakest link". When it comes to crane operations, rigging can often be that "weak link". How we attach a load to a crane can make the difference between a successful lift or an unfortunate accident.

Since over 90% of crane-related accidents are the result of human error. We must pay close attention to our work. Poor judgement or overconfidence can lead to serious
mistakes.

By learning how to Rig a load safely... and communicate clearly... employees can steer clear of situations that may place them and their coworkers in danger.
Rigging plays a very important role in crane operations.If you are careless, and the load is not Rigged properly, someone could get hurt... even killed.

Guidelines For Crane, Hoists and Rigging Safety

Many types of cranes, hoists, and rigging devices are used for lifting and moving materials in the College of Engineering and the Texas Engineering Experiment Station of the Texas A&M University System. Lifting heavy loads and working around/under elevated loads provides increased risk for injury and loss. The mission of the Engineering Safety Program is to maintain a safe and healthful environment for faculty, researchers, staff, students and visitors; therefore, a guideline for safely working with cranes, hoists, rigging and other lifting devices has been established.

If you are not careful when rigging a load, you could:

  • Damage the load.
  • Damage the lifting equipment.
  • Even injure a coworker.

If you get injured, you could face major medical bills and lost wages while you are away from work. Because of the hazards associated with working with cranes, OSHA has had "crane safety" regulations in force for some. But until recently, they hadn’t been changed for almost
40 years.

Crane and Rigging Safety Rules

There are significant safety issues to be considered, both for the operators of the diverse "lifting" devices, and for workers in proximity to them. To a crane operator, few experiences may be as frightening as when a crane becomes unbalanced while a load is being lifted or when the crane collapses under the weight of an excessive load.

  • Check limit switches before rigging the load

  • Make sure the load does not exceed rated capacity.

  • Know the center of gravity of the load.

  • Attach load above the center of gravity for stability.

  • Select hitch that will control the load.

  • Know the rated capacities of rigging and slinging

  • Inspect all rigging before use

  • Protect the sling from sharp corners.

  • Allow for increased tension due to sling angle.

  • Equalize loading on multiple leg slings

  • Allow for load reductions when using choker hitches

  • Attach tag line prior to lift.

  • Keep personnel clear of lift area.

  • Wear hard hats when making overhead lifts.

  • Lift load a few inches and verify rigging.

  • Check for any loose items.

  • Know limitations of hoisting device.

  • Start and stop SLOWLY! Watch for obstructions (not only hook and load but outboard end of the bridge).

  • Check pathway is clear before making a lift (use a spotter for blind spots).

  • Verify hook completely closes.

  • Use appropriate hand signals.

  • Maintain load control at all times.

  • Report suspected drum wrappings immediately (if drum has fewer 2.5 wraps remaining).

  • Never leave load unattended.

Hoisting and Rigging Safety

Selection of the sling is only the first step in the rigging process. Hoists are often used when materials are too heavy or bulky to be safely moved manually. Because hoists rely upon slings to hold their suspended loads, slings are the most commonly used materials-handling apparatus. In part because of the complex nature of the seemingly simple task of lifting an object, an effective program is necessary to lift and move heavy loads safely.

Workers involved in hoisting and rigging operations should receive training in the following:

  • Sling and hitch types

  • Sling capacity determination

  • Equipment inspection, care, and maintenance

  • Load weight and center of gravity determination

  • Safe lifting techniques

    The crane regulations cover a number of areas, including:

  • Ground conditions.
  • Assembly and dis-assembly.
  • Work around power lines
  • And inspections.

They also address:

  • Signaling.


  • Fall protection.
  • Work area control.
  • Operator certification.
  • Qualifications for "signal persons" and maintenance personnel.
  • Training.

While you should be familiar with all of the provisions of the crane regulations that affect you and the people that you work with, some of the recent changes in the regulations are particularly notable.

Before a crane is positioned or assembled, it must be verified that the "ground conditions" are firm, drained and graded so that the crane can set up safely.

Crane assembly, disassembly and set-up must be overseen by personnel who are "competent" and "qualified". There are new restrictions as to how far a crane must be from power lines when it is being assembled, operating or traveling.

Generally it must be at least 20 feet away at all times. But this can vary depending on the amount of current going through the lines). By November 10, 2014 all crane operators must be "certified" by either:

  • An accredited testing organization.
  • A licensed government agency.
  • Or a qualified employer program.

"Signal persons" must be "qualified" based on the criteria OSHA has specified in the regulation, by either:

  • A "third party qualified evaluator".
  • Or their employer’s own "qualified evaluator".


Hi Hubbers:

Please share your Rigging Safety experience.

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Comments 8 comments

Hasnain 7 years ago

great info ! thanks


carl heslop 6 years ago

im trying to find a course that takes me towards nvq level 3 in rigging moving loads safely can you advise


safety profile image

safety 6 years ago from Austin, TX Author

IS nvq is for National Vocational Qualifications? Typically for work based awards in England, Wales and Northern Ireland? I have one of our specialist looking into the Rigging Safety "levels" for the qualification. I will let you know what they find out.


t. bretz 5 years ago

Is it safe to pick vertically pulling on cable clamps


PETER DOE 5 years ago

I WORK WITH SAME COMPANY IN GHANA HERE THEY DON'T NO WHAT IS SAFETY??????????


trini sir 5 years ago

can i get some videos turtoriols pls on how rig different types of loads


vinay eversendai 4 years ago

useful details


Patrick 4 years ago

Good stuff!!!

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