Somedays the workplace is incredibility hectic, and as productive members of that work place we are expected to manage our day and tasks, safely.  And this especially rings true during rigging tasks and the associated lifting that subsequently follows.  Just one wrong calculation from a distracted employee forgetting about their rigging safety training and proper procedures can mean the difference between a tragic accident and a productive workday.

Many hoist and crane related injuries and accidents can be prevented by simply ensuring all users are properly trained on the correct operation of chains, slings and hoists as well as the Rigging Safety Classesproper inspection and maintenance policies.  The costs associated with safety training are minute when compared to the $27,000 average cost per lost time accident, an estimate developed by the National Safety Council.  “When we talk to employers about training in the workplace we recommend they not view safety training as an expense, but as an investment in their people and in reducing not just accidents, but damage to equipment, products, and your facility,” said Guy Snowdy, director of safety at BEB’s Material Handling Safety Division.

Today, we are going to talk about some of the rigging safety procedures and things to look for everyday on the job with rigging equipment.

Start with a pre-shift check list.

Prior to starting a shift, each user should complete a pre-operation inspection to identify problems or worn equipment to increase the safety in the areas they are going to be working for the next 8+ hours. OSHA 1910.179(j)(2) defines the activities to be performed frequently (daily) as:

  • All functional operating mechanisms for maladjustment interfering with proper operation. Daily. 179(j)(2)(i)
  • Hooks with deformation or cracks. Visual inspection daily; monthly inspection with a certification record which includes the date of inspection, the signature of the person who performed the inspection and the serial number, or other identifier, of the hook inspected. For hooks with cracks or having more than 15 percent in excess of normal throat opening or more than 10° twist from the plane of the unbent hook refer to paragraph (l)(3)(iii)(a) of this section. 179(j)(2)(iii)
  • Hoist chains, including end connections, for excessive wear, twist, distorted links interfering with proper function, or stretch beyond manufacturer’s recommendations. Visual inspection daily; monthly inspection with a certification record which includes the date of inspection, the signature of the person who performed the inspection and an identifier of the chain which was inspected. 1910.179(j)(2)(iv)
  • All functional operating mechanisms for excessive wear of components. 1910.179(j)(2)(vi)
  • Rope reeving for noncompliance with manufacturer’s recommendations. 1910.179(j)(2)(vii)

Know you Limits

Once you’ve determined your rigging safety equipment is ready to use, you can begin you shift keeping in mind that two of the primary causes of accidents with overhead lifting are overloading and poor rigging.  To combat these two as much as possible, we suggest:

  • Know the load weight or perform your best estimate
  • Locate or estimate the location of the load’s Center of Gravity (CG)
  • Determine the load-share on each side of the CG
  • Calculate the tension in each sling-leg
  • As a minimum, select slings with a capacity to match the sling-leg tension and hardware to match the vertical capacity of the slings

These are just a few suggestions and you should always check with your safety manager or general manager before performing any rigging and lifting on your company’s policies and procedures.   Doing so can help keep equipment safe, reduce maintenance costs, increase the reliability and the life of your equipment and help lead to fewer incidents.  To learn more about the OSHA approved rigging safety and crane safety courses taught on-site by BEB visit: