Industrial Rigging: How to Ensure Safety of Workers
Workers involved with industrial rigging and lifting handle many different types of equipment and erect large structures on a daily basis. These operations come with a number of challenges, which can prove hazardous to the workers. This includes improper rigging practices which can lead to injuries and even the death of workers.
To avoid accidents, riggers and other operational staff should know the proper methods of securing a load and rigging equipment. The workers should also know the consequences of dealing with erratic moving machines and overloading rigging equipment beyond their capacity.
Safety of Industrial Riggers and Machine Operators
To ensure their safety, industrial riggers and heavy machine operators must:
- Be qualified to carry out the assigned tasks
- Have adequate training to understand and identify possible hazards related to their assigned tasks
- Be aware of the surface conditions of where the lifting/loading equipment will be operated
- Know the proper rigging methods and equipment handling (e.g. blocks, hoist, hooks, shackles, and slings)
- Understand the relationship between the load weight and rated capacity of the lifting equipment and rigging gear
- Be able to anticipate and prevent problems from occurring
Rigging Gear and Equipment Precaution
Riggers should thoroughly inspect the rigging gear at the start of every shift and before resuming stalled work. This is important to prevent the possibility of the equipment failing.
- Ensure the rigging gear or crane is not overloaded. Overloading can damage the crane and make it fail.
- If defective gear or equipment is detected, it should be immediately discarded.
- Properly inspect the rigging gear and equipment. Check for sprung or bent hooks caused by overloading, chain slings for stretched links, and wire rope slings for frayed areas, kinks, and broken strands.
Safe Lifting Techniques
You need to select the right sling and use it safely to hold and move a suspended load. Apart from this, do the following to securely lift a load:
i) Make a level lift
The majority of the weight of the load is at the center of gravity. To prevent the load from becoming imbalanced and tilting dangerously, create a level lift. To make a level lift, ensure that the hoist hook is also at the center of gravity. The level will keep slings from becoming stressed from the unequal distribution of the weight of the load.
ii) Avoid stress at the string legs
The sling legs can experience greater stress when there is a small angle between them and the horizontal position of the load. With increased stress, the capacity of the weight that can be lifted safely with the sling is reduced. When moving large and heavy loads, keep this angle to the maximum to allow even weight distribution among the sling legs.
iii) Check the sling rated capacity
Confirm the rated capacity of the sling you are using. The capacity is based on the type of hitch, size of sling and material it is made of. Do not exceed the rated capacity.
When sling damage to the rope is of no or negligible consequence to the lifting of the load, you can use fiber rope slings, wire ropes and alloy steel chains. Where sling damage cannot be accepted, you should use synthetic web slings.
iv) Expert use
The top causes of injuries and accidents among workers is lack of adequate training in handling and using slings. Workers should know and adhere to the manufacturer’s instructions on proper use and maintenance of lifting gear and equipment to avoid hazardous incidents.