Rigging and lifting heavy loads has always been a necessary part of construction. As such, rigging is commonplace across multiple industries. However, while experienced riggers make lifting operations look easy, the reality is far from it.
There are numerous factors to consider when rigging and lifting a load and overlooking any of them can spell danger for your worksite. After all, there are few things as dangerous as a suspended, freely moving thousand-pound piece of equipment.
You may be surprised to learn that ‘struck-by-an-object’ accidents are one of the four leading causes of construction fatalities (OSHA). Sadly, the majority of these types of accidents are caused by preventable human error.
This post will walk you through four of the most common mistakes seen during rigging operations and guide you on how to avoid them during your next lift.
1. Not Knowing the Weight of the Load
The first common and critical rigging mistake is not knowing the weight of the load to be lifted. Working with heavy loads that haven’t been carefully weighed is dangerous since the weight of a load determines what equipment you will need to complete the lift.
Determining an object’s weight should be one of the first steps completed before any lifting or rigging operations begin. Some specialized objects will have their weight marked front and center. However, in situations where that isn’t the case, there are a few alternative ways you may be able to determine an object’s weight.
- Examine the engineered prints or design plans
- Check the bill of lading or the shipping documentation
- Use an industrial scale, dynamometer, or load cell, or
- Check the manufacturer’s catalog for specifications
2. Ignoring Load Control
Maintaining load control is a complex but crucial part of safe rigging. Even if a load is rigged correctly according to its weight, a lift can still fail and cause severe damage if it’s not controlled. Ensuring load control requires educated planning and informed decision-making and should never be ignored. To maintain proper load control, riggers should take into consideration the following when devising a lift plan:
- The load’s weight
- The load’s center of gravity
- The environmental and weather conditions on the day of the lift
- The planned path of travel for the load
- Contents within the load, and
- Assembled stability of the load
Qualified riggers can consider these factors and make informed decisions on what lifting and rigging equipment to use, how to ensure load support, and whether or not tag lines will be necessary.
3. Hiring Unqualified Workers
Since there’s very little room for rigging mistakes during any lifting operation, employing inadequately trained riggers is arguably one of the worse mistakes you can make. Having qualified riggers on board is a critical part of guaranteeing workplace safety. Beyond that, it’s also an OSHA and ASME/ANSI requirement when a mobile crane over 2,000 lbs capacity is being used.
Workers handling rigging and lifting operations should have extensive hands-on experience with material handling for general and complex projects. In addition, they should be aware of all guidelines related to safe hoisting and rigging practices and be familiar with the factors that can affect the lifting, stability, and landing of loads.
A qualified rigger is someone who has successfully passed written and practical exams that demonstrate their ability and understanding of:
- Selection and use of applicable hardware
- Applications of standard hitches
- Estimation of load weight, center of gravity, angle, and load movement, and
- Inspection of equipment
Ensuring you have employed qualified riggers for your lifting project is yet another critical part of safe rigging operations.
4. Choosing the Wrong Rigging Equipment
It’s no secret that rigging gear comes in all different types, capacities, weight limits, and quality levels, and choosing the appropriate equipment for your lifting project is of utmost importance. A poorly thought-out lifting plan could spell trouble.
Before selecting your rigging hardware, diligently consider your load requirements. Consider load dimensions, weight, shape, the path of travel, and headroom restrictions, then compare that information against the specs of the rigging gear you’re considering before making your final selection. When in doubt, reach out to an LGH rental representative for assistance.
All too often, rigging accidents are the result of preventable errors. From inaccurately calculating the weight of a load to failing to verify a rigger’s qualifications, these errors can cause significant damage to human life or property. Remaining diligent in safe rigging operations is crucial to keeping your employees as well as your facility out of harm’s way.
In case you’re looking for high-quality, inspected, tested, and certified lifting equipment rentals, LGH has you covered. Please reach out to your local LGH representative or give us a call at 800-878-7305 for our rental specialists’ help in finding what you need.