One of the most common pitfalls the plagues this industry is the failure to properly test and inspect the gear that’s used for various projects. In today’s world, oftentimes speed is given a higher priority than safety or being thorough. Creeping deadlines, setbacks or overbooking can sometimes force a heightened sense of urgency on your crew but observing proper safety and inspection protocol can literally be the difference between a successfully completed project and catastrophic failure or even loss of life.
There are many reasons to ensure proper inspection techniques are followed on all equipment. It’s in a company’s best interests to keep costs down and, unfortunately, that is occasionally interpreted as “making due” with old, beat up and potentially faulty equipment that hasn’t been tested or inspected, in some cases, since the day the equipment was purchased. Let’s examine some of the key reasons testing and inspecting equipment should be a priority and you’ll see the cost savings comes with working with well-inspected equipment.
From a safety standpoint, keeping your workers safe provides multiple benefits. Injuries at the workplace not only lower productivity from the injured individual, but also those around him/her due to the lost work time. Injuries also lead to workers compensation claims that are costlier to your business than proper maintenance of your equipment. In addition, failure to properly conduct equipment inspections provides no liability protection and will result in hefty fines from OSHA, let alone lawsuits.
Routine inspection of slings, shackles, snatch blocks, hoists and hooks, to name a few, allows for any issues to be diagnosed and corrected early, rather than after an incident occurs. Weigh the costs of a new sling or piece of rigging hardware against the replacement or repair costs of the object they’re being relied on to hoist as well as the accompanying fines and workers comp claims (or worse). Which cost would you rather incur?
As rigging professionals, your safety, as well as the safety of your friends and coworkers around you, should make daily inspections of any and all equipment being used a priority. Would you want to put your well-being at risk from a load being suspended with equipment that hasn’t been tested or inspected but once a year, if that? I’m sure everyone would say no, so never underestimate the importance of inspecting your equipment before each use.