No large construction zone or building yard would be complete without its crane to do the heavy lifting. And no crane or crane operator would be complete without its riggers.

Responsible for assisting in the movement of heaving parts and loads, a rigger ensures that the load — whatever it may be — is properly aligned and anchored. They also maintain the upkeep of the slings, safety hooks, and hoist ropes.

Let’s look at some practical safety tips that all riggers should follow:

Practicing Good Communication –  As with any team in any situation, it is imperative that good communication occurs. It’s important the entire team, from the rigging crew to the crane operators, know and are familiar with the common and proper hand signals. The noise of a construction zone can hamper verbal communication, making knowing these signals especially vital.  

Inspecting the Equipment – The crane must be maintained in top condition. At a minimum, daily inspections of equipment must take place. Fraying slings and bent hooks are just the beginning.  Even the most minute and seemingly insignificant of problems cannot be ignored.

Determining the Weight of the Load – It’s crucial to know the weight of the load before lifting. The proper tools, and consequently the safety of the lift, are determined by the weight of the load. A load that is too heavy for its rigging equipment can slide, break the sling, or cause the crane to tip.

Choosing the Proper Equipment –When preparing to lift a load, choosing the proper rigging equipment helps protect both the load itself and the equipment. Different slings are used for different types of loads… Some of the typical types of slings are chain link, synthetic, metal mesh, and wire rope. Each is used for different sizes, shapes, and even temperatures of loads.

Wearing Protective Gear – One should also wear the proper personal protective equipment (PPE).

  • Heavy duty work gloves, preferably leather, shield hands from rope burns and sharp objects.
  • Steel-toed work boots protect feet from hefty equipment and the potential falling load.
  • A helmet/hard hat and safety glasses defends heads and eyes from falling and dangling objects.
  • Sleeved shirts keep arms safe from cuts and lacerations. And always remember to keep shirt tails tucked securely in. They can far too easily get pulled into the sling or the load.

Other pivotal things to be aware of are:

  • Using a spotter — having someone help keep an eye on who and what is around the loading site.
  • Never walk under a lifted load.
  • Never allow a load to remain suspended while a machine is turned off.
  • Selecting the proper hitch and angle for the load.
  • Anchoring in accordance with the load’s center of gravity (CG).
  • Monitoring the position of hands and fingers — keeping them far away from pinch points.
  • Keeping an eye on the weather — certain conditions can be dangerous to lifting.
  • Checking the area for potential hazards, such as power lines.

At Gillman Services Inc., we take safety very seriously. Specializing in staffing commercial, industrial, mining, manufacturing, and marine construction companies, our motto is: “We work for you!” Contact us today!