Hellman & Associates

Construction Rigging Safety

In 2019, 249 crane and rigging incidents occurred resulting in 133 workplace fatalities in the United States. 37% of those were caused by a worker being crushed by the load from either load swing, load drop or by an unstable load being placed and immediately falling over. Another 27% were associated with a dropped load, most commonly associated with poor rigging practices. Because of these statistics, it is critical to know and understand proper rigging techniques during material handling practices.

General Rigging Requirements

  • Do not overload rigging or material handling equipment.
    • Know the weight of the load to be lifted.
    • Know the working load limits of your rigging equipment.
    • Ensure the machine used is rated to handle the load. Use the lift chart provided.
  • If something appears to be rigged incorrectly during a lift, lower the load safely and readjust the rigging.
  • Ensure that all personnel, except those involved in the lift are removed from the work area and that employees avoid standing or working under the lifted load as much as feasible.
  • Establish a safe path of travel for the load and equipment prior to completing the lift.
  • Do not tie slings in knots to shorten them or tie them around objects as makeshift devices.
  • Pad or protect all slings (especially synthetic slings) from sharp edges.
  • Watch for hand and finger pinch points when lifting and lowering the load. Keep clear during the lift.
  • Always lift over the idler end of the tracks when lifting with an excavator.
  • Both stabilizers should be placed down on backhoes so that the tires are lifted slightly off the ground.
  • If there are any doubts with equipment stability or hydraulic capability, perform a test lift.
  • Avoid creating trip and fall hazards by maintaining good housekeeping of rigging equipment.

Inspection Criteria

A visual inspection must be completed daily for all slings and lifting equipment. Look for:

  • Missing or illegible sling identification/working load limits.
  • Chemical, UV or heat damage.
  • Excessive stretching, bending, twisting or deformed components.
  • Pitting, corrosion, nicks or gouges on hardware.
  • Inoperative or missing safety latches on hooks.
  • Alloy chains have received a thorough periodic inspection in the last 12 months.
  • For nylon or polyester slings:
    • Holes, tears, cuts or snags (red threads are visible) or broken stitches at load bearing splices.
    • Knots in the sling.
  • For wire rope slings:
    • Broken wires (10 randomly distributed broken wires in one lay or 5 broken wires in one strand).
    • Kinking, crushing or bird caging.