The inherent danger of working in a construction zone should come as no surprise. However, what is truly alarming is that construction accounts for 20% of all worker fatalities nationwide. Regrettably, every year, thousands of construction workers suffer severe injuries due to frequent hazards or job-related mistakes.
OSHA has designated the primary causes of injuries and fatalities in construction as the «Construction’s Fatal Four,» comprising:
- Falls (accounting for 33.5% of all fatalities)
- Struck by work objects (responsible for 11.1%)
- Electrocutions (contributing to 8.5%)
- Caught-in, compressed, or crushed incidents by collapsing structures, equipment, or materials (making up 5.5% of fatalities).
As evident, a significant number of fatalities and injuries are attributed to equipment malfunctions, particularly concerning overhead lifting and rigging equipment. This hardware is extensively utilized at most construction sites, enduring substantial wear and tear.
Failure to conduct proper inspections can lead to disastrous consequences, such as load breakage or slippage during overhead lifting operations.
While OSHA mandates pre-use inspections for all overhead lifting and rigging equipment, strict enforcement is not always observed at worksites. Additionally, not all workers receive specialized training to recognize signs of wear or indications that the rigging equipment requires repair or replacement. This poses considerable risks to the team’s safety and production efficiency.
To address these concerns, here are some essential tips to identify major issues that may render rigging equipment unsafe or damaged:
Synthetic slings, typically constructed from durable materials like polyester webbing or nylon, possess impressive strength and resilience. Their soft texture makes them ideal for handling delicate or scratch-prone loads, providing essential protection.
However, despite their robustness, these materials are not impervious to damage. With prolonged use, they may experience stretching, especially when handling extremely heavy loads. Additionally, sharp corners on loads can gradually wear down the fibers, causing micro-tears. Should the stitching become compromised, the synthetic sling could tear, potentially resulting in loads slipping or falling out of the sling. Vigilant inspection and maintenance are crucial to ensuring the continued safe and reliable use of synthetic slings.
Alloy Chain Slings
Alloy chain slings are a common choice for heavy-duty lifting tasks due to their exceptional strength and capacity to handle hefty loads effortlessly. Nevertheless, misuse and neglect can lead to severe damage and potential snapping or breaking of the chains.
When nearing their maximum weight load limit, alloy chain slings can stretch up to 20% of their total length. However, if they are consistently overloaded or extended beyond their rated capacity, the links may suffer permanent elongation or bending. Additionally, when used at angles greater than 60°, alloy chains are prone to damage.
During inspections of alloy chains, it’s essential to watch out for signs of potential damage, such as:
- Non-uniform link shapes or sizes
- Difficulty in moving the chain fittings (indicating a loss of flexibility)
- Presence of rust, nicks, or visible signs of wear
If any links display signs of damage, immediate replacement is necessary. Individual replacement links can be acquired from reputable rigging equipment suppliers. Proper care and regular inspections are vital to ensuring the ongoing safety and reliability of alloy chain slings during heavy-duty lifting operations.
Wire Rope Corrosion
Improper maintenance can lead to significant wear in wire ropes. Although many wire ropes are galvanized for rust protection, this coating can chip and wear off over time, leaving the wire core vulnerable to rust and corrosion.
Friction is another culprit causing damage, especially when a particular spot is subject to repetitive movement. This is common with wire ropes used for overhead lifting, as they are repeatedly rotated through pulley systems, gradually reducing their strength.
To ensure safety, thoroughly inspect the wire rope for various distortions, including kinking (permanent bends in the strands), birdcaging (strands separating and forming a «caged» effect around the core), broken wires, corrosion, and damaged fittings.
In cases of significant damage, it is essential to remove the affected section entirely. However, minor tears can sometimes be repaired by wrapping the wire around the broken piece and welding it together. Regular inspection and timely repairs are crucial for maintaining the integrity and performance of wire ropes during lifting operations.
2. Rigging Hardware
Before attaching any piece of rigging hardware to overhead lifting equipment, it is crucial to conduct thorough inspections. Hooks, shackles, turnbuckles, eye bolts, and hoist rings should all undergo careful examination prior to use.
During the inspection process, be vigilant for the following key «red flags»:
- Rust spots, scratches, or dents
- Shackles that do not fit snugly or are not rated appropriately for the intended load
- «Frozen» or stuck ring bolts caused by overloading
- Missing pieces, such as latches or pins
When acquiring rigging hardware, prioritize high-quality industrial hardware, preferably opting for brand-new equipment. Some suppliers might offer used hardware, which could have repair marks from welding or modifications. This could weaken the hardware and make it more prone to breaking or bending, compromising safety during lifting operations. Investing in well-made, new equipment ensures the reliability and longevity of rigging hardware.
Safety must always remain the utmost priority on any construction site, particularly during overhead lifting operations. Thoroughly inspecting equipment is a critical and serious aspect of the process, ensuring smooth production and preventing any hazardous errors or malfunctions.
Understanding precisely what to observe during inspections, along with implementing proper care and maintenance for all rigging equipment, holds immense significance. This approach not only prolongs the lifespan of overhead lifting machinery and hardware but also minimizes the occurrence of injuries and accidents. By taking these precautions seriously, construction sites can foster a safer working environment and maintain productivity without compromising on safety.
Get in Touch with A Rigging Equipment Supplier Today!
Here it is, a comprehensive overview of Rigging Equipment, shackles, and wire rope. These three elements play a vital role in rigging and lifting operations across various industries. However, due to the extensive range of hardware available, it’s essential to opt for an industrial hardware supplier that ensures top-notch quality with every purchase, just like Elite Sales!
At Elite, we boast an impressive selection of Rigging Equipment and wire ropes that cater to your project needs. Our branded products are meticulously designed to empower clients in their specific industries, enabling them to succeed. For further details, don’t hesitate to reach out to us today!