There is no doubt that working around rigging equipment can be dangerous. These large machines and equipment can cause devastating injuries if they are used incorrectly. Just a few years ago, a construction worker was killed due to rigging equipment that was not loaded properly. A rebar slipped from the crane, striking the worker in the head.
Needless to say, rigging equipment safety needs to be prioritized. Failing to use safe equipment or loading it properly can also result in hefty fines from safety violations. Every year, OSHA marks hundreds of violations to construction sites and companies due to rigging equipment issues. These are most commonly related to rigging inspections, operation, and assembly of the equipment.
So, there are several rigging equipment safety factors to consider which will help to prevent violation issues and ensure that every lift is safe and secured.
1. Rigging Equipment Safety through Inspection
Regular rigging equipment inspection from a qualified person, such as a crane operator, is required before rigging equipment is used for any purpose. The inspector must look for any visible signs of damage or wear, as well as any indications that something could go wrong.
Every rigging equipment inspection should include checking, measuring, and noting the following:
- The area surrounding the equipment – This is to make sure there is enough distance from other structures and power lines.
- Machinery inspection – If there is any rust, dents, scratches, or other damage on any piece of equipment, it should be noted during the rigging inspections. While some wear and tear will not impact the rigging equipment, it could be a sign that it needs to be repaired or replaced eventually.
- Pathways and platforms – If the crane and rigging equipment will be moving, there needs to be a sturdy foundation and a clear path.
- Wire ropes and chains – These pieces of rigging equipment can be damaged over time. In case any signs of kinks, wear, or corrosion are found during the rigging equipment inspection, they must be noted, and the rope or chain must be replaced.
- Name of the rigging equipment supplier: It’s important to buy quality rigging equipment from a reputed and certified supplier who can provide the necessary guarantees and warranties along with their products.
2. Working Load Limit
Apart from rigging equipment inspection, one of the most important things to do before using rigging equipment is to double-check the specified working load limit. The weight of all equipment used in the hoisting operation must be calculated for each load to ensure that it is within the working load limit of the lifting mechanism, sling, or hook that is in use.
Since some of these calculations must be estimated, most rigging equipment has a safety factor rating. This essentially accounts for additional weight which could be caused by miscalculations or friction.
For example, the wire rope safety factor is provided as a ratio that compares the minimum break strength (MBS) to the maximum load limit. So, if the MBS for a wire rope is 10,000 lbs. and the safety factor is 6:1, the maximum load limit would be 60,000 lbs.
Construction sites are required to post and provide charts so operators can easily check these working load limits. However, operators should be well-versed in the process of calculating these measurements themselves.
3. Weather Condition
Even if your equipment passes the rigging inspections, the weather can be a major safety issue in some incidences. For example, heavy winds will swing the load, making it far more difficult to control. Further, rigging equipment safety could be compromised. According to OSHA’s standards, rigging equipment cannot be used if the wind is above 20 mph.
If the visibility is impaired by rain or fog, this should also be taken into consideration. Even the temperature can impact how well the rigging equipment works. Extreme cold can cause more brittle metal pieces to crack. This can also make lifting loads more difficult, as they may be frozen to the ground.
4. Rigging Equipment Quality
While rigging inspections are helpful in ensuring that you use only safe equipment, it’s also important to bear in mind that poor-quality rigging equipment will break down faster, especially with continuous use. It is important to partner with a rigging equipment supplier that will provide you with top-quality hardware that is also designed for specific applications, purposes, and environments.
Certain materials will simply work better for specific applications. For example, any equipment that is exposed to moisture should utilize stainless steel ropes and strands, as they are naturally rust-resistant. Galvanized metal is also best for high-friction applications, as the zinc coating protects the steel beneath from wearing down quickly.
A reliable rigging equipment supplier will be well aware of such factors and will provide you with suitable superior products to ensure the safety of your rigging operations.
5. Rigging Operator Certification
Finally, all operators must be competent for the job at hand. They should know how to perform proper rigging inspections.
All rigging equipment operators must complete NCCCO (National Commission for the Certification of Crane Operations) training for the crane type and weight load. There are different NCCCO licenses for various types of cranes, such as:
- Mobile cranes
- Tower cranes
- Articulating boom crane
- Overhead crane
- Mini crawler crane
- Telescopic boom crane
Crane and rigging equipment operators are required by law to complete adequate training and pass their certification exams for various types of equipment. These licenses may need to be renewed periodically.
There are also physical evaluations that operators must pass to run rigging equipment. They must have at least 20/30 vision in one eye with or without the use of glasses. Operators must also have the adequate hearing ability (with or without a hearing aid), as well as the physical stamina to operate the rigging apparatus.
There is no excuse for putting people at risk when it comes to using rigging equipment. All of these safety factors must be considered before using this type of machinery.
Of course, the quality of the equipment used to secure and lift each load plays an important role in the safety of the operation. Elite Sales is a trusted rigging equipment supplier which offers only highly-rated hardware for industrial purposes.
To browse our selection, place an order, or learn more about our offerings, please contact our team at Elite Sales Inc.