Rigging and lifting heavy loads is essential in many industries, including construction, manufacturing, and transportation. In other words, the demand for various rigging hardware keeps rising. It’s no wonder that the wire rope sling market alone was worth $2.60 billion in 2022.
As essential as it is, rigging can also be a risky endeavor. Accidents at rigging sites can cause serious injuries, fatalities, and property damage. This can often result in unexpected project delays and costly downtimes. Therefore, it is crucial to take appropriate safety precautions to minimize the risks and ensure a safe working environment.
As a seasoned rigging hardware wholesaler, we always encourage riggers to follow safety recommendations. Here’s what you need to keep in mind.
1. Choose the Right Rigging Hardware
As a rigging hardware wholesaler, we urge end users to choose the correct hardware. Whether you need synthetic slings, wire ropes, hoists, or cranes, selecting the suitable one ensures safety and efficiency.
Be sure to consider the following factors:
- The weight of the load.
- The type of rigging system you want to use.
- The environment where you will use the equipment.
- And the material and design of the hardware.
But sometimes, determining the best rigging hardware for your job is easier said than done. If that happens, consult a rigging hardware supplier, manufacturer, or certified expert. They can help you put together a perfect rigging and lifting system.
2. Maintain Your Rigging Hardware
Regular proactive maintenance of rigging hardware is critical to ensuring safety and increased equipment lifespan.
You will need to:
- Regularly check the rigging hardware for wear, damage, or deformation.
- Replace damaged or worn equipment immediately. Keep the equipment clean and properly lubricated.
- Store the rigging hardware in a dry and protected area when not in use.
- Train your employees on proper handling and storage techniques to prevent damage.
These simple steps can keep your rigging equipment ready to perform safely and efficiently when needed.
3. Inspect the Rigging Hardware
Regular inspection is a must. It can identify and address potential safety hazards before they become a problem.
- Visually inspect all the rigging hardware before each use. Allow only trained and authorized personnel to inspect the equipment.
- Conduct periodic inspections by a certified professional. Follow the prescribed ASME standards when checking the rigging hardware periodically.
- Check if the equipment is rated for the intended use. Also, make sure all components of your rigging assembly are compatible.
- Maintain inspection records to track the maintenance history of the equipment.
4. Keep the Rigging Site Clutter-Free
Keeping the rigging site clutter-free is another critical aspect of ensuring safety. A cluttered site can increase the risk of accidents. It obstructs the movement of equipment and creates tripping hazards.
So, you will need to:
- Keep the area around the rigging hardware clear of debris and unnecessary items.
- Train your workers to store tools and materials when not in use.
- Also, teach them to maintain a tidy work area.
- Check the site twice for hazards before starting your operation.
Remember, keeping the rigging site clutter-free can minimize the risk of accidents and create a safer work environment for everyone involved.
5. Always Wear Personal Protective Equipment
Personal protective equipment (PPE) keeps your crew safe during heavy and overhead lifting operations. Your choice of PPE may change depending on a specific rigging application.
However, a typical PPE includes hard hats, safety glasses, gloves, and steel-toed boots. This equipment can protect workers from hazards such as falling objects, flying debris, and hand injuries.
- All your workers wear proper PPE on the job site.
- Train them to use and maintain their PPE properly.
- Ensure that all PPEs are a good fit and are in good condition.
If you are not sure what PPE you need, talk to your rigging hardware supplier. They will point you in the right direction.
6. Pay Attention to the Load
Pay attention to the load when using rigging hardware like cranes for overhead lifts. Carefully assess its weight, size, shape, and center of gravity. These factors will determine the working load limit of your rigging hardware and its other specifications.
Before your operation starts, make sure to:
- Balance the load and attach it securely to the rigging hardware.
- Be aware of any potential hazards resulting from the load, such as sharp edges or unstable surfaces, and take appropriate measures to mitigate those risks.
- Run a test lift first. Lift the load slightly above the ground to check its balance and rigging attachments. If needed, make the required adjustments before you start.
7. Consider the Working Load Limits
The working load limit is the maximum weight a piece of rigging equipment can safely lift without risk of failure. Every rigging hardware, from slings and wire ropes to cranes and hoists, has a working load limit.
Carefully evaluate the weight of the load, and ensure that the rigging hardware is rated and configured for the intended task. Never exceed the working load limit because this can lead to equipment failure and pose a serious safety risk.
8. Plan Everything to the Tee
The final precaution is planning. Before beginning any lift, you should develop a detailed plan that outlines the steps and procedures required for the task. To make that happen, carefully assess the load, the rigging equipment, and the work site.
Also, your plan should consider factors such as:
- The weight and shape of the load.
- The working load limits of the rigging hardware.
- The location and environment of the rigging site.
By planning everything to the tee, workers can minimize the risk of accidents, improve efficiency, and ensure that the lifting operation is a complete success.
The bottom line is that safety should always be the top priority at rigging sites. Follow safety precautions, such as wearing proper PPE, paying attention to load limits, and keeping the site clutter-free.
Proper planning, regular rigging hardware inspections, and training on proper handling techniques are also equally important. They can help you minimize the risk of accidents and complete your operations safely and efficiently.
Focus on creating a culture of safety. It’s the only way to prevent accidents before they occur.
Author Bio: I am Randy Gonzales. I am the President of Elite Sales Inc, a rigging equipment and wire rope distribution company based in Miami, Tampa, Houston, and Dyer. I have more than 30 years of experience in the distribution and supply of industrial hardware industry.