Normally associated with shipbuilding, riggers use tools and heavy machinery to lift large construction materials into place.
As with any profession, success in rigging is largely based on good habits. Proven routines make riggers more productive and safer workers. With this in mind, consider the following five daily habits of great riggers.
1) Equipment and Material Inspection
The best riggers spend most of their workday performing thorough inspections. Riggers should start their day by inspecting all of the equipment and tools they plan on using. Then, before performing a heavy lift, riggers should inspect both the object and the equipment used to lift it, including all cables, pulleys, and winches. Inspections should be guided by all relevant safety regulations.
2) Good Communication
Riggers are responsible for moving and placing heavy items. Obviously, good communication is essential to the safe completion of this task. Riggers not only need to communicate with others for effective lifting, but they also need to communicate with people who are, or who may find themselves in, the general area.
Because shipyards tend to be noisy areas, riggers often use hand signals to communicate during lifting.
3) Respecting Limits
Avoiding issues before they become big problems is a crucial part of being of a great rigger, as using heavy machinery involves significant risk. Respecting the limits of both equipment and people is essential to avoiding major rigging issues. For example, each rig has a weight limit that ought to be respected. Also, a load ought to be distributed evenly among all supporting slings. When the weight is not distributed evenly, the stress on individual slings can become too much, making the situation quite dangerous.
Identifying changing conditions as they pertain to limitations and responding accordingly is a habit that’s difficult to develop but one that’s worth developing through determination and attentiveness.
4) Avoiding a “Shock Load”
Shock load is the term used to describe a force generated by the abrupt release of a load. A drop of just 4 inches can equate to triple the weight being placed on rigging or a surface, which may result in damage to the rigging, injury or even death.
Great riggers steer clear of shock loading by slowly taking up slack in the rig. Power should be applied cautiously to avoid jerking at the start of the lift. Loads should be accelerated or decelerated slowly. Good riggers also know how to use taglines that are long enough for proper control, but short enough to minimize dangerous swinging.
5) Lifting from the Center of Gravity
The center of gravity (CG) is the point around which the weight of a load is focused, the balance point. Great riggers “rig to the CG” – which means all rigging should meet at the crane hook situated over the center of gravity. A disproportional rigging could cause a load to shift and potentially damage any surrounding objects or hurt employees.
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