Each year, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) reports several rigging accidents on industrial sites due to the use of defective rigging gear, wire ropes, and slings. Most crane accidents can be prevented if the workers (commonly referred to as riggers) are trained in safe hoisting and rigging practices.
In order to perform a safe rigging operation, they should not only be aware of the hoisting triangle, i.e. the crane, the operation of the crane, and the rigging of the load to the crane but also have knowledge about identifying defective components and getting rid of them effectively.
Several rigging facilities carelessly reuse defective gear or throw it into the scrap heap without marking them as ‘Defective’ or ‘Not Usable’.
Use of impaired and faulty rigging gear can lead to life-threatening injuries and damage to the company property due to the falling of heavy equipment, electrocution, and suspension trauma. Moreover, in order to protect riggers from serious accidents, OSHA heavily regulates a series of strict rigging requirements, which includes the disposal of impaired rigging gear.
The information shared in this post will help industrial lifting companies get rid of defective rigging equipment, thereby ensuring the safety of riggers and protecting them from costly fines and lawsuits.
1) Conduct a Thorough Rigging Equipment Inspection
A thorough inspection of the rigging gear will help riggers identify and get rid of the defective wire slings, chain, and other rigging hardware, thereby ensuring that they find their way to the scrap bin and preventing them from being reused.
Rigging companies can either hire a professional rigging inspector or enroll their team into a rigging inspector training program that adheres to the OSHA and ASME (American Society of Mechanical Engineers) rigging equipment standards. This training will help them understand the basics of inspecting the rigging gear and the proper disposal of the flawed rigging components.
2) Know When to Discard the Rigging Equipment
The first step towards getting rid of faulty rigging gear is to identify the ones that truly need to be replaced, thereby preventing unnecessary waste and damage to company property.
Rigging hardware, namely shackles, links, turnbuckles, rings, swivels, eyebolts, hoist rings, and wedge sockets, among other components should be inspected regularly as they play a critical role in various industrial lifting operations.
Look for signs of damage that may affect the integrity and safety of the rigging gear. For instance, bent, cracked, elongated, or twisted load-bearing components, corrosion or gouges, loose or missing bolts and snap rings, and signs of heat damage (weld splatter or arc strikes) indicate that the damaged hardware cannot be repurposed.
Wire Ropes and Slings
In industrial lifting, wire ropes and slings are attached to the crane or the hoist in order to move loads in a controlled manner. Hence, corrosion, bending, abrasions, the stress caused when loading, and the environmental conditions can adversely affect the life of the ropes and slings.
Pay attention to signs of damage in the wire rope structure, like severe corrosion, distortion or bird caging, damaged hooks, latches, or rings, and excessively worn out wires. These signs indicate that the wire ropes and slings are unsafe and should be disposed of.
Alloy chains are used in a variety of industries, such as food processing, marine, fishing, oil and gas, and construction. Though they are highly corrosion-resistant and durable, they are subject to damage due to environmental factors and wear and tear caused by loads beyond the specified tolerances.
These factors can cause metal loss or corrosion, welding defects, rust, deformed links, distortion, and heat damage, thereby weakening the chain slings and increasing the risk of accidents.
Synthetic Web and Round Slings
Synthetic slings are commonly used in construction and marine operations and the industrial lifting equipment industry. They are typically made of nylon, polypropylene, and polyester, enabling riggers to handle loads up to 300 thousand pounds, absorb heavy shocks, and easily adjust to the load contour.
In order to prevent sling-related hazards, operators should regularly look for signs of defects like acid burns, excessive elongation, melted, charred, worn out, or torn exteriors, loose stitching, and distorted fittings.
3) Render the Questionable Gear as Unusable
Once the facility has identified the faulty rigging gear, it can be disposed of using the below-mentioned guidelines.
Impaired Rigging Gear
Defective rigging gear is best disposed of using torch cutting method or by simply chopping them manually with a saw. Get rid of the pins, latches, tags, and labels attached to the equipment and place the scrap in the recycling bin for collection.
Damaged Wire Ropes and Slings
Once the wire ropes and slings are deemed defective, put the ‘Do Not Use’ tag on them. Destroy the wires by cutting the eye of the slings to prevent the slings or hitches from being attached to any other hardware.
Further, cautiously cut the wire ropes in small sizes to prevent the fabrication of a new eye, rendering them futile.
Cutting metal wire ropes into three-to-four-feet pieces prevents their reuse and makes it easy for the recycling facilities to separate the metal from the scrap heap.
Defective Alloy Chain Slings
Defective chain slings should be quarantined and cut into small parts, thereby preventing their reuse. Cutting or destroying the master links and hooks and getting rid of the labels and tags will prevent the faulty chain slings from being used for any other purpose.
Faulty Synthetic Web and Round Slings
When getting rid of web synthetic slings, the best practice is to cut or destroy its eye, thereby rendering it unsalvageable. Further, cut the slings into small pieces, preventing them from being reused.
Alternatively, the cut web slings can be used as softeners to prevent abrasion and snagging of replacement slings during the rigging operations.
Synthetic round slings can be typically destroyed by separating the tags and labels from the sling and severing an area of the sling, preventing any future use.
Once the slings are rendered unusable, they can be disposed of safely by placing them into the facility’s recycling or scrap bin.
Not destroying damaged and worn-out rigging hardware will not only injure unexpected users but also make the rigging company liable for damages, attracting expensive penalty and lawsuits.
The information shared in this post will help rigging and lifting firms get rid of the faulty and impaired rigging gear, thereby reducing incidences of accidents at their facilities.