When it comes to construction sites, rigging hardware plays an undeniable role since lifting and moving heavy loads is a critical operation in this industry.
Of course, it takes tremendous knowledge and experience to handle rigging equipment since it’s important to know about the several factors that go into ensuring safe operations.
Rigging loads improperly means inviting trouble at the construction site. Working with super heavy loads and moving them mid-air can be extremely risky. If they aren’t amply secured, disastrous consequences may follow.
More often than not, rigging accidents are the consequence of avoidable human error. Construction site workers often make certain mistakes, which ultimately lead to hazards and catastrophes.
Learning about some of the most common mistakes that lead to rigging accidents on construction sites can go a long way in preventing them. Let’s find out what these errors are.
1. Not Knowing the Weight of the Load
It is crucial to know the exact weight of the load to properly lift it to the working load limit (WLL) of the rigging equipment. However, determining the weight of the load isn’t as simple as it sounds.
Typically, the rigger is responsible for calculating the weight before performing the lift. In most cases, industrial lifting devices manufactured with the intent of being lifted frequently have their weight mentioned on them. If this information is missing, riggers need to determine the weight themselves.
Here are a few common ways of determining the weight of the load:
- Check the bill of lading or the shipping documentation
- Examine the engineered prints or design plans
- Use an industrial scale, dynamometer, or load cell
- Go through the manufacturer’s specification
- Perform manual calculation
2. Skipping Equipment Inspection
One of the main reasons behind rigging accidents and failed lifts on construction sites is equipment failure. This is the result of not inspecting rigging equipment and hardware for damage, flaws, or distortions every time before and after use.
Rigging equipment inspection should be performed regularly and thoroughly. This means daily or at least pre-use inspection of hardware slings, fastenings, and attachments.
Apart from this, riggers need to know exactly what parts to inspect to ensure proper examination of the equipment. They should be able to identify damaged slings, ropes, wires, and so on while discarding unsafe equipment.
Also, all employees that handle rigging equipment should have the necessary competency for correctly identifying damage and following the criteria for removing such equipment from service.
It is a good idea to periodically train construction site workers in the best practices used for handling industrial lifting and rigging equipment according to industry standards.
3. Being Unaware of the Sling Capacity
As mentioned, quality rigging equipment and hardware have the working load limit clearly mentioned on it. Riggers need to be mindful of the capacity and avoid using any sling if the capacity is unknown. In fact, illegible and/or missing tags is a common problem that rigging professionals face. This can be dangerous as there is no way to know the sling’s capacity without the tag, necessitating its removal from service.
Given that slings are crucial to performing lifts, a detailed identification tag is a must. Labels on other industrial lifting devices, like spreader bars or below-the-hook lifting equipment, should conspicuously state the rated capacity and other information.
For some equipment, charts are provided by the manufacturer to ensure their proper handling. These should be made available to riggers whenever necessary, especially at the time of determining any equipment’s WLL.
4. Failure to Ensure Sling Protection
The sling should be protected from potential damage that can occur upon coming in contact with edges, corners, protrusions, and so on in all industrial lifting operations. This applies to chain slings, wire rope slings, synthetic slings, and any other type of sling used in heavy industrial lifting.
Inadequate or no sling protection can result in serious injuries to workers, loss of life, high sling turnover, failed lifts, damage to the load, among other possibilities.
Additional corner and edge protection are necessary when using synthetic slings, in particular. Sling protection is also extremely necessary when using choker and basket hitches, as these require the sling to make direct contact with the load by wrapping tightly around them.
Riggers and site workers can use edge guards, magnetic protection, or sleeves over slings to avoid damage. In some cases, the appropriate protection may be directly sewn to the sling.
5. Ignoring Load Control
Several factors need to be considered when it comes to load control. The key factors include:
- Weather: The wind may cause the lift to go wrong.
- Load support: The sling and hitch may fail to adequately support and distribute the weight of the load.
- Additional safety measures: The load may not always be lifted and moved along the planned route. It may move over workers, which can be extremely dangerous.
Even if the load is properly rigged as per its weight, the lift can fail and cause serious damage to human life and property if it isn’t controlled.
Maintaining load control is complex, and requires educated planned, and informed decision-making. To maintain proper load control, riggers should consider the following factors when planning a lift:
- Calculate the load’s weight
- Figure out the center of gravity
- Choose the right industrial lifting and rigging equipment
- Pick the right sling and hitch
- Ensure load stabilization
- Decide on whether or not a tag line is necessary
- Take note of climatic and environmental conditions
6. Not Safeguarding against Electrical Contact
Among the commonly-occurring mishaps at construction sites is electrocution. An electrical trail may be created when a part of a crane comes in close contact with a charged overhead powerline.
To minimize the possibility of things going wrong, it should be assumed that all power lines are energized unless the operator ascertains that they’re de-energized, and it is discernibly grounded at the construction site.
Also, if a crane operates near a live powerline and the load/hoist lines or other parts that could potentially encroach on the minimum permitted distance, riggers should take the safety measures specified by OSHA.
A few safety steps mentioned by OSHA in this regard include:
- Checking for potential hazards to identify and address them before work begins
- Requesting the electrical company to de-energize and ground overhead power lines
- Training workers in the various safe lifting procedures
- Being aware of and enforcing a safe working distance for workers and equipment
- Using only non-conductive wood or fiberglass ladders
- Wearing personal protective equipment, such as rubber gloves and insulating sleeves, and protective helmets during operations
7. Not Training Workers in Safe Equipment Use
The lack of knowledge and training can make riggers ignorant towards safety considerations, causing accidents at the construction site. Hence, it is critical that workers performing hoisting and rigging activities are trained in safety as well as operating procedures.
All hoisting equipment should be handled only by trained professionals. Site workers should be well aware of the guidelines related to safe hoisting and rigging practices specific to the construction industry.
For safe rigging, the rigger should know about the weight of the load and rigging hardware, the capacity of the hoisting or lifting device, and the WLL of the hoisting rope, slings, and hardware. Once this information is known, riggers can determine how to lift the load in a stable manner.
Riggers should also know about the factors that can affect the hoisting and landing of loads. They should be aware of the processes and techniques involved in inspecting slings and other rigging hardware.
It is important that crane operators working with riggers are familiar with all the aspects of the lift. A viable means of communication should be established, including the various signals to be used and their meaning.
Further, necessary training should be imparted to even those site personnel who are not directly involved in industrial lifting and rigging operations.
Rigging accidents are usually the result of preventable errors. From failing to check the capacity of a shackle to inaccurate calculation of the weight of the load, these blunders can harm site workers and destroy property and other equipment. Ensuring safe lifting and rigging operations is, therefore, crucial to keeping your facility as well as employees out of harm’s way.
In case you’re looking to buy high-quality and reliable rigging equipment for your construction site, Holloway Houston Inc. is your go-to provider. Our specialists look forward to discussing your needs and suggesting the most suitable premium-quality products to help you fulfill them. Do visit our online store or contact us for assistance with choosing different kinds of heavy industrial equipment.