How to rig a crane's load effectively

Choosing the correct sling for a load is a vital part of safe rigging


Selecting an appropriate sling and arranging it in the correct manner are vital factors when it comes to rigging safety

In the world of construction, the equipment and materials necessary to get the job done are often too heavy or cumbersome to be carried by hand. As such, if you need something to be transferred from point A to point B, a crane will frequently be your first port of call.

However, before a load is lifted into the air and transported to another section of the site, the rigging crew has a vital role to play at ground level. In the following guide, PMV offers a selection of tips to ensure that your lifts run smoothly.

Tip 1 – Watch your weight
The first thing to consider before attempting a lift is the weight of the load. Pieces of equipment should bear labels displaying their weight. If no such label is visible, take time to check with the manufacturer. If you are lifting construction materials, be sure to account for both the number and the weight of the units being carried. The weight of the load will determine the sling that should be used during the lift.

Tip 2 – Secure the load
No load should be lifted into the air unless it is secure. Ensure that in addition to the correct lifting equipment, you have also configured your load appropriately. Before hitching the load, check the hook’s safety catches. The hook should be positioned directly above the load’s centre of gravity. It is also a good idea to test the security of the load by lifting it a short distance from the ground into the air before the final lift is conducted.

Tip 3 – Check the sling
Make sure that your sling is up to the job. This means selecting a sling that suits the load. Fabric slings made from materials such as nylon and polyester are certainly easy to handle, but safety should not be compromised because of user friendliness. Keep in mind that fabric slings are significantly weakened by knots and cuts, and are more vulnerable to heat and friction than their metallic counterparts. For heavy or abrasive loads, wire or chain slings often represent the most suitable option.

Tip 4 – Hitch correctly
Take time to check that your sling is hitched to the most appropriate part of the load. Never hitch to sections such as guard rails that are liable to come loose during the lift. Always attach the sling to the most secure part of the load to minimise the risk of detachment or yielding during transportation.

Tip 5 – Communicate
If a load is rigged appropriately, the chances of injury occurring during the lift are minimised. However, those working at ground level still have a responsibility to keep themselves and their colleagues safe. With this in mind, effective communication is vital. There should be a designated signaller to communicate with both the crane operator and his or her colleagues on the ground. Moreover, each member of the rigging team should be clear of pinch points and the potential sway of the load before the signaller gives the go-ahead to the crane operator. Obviously, never stray underneath a load that is in transit.

Tip 6 – Get ready for touchdown
Before the operator begins lowering, check that your surroundings are capable of accepting the load. If you need to guide the load, use a tagline, and if you are walking with the load, ensure that it remains close to the ground. Remove surrounding objects and keep your feet clear. Stay on your toes and don’t allow yourself to become trapped between the load and a fixed object.

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Construction Week - Issue 767
Sep 01, 2020