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The Importance of Safe Rigging

What questions will be answered in this article:

  • What is the cause of many crane-related accidents?
  • What are some safe rigging practices?
  • How to avoid crane-related accidents?
  • Why should I determine the weight of a load?
  • How do sling angles affect the lift?
  • Why is it important to pick the right hardware for the lift?
  • Why should you inspect each sling before using them?
  • Why should I inspect rigging hardware before using it?
  • Why is it important to find a load’s center of gravity?
  • What details are important at the time of lifting the load?

 

« A chain is only as strong as its weakest link ». Human error is often the “weak link” as we are responsible for the status of the rigging equipment we use. Far too many people find and use shortcuts while ignoring regulations (federal, provincial), standards (ASME, CSA) and industry best practices. Since many crane-related accidents are a result of human error, it is important that we practice due diligence when at work. It could be anything from a sling that breaks, loads that slip or a shackle getting unscrewed. To avoid those types of accidents, things to take into consideration while preparing for a movement should be:

Male inspecting sling in a workshop

  1. Determine the weight of the load

This is important because the load weight will determine the capacities of the equipment required for the lift.

  1. Determine the proper hitch based on the load type

This is important because the hitch selected needs to be able to support and control the load.

  1. Understand angles and tension on slings/hardware

The stress on the slings increases as the angle between the weight and the sling decreases (i.e.: horizontal sling angle). The stress on the hardware also increases by the angle. It’s essential to know if the slings and hardware can withstand that amount of force.

  1. Select the right slings based on the load type

A critical consideration in sling selection (web sling, wire rope sling, chain sling, etc) is the relationship between the rated capacities of the sling, the type of hitch you have selected and the angle at which you use the sling.

  1. Select the right hardware for the load

Picking the right hardware is the same as picking the right slings. The angles and capacities are equally important when it comes to a successful lift.

  1. Inspect each sling before you use it

It is important to conduct a pre-use (daily) inspection of the slings you intend on using as they can wear out over time, get abused, weaken, etc.

  1. Inspect rigging hardware before you use it

Rigging hardware might also break down over time. Wear, usage, and/or abuse might cause it to weaken or break. This is a risk since the hardware may not be able to handle the rated capacity as it ages. It is important to conduct a pre-use (daily) inspection of the hardware you intend to use.

  1. Protect slings from damage

All types of slings should be protected from sharp edges, especially synthetic web slings, which are most susceptible to cuts. To protect the slings, place a padded material between the sling and the edges.

  1. Determine the loads center of gravity

It is important to determine the load’s center of gravity so that the load will remain stable throughout the lift. This also aide in determining the rigging equipment to be used for the lift.

  1. Pay close attention to detail at lift time

There are a lot of things to keep in mind when it comes to lifting. The load weight is calculated, the proper rigging equipment is selected, tag lines are placed for load control, any hazards and risks are mitigated, the area is cleared of unauthorized personnel, the operator has discussed the lift with the rigging, crane signals are agreed upon, etc.


It is best practice to spend an extra few minutes in advance ensuring all aspects of the job are ready to go. This ensures the safety of you and your coworkers.

Not sure how to test your items prior to using them? Here at Hercules SLR, we can help! Bring your slings and rigging hardware to one of our shops across the country or have our trained service professionals come to you. Our team of inspectors are LEEA registered technicians that abide by the applicable ASME and CSA standards when inspecting lifting equipment. Your safety is as important to us as it is to you. For inspection, load testing, repairs, and certifications contact our service experts today!


If you would like to talk to our experts about how Hercules ensure you have a successful lift, call us today!

1 (902) 482-3125

To see more about the services we offer, check out our website!


Helpful links on how we can help:

Hercules Crane Repair

Hercules Web Sling Service

Liquid Penetrant Testing


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