What is a Rigger in Construction?

what is a rigger in construction, hercules slr

WHAT IS A RIGGER IN CONSTRUCTION?

What is a rigger? A rigger in construction is a person responsible for securing a load to lift, pull, hoist or move in general. They’re responsible in making sure the right equipment and hardware is used for a lift, the right methods are used to lift and the equipment used is operated properly, by a qualified professional. 

You might wonder, “Don’t all construction sites move and lift things?” And you’d be correct – functions of rigging are used on construction sites daily. However, a rigger’s responsibilities are a bit more specific. They may be brought onto a construction site to move the construction crew’s large machinery (think a skid steer or forklift) to another part of the site. Other roles a rigger might perform on, or for, a construction site are: 

  • Signal Person: This person is responsible to signal, with verbal or physical cues to workers’ who operate the lifting equipment, especially cranes.
  • Inspector/Fabricator: This person is involved in fabricating the equipment used to lift, and is also likely be used on the construction site to repair, inspect or certify rigging equipment and other lifting apparatus’ used on site. 
  • Controller: This person may be involved in operating the equipment used to lift, mechanical or otherwise. They could operate a crane, electric chain hoist or other moving gear and direct the path of hard-to-move loads. 
  • Assess and install: A rigger will determine the best equipment to be used for the load. 

WHAT IS A RIGGER IN CONSTRUCTION? HERCULES SLR EXPLAINS

As we mentioned, lots of rigging happens on a construction site daily. But a rigger may be called in to lift a load that requires specialized equipment to get the job done. Certain lifts, or equipment you need to complete those lifts, may be regulated or require certifications to operate them. In these circumstances, a rigger would be called in to complete the lift or to assess the load and determine which equipment should be applied. 

For example, one of our riggers’ was called to a site to move an excavator that had broken down. They needed the equipment moved so it could be repaired, and Hercules SLR was brought in to find the best methods and tools to lift and move it. 

WHAT IS A RIGGER IN CONSTRUCTION? THE HERCULES SLR EXAMPLE

Here’s an example.

The project manager wanted to use two synthetic round slings to lift the excavator by its tracks.

Before the move, Hercules SLR riggers’ discussed the clients’ needs and expectations. The two riggers’ on the job gave their recommendations and went beyond that by finding the excavator’s manual which detailed its lifting points, and which hardware was best to use. Then, our riggers’ calculated the excavator’s load weight – after collecting and calculating all relevant information, they found that synthetic round slings’ were specifically not recommended to lift this particular excavator. 

If the project manager had simply bought the equipment he thought best to lift the excavator, it’s very likely he would have damaged a $100,000+ piece of equipment  yikes. 

This is a common example of a rigger being called in to rig something for a construction project. 

WHAT IS A RIGGER IN CONSTRUCTION? SKILLS TO HAVE

Rigging involves the use of equipment like cranes, forklifts and large spreader-beams – this work often requires workers’ to be at heights. Working at heights is something a rigger should be comfortable with. 

Many rigger positions or construction positions with rigging as their primary role will offer some on-on-the-job and outside training, but that’s not say there aren’t useful skills to have. 

Some of the skills a rigger should have, are: 

  • Math & Science: Physics and other calculations are an everyday part of securing and rigging a load. Determining an objects’ centre of gravity, for example, is an essential skill. 
  • Operating Machinery: If you’ve skipped over the first part of this article, or it just didn’t sink in yet – operating machinery is another everyday part of rigging. Much of this machinery is electric, but manual pulley’s and hoists are used, too. If you have an interest in mechanics and problem-solving, construction rigging could be a great path for you. 
  • Adaptability: Typically, a rigger in construction will have to travel to different sites for work. Depending on the type of rigging done, a riggers’ travels can take you to faraway destinations – some of the places Hercules SLR’s riggers have gone to include Sable Island, Mexico and offshore destinations, which can be particularly isolated. 
  • Risk Management, Communication & Planning: Imagine this – you’re working with a construction crew, and you’re responsible to help build a commercial kitchen. You’ve rigged part of a large industrial walk-in refrigerator, but forgot to assess the hazardous risk for chemical refrigerants. The load’s weight hasn’t been distributed evenly and the load sways and crashes against an obstacle, damaging the container and causing it to leak. Many refrigerants contain harmful, environment-damaging chemicals and now, you’re the rigger responsible for damage to the environment, people and the equipment. Situations like this can have harmful financial, legal and fatal consequences for the rigger and everyone else involved. This is why it’s important to understand the machinery, physics and the risks associated with securing and lifting various loads – planning and being able to communicate with all involved on the job site is crucial to manage risk. 

Some of the things taught on a rigging course are:

  • Regulations/Standards
  • Rigging Planning
  • Rigging Triangle
  • Load Control
  • Sling angles
  • Rigging Equipment (slings, hitches, hardware, hooks)
  • Pre-use Inspection
  • Communications (radio and hand signals)
  • Practical Application of the equipment and principles 

WHAT IS A RIGGER IN CONSTRUCTION? THEIR (MANY) JOB TITLES

As we explored in this article, a rigger performs many different duties, functions and must be responsible for many different aspects of a lift. Industrial trades, like construction are often associated with rigging, but riggers’ are found across nearly every industry. They might not be called a rigger, either  someone who rigs might also have these job titles: 

Boat/Ship/Marine Rigger

Crane Erector

Crane Operator

Crane Rigger

Entertainment/Stage/Theatrical Rigger

Gear Repairer

Gripper/Stage Grip

Hook Tender

Labourer

Loft Rigger

Machinery Mover

Material Handler

Offshore Inspection Technician

Offshore Rigger

Parachute Rigger

Rigging Foreman

Rig Worker

Scaffolder

Slinger/Ring

Warehouse Associate 

 

WHAT IS A RIGGER IN CONSTRUCTION? CONCLUSION

A lot’s been covered in this blog post – and we’ve only scratched the surface of some the roles a rigger plays in construction. Riggers’ in construction are often found working as crane operators, inspectors, transport truckers or millwrights.

For more information on what a rigger in construction is, check out our blogs below or e-mail info@herculesslr.com to learn how Hercules SLR’s services can assist your construction crew.


FOR MORE INFORMATION ON RIGGING,

CHECK OUT OUR BLOGS:

WELCOME TO ONTARIO: BRAMPTON RIGGERS TALK CHAIN HOIST SAFETY 

RISK MANAGEMENT: SAFETY IS EVERY RIGGERS’ BUSINESS

BECOME A RIGGER: YOUR CAREER MAP


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Is a career in rigging right for you? Hercules SLR will lift you there.

Click here to learn more about career opportunities across Canada with Hercules SLR. 

Hercules SLR is part of the Hercules Group of Companies which offers a unique portfolio of businesses nationally with locations from coast to coast. Our companies provide an extensive coverage of products and services that support the success of a wide range of business sectors across Canada including the energy, oil & gas, manufacturing, construction, aerospace, infrastructure, utilities, oil and gas, mining and marine industries.

Hercules Group of Companies is comprised of: Hercules SLRHercules Machining & Millwright ServicesSpartan Industrial MarineStellar Industrial Sales and Wire Rope Atlantic.

Construction Safety Tips: secure your worksite

construction-safety-secure-worksite

Construction safety: a growing need

Construction safety—this looks different to many people. Whether it’s wearing safety glasses, full PPE or never working at the sight of rain, safety standards are rarely the same for all workers or worksites.

The construction industry is currently growing, therefore, construction safety is a growing issue, too. Builders now seek to accommodate a growing population by building apartments, condominiums and other buildings that maximize available space, says Statistics Canada. In 2017, the Canadian Home Builders’ Association reports nearly 600,00 on and off-site jobs in new home construction.

Basically, communities are growing and business is boomin’—project managers and contractors alike should consider ways they can secure their worksites. Read on for 6 construction safety tips from CONEXPO to help secure your worksite.

Construction safety: 6 tips

Communicate with law enforcement

Establish connection with local law enforcement units, ideally before construction begins. Ask about the crime in the local area, trends or other crimes common to the area.

Keep technology offsite

Theft of private information via technology is a real issue facing project managers. Take home computers at the end of the day, and limit private information on the worksite to limit computer-theft and a company crisis.

Post warning signs

Make the perimeter of your jobsite clear. Warning labels are essential to mark hazards or injuries that could happen to trespassers. Make sure signage accompanies other security measures (like barbed-wire fences) to clarify the warning. Proper signage can help a company avoid a slew of legal issues when and if intruders become injured.

construction-safety-danger-warning-sign
Post signs like this around the worksite perimeter.
Keep track of your equipment

Be sure to park heavy equipment in a well-lit and secure area, and have a checkout procedure in place for equipment, tools and materials on the worksite.  Lock gas caps and equipment when the worksite is closed with anti-theft devices. If using expensive or high-valued equipment, consider hiding a GPS-tracking device on it.

Understand potential theft

Look at your worksite and try to imagine potential situations—thieves may steal equipment that helps them steal other things. For example, a saw may be stolen to cut the lock from an excavator and drive it away. Try to position tools and equipment that can break locks away from each other.

Assign a loss prevention manager

Assign an employee to survey the worksite at the beginning and end of each day, track equipment checkout, maintain contact with law enforcement and track worksite entrances and exits.

Securing your worksite is an essential aspect of construction safety. Be proactive—protect worksite equipment and ensure productivity and progress isn’t slowed or stopped due to thieves or vandalism.

References: 
- https://www.chba.ca/CHBADocs/CHBA/HousingCanada/Information-Statistics/Impacts/1%20Canada%20Economic%20Impacts%20of%20New%20Home%20Construction%202017.pdf
- https://www.equipmentjournal.com/on-the-job/construction-site-safety/

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Hercules SLR is part of the Hercules Group of Companies which offers a unique portfolio of businesses nationally with locations from coast to coast. Our companies provide an extensive coverage of products and services that support the success of a wide range of business sectors across Canada including the energy, oil & gas, manufacturing, construction, aerospace, infrastructure, utilities, oil and gas, mining and marine industries.

Hercules Group of Companies is comprised of: Hercules SLRHercules Machining & Millwright ServicesSpartan Industrial MarineStellar Industrial Sales and Wire Rope Atlantic.