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:
- 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:
Offshore Inspection Technician
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 firstname.lastname@example.org to learn how Hercules SLR’s services can assist your construction crew.
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