Construction jobs often involve the lifting and moving of equipment from one place to another. While this is relatively easy for smaller jobs, bigger projects present a more difficult challenge.
Rigging is typically identified as the process through which heavy items are secured, lifted, or pulled from one place to another. It’s regarded as one of the most hazardous jobs in the construction industry, and as such, is handled with great care. This article will aim to cover the materials used in rigging and the safety precautions to take when performing the procedure.
Types of Rigging Hardware
Rigging is, typically, an industry-specific activity. The implication is that the equipment used during rigging may vary slightly depending on the industry you work in. However, there are six standard tools that most riggers utilize. These tools are typically owned by the construction company, but can also be rented from organizations like Tway lifting. They are:
These hooks are designed for securing and moving heavy objects while eliminating slippage. The hooks are typically made of alloy steel and vary greatly based on the safe weight load indication. The safe weight load, as the name infers, is the maximum weight the hook is designed to carry. Beyond that, the hook may be destroyed. There are two broad categories of rigging hooks – overhead rigging hooks and non-overhead rigging hooks.
Overhead rigging hooks are used for overhead lifting of materials. The kinds of hooks appropriate for overhead lifting include clevok hooks, eye hooks, S hooks, plated hooks, and sorting hooks. Your choice of a hook depends on the kind of material you want to lift.
Non-overhead rigging hooks are used for pulling or securing a heavy load. They don’t have the same requirements as overhead rigging hooks. There are two common types – clevis hooks and eye hooks (without cradle grab and slip hooks). All hooks are sold by the throat or hook opening size and are measured in inches.
They are commonly used in place of hooks for much heavier loads. Shackles are ideal for loads of 6000 lbs, and can carry up to 11,000 lbs. They are used with cables, ropes, slings, etc., to make connections. They contain removable pins that are used to secure the connection before lifting. Compared to hooks, they are more durable and more secure.
There are two types of shackles – the anchor pattern and the chain patter. The anchor pattern is more common due to the larger surface area inside the shackle body. This increased area allows for more contact with the connected item.
Eye bolts are used at connection junctures for rigging equipment. They are fasteners with a threaded shaft and a ring-shaped head. They come in several sizes and material types, with enough diversity to fill any need you have. There are two popular types – the straight eye bolt and the shoulder eye bolt. Straight eye bolts are used in making straight-line connections, while the shoulder eye bolts are used for angular links.
Stainless Steel Nuts
Often used alongside eye bolts, these nuts are made from type 316 stainless steel. They can be either left-hand or right-hand threaded depending on the rigging application. The popular types used in rigging are hex nuts, dome nuts, wing nuts, ball ends, and lifting eye nuts.
Wire ropes are made of strands of metal wire twisted into a helix to form a rope. They are typically made from non-alloy carbon steel. They are used in a lot of rigging and lifting operations for moving large objects. Your choice of wire may alternate between coated, non-coated, and galvanized depending on your specifications. They are also differentiated by size, with the most common sizes being 6 x 19 and 6 x 37.
They are used alongside wire ropes for moving large objects. They are made from polyester, nylon, or other high-performance materials and are easy to move around. They are common in rigging because they are inexpensive, come in a lot of different shapes and sizes, and can be easily replaced. They are ideal for carrying heavy but delicate items because of the high-performance material. They can also be used to carry irregular-shaped objects.
Pulleys and Blocks
Pulleys and blocks are used in rigging sites for lifting weighty items. It involves applying the well-known pulley system to maneuver the objects. The blocks are used as weights, with the aid of wire ropes, to lift the objects. There are different types of blocks, but the most commonly used are the snatch block, tilt-up block, and logging blocks. They are available in different sizes with varying weights up to 30 tons.
Safety Tips for Using Rigging Equipment
Rigging is typically considered a high-risk job, and as such, there are safety precautions that must be taken to preserve the lives and properties on-site. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is responsible for detailing the safety and health requirements for riggers. According to OSHA, riggers must be:
- Appropriately informed and trained on the hazard associated with rigging.
- Competent and able to comply with stated procedures.
- Aware of where the crane is operating.
- Conversant with the required rigging techniques and equipment for the job.
- Able to anticipate issues before they happen.
- Able to discontinue a job faced with unsafe conditions.
- Conversant with the weight of the load and the capacities of the crane or any other rigging gear used.
Other OSHA tips for lifting heavy equipment are:
- Riggers should always keep their hands and feet away from pinch points.
- Riggers must know about stacked materials, so that they aren’t knocked over with a swinging load.
- Riggers should check for overhead power lines before lifting a load.
- Riggers should send out warnings to nearby workers before raising, lowering, or swinging a load.
- Riggers should make use of a spotter to ensure proper clearance is maintained.
- Check the landing area to make sure it’s clear before landing a load.
Rigging is an essential part of major building projects. Most construction workers will have to work on or around rigging equipment at least once in their careers. As such, it makes sense that they familiarize themselves with the knowledge and safety requirements of working with one.