Rigging is a major component of what we do as a company. Whether it is picking old bridge girders off of a bridge that is scheduled for demo, placing new structural steel on a construction project, or simply moving materials around a jobsite, rigging is an activity that is performed daily. The safety issues with rigging jobsite materials are fairly easy to address if we follow proper procedures. Inspecting cranes and hoisting machinery, inspecting rigging components prior to use, and planning each pick in advance all help minimize the chance of something going wrong.
The majority of the hoisting equipment that we use on our projects, the company owns, including two link belt cranes. All of the equipment is thoroughly inspected frequently and repairs are made when a deficiency is noted. S&R takes great pride in the equipment that they own and keep all of the equipment in tip-top condition.
When talking about rigging inspection, it is really up to our field employees to make sure that rigging is inspected before each pick is made. This field inspection is critical to their safety and to a successful lifting operation. Recently, on one of our bridge replacement projects, a crane operator pointed out that he thought a wire rope choker was beginning to show signs of wear. The project supervision took the choker out of service and replaced it. It is not worth taking a chance of something going wrong when a new wire rope choker or synthetic sling costs under $50 to replace.
Finally, we address the lift planning. It can be something as simple as a field meeting between the crew that is involved, or it may require a that critical lift plan be developed. Either way, the hazards involving the lift need to be identified and addressed. This means, among other things, that the rigging components need to be identified, the path of lift will be determined, and the communication between the operator and signal person needs to be established.
Rigging operations will always be a part of our business. For this reason, safe rigging practices are a major topic in our safety training, including weekly safety meetings and when we have the opportunity to get all of our employees together for safety training workshops. If we plan each lift and take the necessary precautions to address hazards beforehand, the chances of a rigging failure will be greatly reduced.