When it comes to the importance of lifting and rigging equipment, you will find there are several industries that rely on high-quality heavy lifting tools to haul and move loads. From construction and warehouses to the oil and gas industry, there is no shortage of people who rely on you to choose the right lifting and rigging equipment to get jobs done!
However, with such a wide range of lifting and rigging equipment that these industries require – such as shackles, pulleys, slings, and hooks all with their own specifications and working load limits – how do you know if you’re really going to choose right rigging and lifting equipment for your jobs? For those new to this industry, this task is much easier said than done. Thankfully, we’re here to help with some tips while choosing rigging and lifting equipment to consider in your search!
Tips for Choosing the Right Lifting and Rigging Equipment
While certain industries may require specific tools to ensure a job is done correctly, rigging is still a common operation for most due to the frequent use of cranes. No matter how small a lifting job is, you should keep these lifting and rigging tips in mind when choosing equipment to make sure you’re prioritizing safety above all else.
1. Identify Your Load Limit
There is nothing more important than knowing your working load limits. While it may seem like common sense, you cannot know which rigging and lifting equipment to buy without knowing how much you’re going to lift. A working load limited is the maximum amount of weight that a tool can safely handle when lifting, moving and carrying. On high-quality equipment, this rating will be easy to locate and read – and the most important tip to keep in mind when using rigging and lifting equipment is that WLL are not recommendations, they’re requirements.
OSHA states to never use any rigging or lifting hardware on loads that exceed their rated limits, as it will increase the risk of damages to your equipment, load, or person! What is recommended is using equipment that has a higher rated capacity than the weight of the load you may be moving.
Every piece of equipment – from wire ropes, snatch blocks, chains, and slings – is made with specific limits that are tested and set by the manufacturer, and these limits vary depending on the size and material. If you want to make sure you’re going to choose the right rigging and lifting equipment, you’re going to have to choose equipment with the right load limits for your jobs.
2. Know Your Budget and Needs
Another set of tips while choosing rigging and lifting equipment is pinpointing your budget and needs or requirements before every job. You don’t want to show up to the site and find you don’t have the proper equipment on hand, and you shouldn’t be accepting jobs that require you to purchase more equipment and exceed your available budget. Having high-quality and heavy-duty equipment is necessary, but you shouldn’t need to break your bank to get it.
You can know what your needs are when taking a look at the loads and jobs you accept. The type, size, shape, and material you’ll be moving are critical to choosing the type of equipment to use. Lifting heavy objects with sharp edges may cut traditional lifting slings, so chains or steel wire rope slings will be a better investment. On the other hand, a more fragile load that you won’t want to be dented or scratched should be handled with care, so slings should be used in these cases.
3. Assess Your Environment
In addition to considering your budget, needs, and load type while considering these lifting and rigging tips, you should also be considering the available space for lifting in any given environment. You may find yourself in a situation where a crane is impossible or very difficult to maneuver, thus making lifting the object more difficult. Here are two environmental considerations to keep in mind, and how they could affect your rigging and lifting equipment:
- Temperature: The temperature of your work environment can have detrimental effects on certain types of hardware. Steel is an extraordinarily tough material, so any chains or slings made with it can withstand extremely high temperatures. However, material like nylon – common with synthetic slings – can’t fluctuate between extremely high and low temperatures. You could risk damaging or breaking your equipment by exposing them to extreme temperatures they are not designed to withstand.
- Humidity: While most high-quality rigging and lifting equipment should be very corrosion-resistant, adding high humidity or water to the mix could spell disaster for you. If you’re working near bodies of water or in harsh weather – like snow or rainstorms – consider investing in tools that won’t have such a high risk of corrosion, like stainless steel and webbing.
4. Check Equipment Condition
Lifting is no easy job, and your lifting tools will be under intense pressure and harsh conditions nearly every time you use them. For this reason, an inspection of your equipment is one of our crucial lifting and rigging tips to remember! If even a minor piece of rigging hardware is damaged or out of place, it could risk damaging the entire piece or load.
Inspect your tools before every job, even if they’re only a few hours apart, and immediately replace any damaged rigging and lifting equipment you find. In industries like this, you cannot take risks. Protecting your equipment could mean protecting a life, down the road.
5. OSHA Compliance
There are several requirements and laws in place that you should know and follow if you intend to work in the rigging and lifting industry. OSHA Compliance has these rules listed on their website, but every state may have additional laws or regulations in place too. Doing your homework and research before a job is another one of our integral tips while choosing rigging and lifting equipment that many people may brush past.
Violating an OSHA regulation could mean big fines coming out of your wallet, so read the OSHA regulations regarding safety with rigging and lifting equipment.
6. Consider Unplanned Circumstances
There are some skills that are learned while on the job, and our next lifting and rigging tips fall under that category. There is no way to plan for the unplanned, but you can always be prepared for the risks and dangers of the job. When working with lifting and rigging hardware, the most common type of dangerous and unplanned situation is a sling, wire rope, or chain breaking and dropping the load.
It’s important to not put yourself or anyone else in harm’s way of the falling debris – depending on the height from which it fell, the load will either be slightly damaged or demolished, and there is little you can do. Stay clear of where impact is going to be made, and do your best to avoid this situation by checking your equipment before every single lifting job and not using previously damaged equipment, even for lighter loads!
Additional hazards and circumstances that can occur during lifting jobs could be swinging loads, moving equipment, tripping hazards, uneven or slippery surfaces, attempting to handle loads or equipment by hand, and working from high places. So, how can you prepare for the unexpected?
- Write out the plan you have for the lift. A lift plan will make sure that the proper equipment and rigging style is used and will keep everyone on the same page – and, evidently, keep everyone safe.
- If you can, travel to the site or location beforehand to get a good idea of the environment you’ll be working in and of any hazards – such as potential lines of fire – before you start setup for lifting.
- Inspect all equipment and rigging before lifts. If even one thing seems out of place, stop the lift and fix it before moving forward.
- Properly store your rigging and lifting equipment after a job is done to prevent any of your hardware from being damaged.
- Stay away from the load when in the air. This is the best way to avoid injury should it sway or fall.
Proper planning is important for avoiding horrible accidents; the best way to prepare for the unexpected is to be diligent in the safety and quality of your equipment and planning ahead.
7. Purchase from a High-Quality Supplier
Though this is the final of our lifting and rigging tips, that doesn’t make it any less important than the rest. Your rigging tools are going to experience intense work conditions, which mean you need tools that will be able to handle the pressure without any performance difficulties. Do not sacrifice the quality of your rigging and lifting equipment!
While high-quality products do often mean high prices, you will be making an investment into hardware that will last several jobs and help you make a profit back. The importance of safety with lifting equipment cannot be understated, so make sure you find a reliable supplier for high-quality rigging and lifting equipment.
Cheap equipment oftentimes leads to accidents, so don’t pick a supplier simply because they’re more cost-effective. A reliable supplier will have a good track record and will be willing to help you to choose the right rigging and lifting equipment! Investing in a good supplier and high-quality equipment is an investment in safety.
It’s important to know that our list of tips for choosing rigging and lifting equipment is not by any means the end-all-be-all for lifting and rigging tips! Each job is going to be different and present its own unique situations – but hopefully, you will be more prepared and ready for whatever life throws at you thanks to our list!
The success of a job relies on having the right equipment on hand; while this might seem daunting, you now have a list of lifting and rigging tips to help make that decision easier!