Todd Jerome Jenkins, MS, CSP, SMS, CHST, STSC

Safety Aficionado & Ph.D. Student

Weekly Safety Topic – Rigging

Rigging looks like an easy task that requires no special skill or experience. Don’t be fooled. Many people have lost fingers and hands or suffered more serious injuries because they thought there was nothing to rigging a load. Nothing could be further from the truth. Only trained and authorized people may rig loads. You must be a qualified rigger before being authorized to rig loads.

Protect your hands. If it isn’t possible to release the chain, sling, or choker, be sure your hand is clear of pinch points. Keep your hand far enough away so that a frayed wire or splinter on the cable can’t catch your glove and jerk your hand into a pinch point. Speaking of gloves, always wear them.

Know your signals. Appoint one trained and qualified person to act as the signal person and instruct the crane operator not to accept signals from anyone except in an emergency. The signal person must not communicate a move until getting an “all clear” from each person on the crew.  

Watch for shifts in the load. It’s almost impossible to position the hook over the load’s center. Watch out for swing or roll. Anticipate the direction of the swing or roll. Never place yourself between material, equipment, or other stationary objects. Stay away from stacked material that the swinging load may knock over. Just staying out of the swing radius of the load altogether is the safest thing to do.

Tips to Remember

  1. Always check for overhead powerlines before lifting a load.
  2. Inspect rigging before use.
  3. Stay out from under the load.
  4. Remove unnecessary or loose objects that might fall when the load is lifted.
  5. When it’s necessary to guide a load, use a tagline or hook.
  6. If you have to walk with a load, keep it as close to the ground as possible.
  7. Inspect the spot where the load is to be landed.
  8. Set the load down carefully and slowly.
  9. Keep your feet and all other body parts in the clear when lowering or setting a load.


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