Rigging is a discipline that ensures safe lifting of overhead loads. If you have ever seen a crane lifting construction materials off the ground for example, know that a whole lot of effort and planning went into rigging before the lift ever began. Rigging is an important part of any lifting project regardless of its size or scope. As such, those who plan and oversee lifting projects really do have a lot of responsibility.
So who actually bears the responsibility for safe rigging and lifting? Both manufacturers and the people who use their products. Manufacturers can produce rigging supplies that meet all regulatory requirements and industry standards, but none of that would amount to much if a careless user created a dangerous situation during a lift. Likewise, the best riggers and lift masters could be left in a dangerous situation by careless manufacturers who do not meet their responsibilities.
Every lift starts with the equipment chosen for that lift. Lift masters place a certain amount of trust in manufacturers and the quality of the products they produce. This puts a tremendous burden of responsibility on product manufacturers.
Mytee Products, an Ohio company that sells rigging and lifting equipment, explains that manufacturers have four primary areas of responsibility. These are:
- Product and application information
- Clear product identification
- Product performance
- Training (where applicable).
The two most important for most lifts are product identification and product performance. Identification involves the manufacturers name and/or logo, the load rating and size of the particular piece of equipment, and serial numbers used for tracing purposes.
This information is necessary to guarantee that lift masters are not using products not properly rated for the lift in question. And should a product fail, a lift master needs to be able to go back to the manufacturer for answers.
In terms of product performance, lift masters have to know that the products they have chosen are up to the task. So manufacturers have a responsibility to make sure their products always meet or exceed standards for working load limits, ductility, impact, and fatigue.
Those responsible for managing rigging and lifting have a tremendous amount of responsibility as well. They are the ones overseeing the actual work, so it is their responsibility to make sure everything is done properly. Their four primary areas of responsibility are:
- Equipment Choices – The lift master must choose the appropriate gear for the lift in question. That gear includes things such as slings, hooks, chains, webbing straps, and so forth. Whatever is chosen must be strong enough to handle the weight of the load and designed in such a way to allow for maximum control.
- Standards and Recommendations – Next, all rigging and lifting equipment must be used in accordance with manufacturer recommendations and industry standards. That says nothing of standards imposed by law. It is up to whoever is managing a particular lift to make sure standards and recommendations are adhered to.
- Equipment Inspection – All equipment used during a lift should be inspected prior to the lift. Between lifts, equipment should be routinely examined and maintained.
- Worker Training – Finally, lift masters have the responsibility of ensuring that all workers participating in a particular lift have been trained adequately. Worker training must meet OSHA and ASME requirements.
As you can see, there is plenty of responsibility to go around when you are talking about rigging and lifting. Between manufacturers and users, things are only safe when everyone involved does things in the right way. Cut corners and the results could end up being disastrous.