Hoisting and rigging safety is one of the most critical aspects of mechanical lifting operations. Rigging and hoisting operations are responsible for a large number of fatalities and serious incidents across the globe. The consequences of these accidents occurring are immense and as such, safety measures must always be taken to reduce these risks. This article explores the risks present in lifting operations and highlights the essential safety procedures required to avoid them.
Industry Regulations, Standards and Guidelines
Licenses are required for all basic (RB), intermediate (RI) and advanced rigging work (RA), as well as all crane and hoist operations. Accreditation training provides participants with the necessary knowledge and skills to undertake rigging work safely and competently. It also affords workers the knowledge of applicable legislation, standards, guidelines and risk management associated with these operations.
However, despite the copious regulations which apply, incidents continue to occur. Fatality is likely to occur in incidents where a load slips or rigging fails but may also occur due to a number of factors including machinery fault, unsafe conditions or the inability of workers to identify hazards.
To address these concerns, we explore a number of best practice recommendations for hoisting and rigging safety which aim to prevent fatalities and serious incidents.
Hoisting and Rigging Safety
It’s essential that workers operating hoisting and rigging equipment are trained and certified in both safety and operational procedures. While accidents occur for a number of reasons, they are often a result of the rigger lacking the necessary knowledge. Before commencing work it’s critical that the following steps are taken and all workers informed and knowledgeable about the specific task.
Before commencing operations, all equipment and hardware must be inspected thoroughly. As discussed in our blog, Top Causes of Hoist Failure, the most common reasons for the failure of a wire rope hoist are:
- Core Protrusion
- Corrosion (ie. improper lubrication or by operating in a coastal environment)
- Fatigue (ie. operating beyond the hoist’s operational cycle)
- Tension (ie. overloading of rope)
While the rope is the most detrimental piece of equipment, be sure to inspect all equipment including the slings and other hardware and hoisting and rigging safety equipment.
The safety of rigging operations depends on the rigger knowing the following factors:
- The weight of the load
- How to operate the rigging equipment involved
- The capacity of the hoisting device
- The working load limit of hardware including the rope and slings
- Where the equipment is operating (ie. surface conditions)
Once the equipment is deemed safe and all weights and capacities are known, they must then determine the correct method of lifting the load so that it remains stable. This involves working knowledge of safe practices in rigging, lifting and landing loads.
All workers must be able to identify hazards, anticipate issues before they occur and be able to stop a job immediately if required. This includes being aware of factors that can affect hoisting and rigging safety as well as factors that reduce the capacity of the equipment.
It’s essential that all personnel and crews are aware of the elements of the lift and there are communication standards in place, including what signals will be used to communicate.
Factors that Affect Hoisting and Rigging Safety
Prior to commencing work, hazard identification and risk assessment should take place. This involves identifying the following factors and planning around them:
- Working Load Limit (WLL) not known
- Defective components
- Unsuitable equipment
- Hazardous winds
- Unsafe weather conditions
- Electrical contact with power cables
- Loose, unused slings
Factors that Reduce Capacity
The working load limits that apply to hoisting and rigging equipment are based on ideal conditions, there are multiple factors that can reduce the capacity of the hoist. These include:
- Condition of equipment
- Dynamic motions
- Weight of lifting tackle
- Damaged slings
By taking these factors into account, workers can prevent overloading the equipment and therefore prevent the load from slipping or the rigging from failing.
In order to better control lifting and hoisting safety and prevent serious accidents or fatalities, the following principles can be taken:
1. Plan the Lift
This includes assessing the lift, the lift method, the equipment, the number of people required, identifying potential hazards and completing a risk assessment prior to commencing.
2. Control the Lift
Identify who is in charge of the operation (the PIC) and allow them to ensure the lift is carried out according to the plan. Ensure all radio and signal communications are operational, and all personnel are aware of their individual responsibilities.
3. Ensure Competence
Ensure the training, accreditation and competence of every person involved in the operation and provide refresher training before commencing operations.
4. Check Equipment
Ensure that all the equipment is within operational standards, in good working order and is fitted with the appropriate safety equipment.
5. Inspection, Maintenance and Certification
All lifting equipment must be visually inspected before use, well maintained and certified for safe use for the intended purpose.
6. Ensure Load Stability
Ensure that the load does not exceed the WLL, including both its dynamic and static capacities. All loads must be verified before lifting to correctly managing hoisting and rigging safety.
Hire High-Quality Equipment In-Line With Hoisting and Rigging Safety Standards
Winch Hire Australia are experts in lifting, rigging and safety for a variety of different industries. We provide a number of services including equipment repairs, maintenance and testing, inspection, rope replacement as well as rigging and winching product selection.
Our wide range of products available for hire adheres to top-grade industry safety standards and come with all certifications provided.
For the best in hoisting and rigging safety call us on 07 3376 2888, submit an enquiry via our contact form or visit us in Sumner Park, Brisbane.