Crane rigging is a high-risk operation that requires careful planning to prevent accidents on a construction site. Recent data reveals that many crane incidents result from falling objects. When loads are secured incorrectly, they can swing or come off the slings and fall on property and construction workers. To avoid such unfortunate incidences, it's essential to consider the following four tips when planning crane rigging operations on a construction site.
Choose the right rigging techniques
There are various rigging methods that work best under different conditions. The techniques are:
- Single and double choker hitching
- Vertical hitching
- Basket rigging
The best rigging technique depends on factors such as the type and weight of the load, the shape of the load and prevailing weather. For example, if you are rigging a long steel block, basket hitching would be the best technique to prevent the load from swaying or slipping off the slings. Conversely, you can use vertical or choker hitching to rig a square concrete block.
Besides choosing the right rigging technique, you must also secure the load correctly. Using the wrong slings or securing the slings incorrectly can cause the load to sway or slip out of the ties and fall on people or property. Also, when rigging multiple loads such as steel bars or pipes, tie them together before securing the slings to prevent them from slipping off midair.
Pay attention to crane and sling capacities
Overloading a mobile crane can cause it to overturn and injure the operator and other workers. Therefore, before commencing any rigging jobs, assess the crane's load capacity. Hire a crane that can handle the weight of your heaviest load. When stacking loads, take care not to exceed the crane's capacity.
When rigging, remember to account for the weight of the slings and other below-the-hook devices such as the spreader bars and lifting beams. Also, consider the maximum load capacity of your rigging gear. Overloading your chains and slings can cause them to break midair and drop your loads. When securing the loads, remember not to twist or knot the slings in an attempt to shorten them. Knotting reduces the load limit of the ties and increases the risk of overloading.
Designate load handling to licensed riggers
Load handling is a sensitive task that should only be handled by licensed riggers. When securing a load, the rigger has to:
- Calculate the load's weight against the crane's capacity
- Choose the rigging gear with the appropriate load limits
- Determine the best rigging technique to maximise safety
- Assess sling angles and sling tension on different rigs
- Detach loads after successful rigging
Simple mistakes during rigging can prove fatal and costly. Therefore, incompetent workers shouldn't load or offload cranes. Before hiring riggers and crane operators, ensure that they hold the right high-risk work licences, as prescribed by Safe Work Australia.
Service and repair rigging equipment as needed
Choosing the right crane and employing the appropriate rigging techniques means nothing if your equipment is faulty. Worn or damaged crane components and rigging gear can cause loads to fall midair and lead to serious accidents on the site. Poorly maintained equipment and components also increase downtime on construction sites and slow down rigging operations.
Therefore, service your rigging equipment as needed to maximise safety and prevent downtime. When using rented equipment, inspect it beforehand to ensure it is in excellent condition. Create a checklist for daily and weekly crane and rigging gear inspections. Some checks to perform include:
- Inspect chains for wear, corrosion and distortion
- Check rigging hooks for damage and deformities
- Inspect boom components for corrosion, cracks and premature wear
- Check the crane's hydraulic system
- Ensure the controllers and push buttons are working correctly
- Inspect the crane's tyres for wear and tear
The inspector should sign the checklist document after performing the checks to ensure accountability.
Cranes are useful for rigging heavy loads on construction sites. However, they can cause safety issues when used incorrectly. Consider the above rigging tips to maximise safety on the site. Contact a company that offers crane hire services to learn more.