Safety shall be given top priority during rigging operation as lack of knowledge or carelessness may lead to fatal accidents. In order to promote safe rigging habits, the most common hazards associated with rigging are listed in this article.
Safe Working Load Limit
Never exceed the Safe Working Load (SWL) limit / Rated Capacity. The safe working load is the maximum load which should ever be applied to the product, when the product is new and when the load is uniformly applied for straight line pull only. Safe working load limit will reduce for side loading. All ratings are based upon usual environmental conditions, and consideration must be given to unusual conditions such as extreme high or low temperatures, chemical solutions or vapors, prolonged immersion in salt water, etc. Such conditions or high-risk applications may necessitate reducing the safe working load limit. Safe work load limit will not apply if product has been welded or otherwise modified.
Matching of Components
Components must match. Make certain that components such as hooks, links or shackles, etc. used with wire rope (or chain) are of suitable material and strength to provide adequate safety protection. Attachments must be properly installed and must have a safe work load limit at least equal to the product with which they are used.
Keep out from under a raised load. As per the Notice in National Safety Council Accident Prevention Manual (USA):
All employees working on cranes or hoists or assisting in hooking or arranging a load should be instructed to keep out from under the load. From a safely standpoint, one factor is paramount – Conduct all lifting operations in such a manner, that if there were an equipment failure, no personnel would be injured. This means keep out from under a raised load and keep out of the line of force of any load."
Avoid impacting, jerking or swinging of load. Safe working load limit is based on static loading. A shock load is generally significantly greater than the static load.
Inspect products regularly for visible damage, cracks, wear, elongation, rust, etc. Protect all products from corrosion. No product can keep operating at rated capacity indefinitely. Periodic inspections help determine when to replace a product and reduce rigging hazards. Keep inspection records to help pinpoint problems and to insure periodic inspection intervals.
Frequency of inspection will depend on environmental conditions, application, storage of product prior to use, frequency of use, whether or not life, limb or valuable property are at risk, etc. When in doubt, inspect product prior to each use. Carefully check each item to be inspected for wear, deformation, cracks or elongation-signs. Rust damage is another potential hazard. When in doubt about the extent of corrosion or other damage, withdraw the items from service. Destroy, rather than discard, items that have been judged defective. They might be used again by someone not aware of the hazard of the defect.
Follow all statutory and regulatory compliance. In India, as per Factories Act 1948, all lifting devices and pressure vessels in a factory need to be inspected every year by a competent person.