Safe work practices

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*This information does not take precedence over OH&S. All employees should be familiar with the Saskatchewan Employment Act and the OH&S Regulations.

General: Rigging looks like an easy operation that requires no particular skill or experience. But if you have an idea that just anybody can do it, you’re on the wrong track. Too many men have lost fingers or hands or have suffered more serious injuries because they thought “anybody can do that”. Here are some do’s and don’ts to remember.

  1. Determine the weight of the object or load prior to lift to make sure that the lifting equipment can operate within its capabilities.

  2. Where chain slings are used, select only alloy chain slings and NEVER exceed the working load limits.

  3. Use slings of proper length. Never shorten a line by twisting or knotting. With chain slings, never use bolts or nuts.

  4. Inspect all slings thoroughly at specified intervals and maintain them in good condition.

  5. Inspect each chain or sling for cuts, nicks, bent links, bent hooks, etc., before each use. If in doubt, don’t use it.

  6. Ensure that safety latches on hoods are in good working condition.

  7. Estimate the center of gravity or point of balance. The lifting device should be positioned immediately above the estimated centre of gravity.

  8. Make sure a tagline is used to control the load.

  9. Name one member of the crew to act as a signalman, and instruct the equipment operator to recognize signals from that person only. Ensure that the signalman understands techniques of proper signaling, and that he is properly identified by the use of distinctive clothing.

  10. Make sure the hoist or crane is directly over the load.



  1. Each rigger must be sure he’s in the clear before he gives an “all ready” to the signalman. When you have positioned the sling or choker you’re using, release it, if possible, before you give the “all ready” signal. If you must hold the sling or choker in position, be sure your hand is clear of pinch points. If fact, your hand should be far enough away that there is no possibility of a frayed wire catching your glove and jerking your hand into a pinch point. (Of course, frayed cables should never be used.)

  2. The signalman must be careful not to order a move until he has received the “all ready” signal from each crew.

  3. Look over the place where the load is to be set. Remove unnecessary blocks or other objects that might fly up if struck by the load.

  4. Make sure all personnel stand clear from the load being lifted.

  5. Never permit anyone to ride the lifting hood or the load.

  6. Watch out for the roll or swing of the load. Since it’s almost impossible to position the hook exactly over the load center, there will almost always be a swing or roll. Anticipate the direction of the swing or roll and work away from it.

  7. Never place yourself between material, equipment or any stationary object and the load swing. Also, stay away from stacked material that may be knocked over by swinging load.

  8. Never stand under the load, and keep from under the boom as much as possible. Chances are that nothing will break, but it is always a possibility.

  9. Never work under a suspended load.

  10. When lowering or setting the load, be sure your feet and all other parts of your body are out from under. Set the load down easily and slowly so that if it rolls on the blocking, it will be a slow shift that you can get away from.

  11. Make sure the load is stable before slackening the sling or chain.

  12. Never leave a load suspended when the hoist or crane is unattended.

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