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Crane Rigging – A Near Miss Story

- December 3, 2018 by Erin Silva, CSP (View all posts by Erin)

There are important reasons why the training requirements exist for both riggers and signal persons. In this blog, I’ll share an important story that took place in early 2013.

I was doing my normal rounds on a project I was working on when I came upon a crane pick. When I walked up, I could clearly see they were trying to keep a bad situation from getting worse. I took note that there was a main larger load and then a few boxes on top of it. As the load approached the building, I watched as three small unsecured boxes slid towards the man on the receiving end and one of the boxes fell 8 stories down. Luckily, the load just barely cleared the edge of the building, but it almost dropped to the ground. No one was hurt, but after investigation I found out the main load was indeed rigged properly. What happened is that when the boxes shifted, it caused that main load to shift and thus enabled the sling holding the main load to shift. Because of the boxes, they could have lost the entire load.

To keep this from happening, here are a few things everyone should consider:

1. Crane operators should always ask for rigger and signal person qualifications.  This is something the crane operator must ensure since they are required to stop the lift if they don’t feel it’s safe.

2. Adhere to OSHA requirements for training. OSHA states:

“All signal persons must be qualified and tested through a written or oral test and a practical test, and the qualification must be documented [§ 1926.1428].”

“A qualified rigger is needed during assembly/disassembly of cranes, when employees are engaged in hooking, unhooking, or guiding the load, or in the initial connection of a load to a component or structure and are within the fall zone.” 1926.1404; 1926.1425].”

3. Create and require a pick plan for all crane picks. Make sure everyone sticks to that plan or rewrite it. This includes both general, critical and production (repetitive) type of lifts.

If you would like more resources about a pick plan and training requirements, please reach out to your ICW Group Risk Management Consultant – we’re happy to help!