Skip to content Skip to footer

Avoiding common crane rigging mistakes

Did you see the recent “viral” video of a construction worker hanging precariously by his hand from the end of a crane block on a Toronto jobsite?

According to reports, the man, a rigger with PCL Constructors Canada Inc., became entangled with the crane’s tagline after securing a load (which was suspended above him.)

The good news is that the man was safely lowered to the ground with no serious injuries. The bad news? Well, that the accident happened in the first place.

Across social media, commentators replied to the video with statements such as, “How does this happen?” and “I’ve been in construction for 12 years and can’t figure out how he ended up there.”

While exact details as to how the incident occurred have not yet been disclosed, clearly, something went wrong.

Common mistakes when rigging a crane’s load – not inspecting the gear or equipment; not using the correct sling, device or hitch for the application; and failing to ensure sling protection – can have dire consequences, yet these are completely avoidable when workers have proper crane rigger training and/or updated rigging certification.

Qualified and certified

According to the National Commission for the Certification of Crane Operators (NCCCO,) a certified rigger is “a person who has been trained and certified to handle and move loads. The level of certification depends upon the individual’s training, knowledge, skill base and ability to perform functions related to the selection, inspection and proper use of rigging equipment.”

This NCCCO’s Level I and Level II Rigger Certification courses provide students with the knowledge and skills necessary to complete their jobs safely and effectively. Upon completing Level I rigging certification, students should be able to demonstrate or have knowledge of how to:

  • Inspect rigging before use
  • Identify and attach rigging with basic knowledge of hitch configurations, capacities and basic knots
  • Recognize associated hazards
  • Signal operations
  • Use various types of rigging equipment and basic hitches and their applications

Looking back at that viral video, did the rigger inspect the equipment? Did he take the time to recognize any potential hazards?

Let’s now take a look at Level II crane rigger certification.

In addition to knowing and demonstrating Rigger Level I knowledge and skills, a Certified Rigger that completes Level II can select rigging components and procedures based on rigging capacity. A Level II Rigger can perform the following rigging tasks unsupervised:

  • Estimate load weight and center of gravity
  • Identify lift points
  • Determine and select rigging based on loading
  • Perform pre-use inspection of rigging and lift points
  • Identify and attach rigging with knowledge of hitch configurations and load angle factors, rigging capacities and load integrity
  • Understand load dynamics and associated hazards
  • As applicable, Level II Riggers will also have a working knowledge of hoisting equipment, winches, jacks, industrial rollers and similar equipment.

Did the rigger preform a pre-use inspection of rigging and lift points? Did he identify and attach rigging with knowledge of hitch configurations and load angle factors, rigging capacities and load integrity?

If a person is properly certified and trained, then they should possess the skills and knowledge to do their jobs safely and effectively. While it remains unclear if the man dangling hundreds of feet in the air from the crane had received Level I or Level II rigger certification training, one important question remains: Would this incident have happened if he did have the right training?

Trouble logging into your account?

As a result of our new website, we kindly ask existing customers to register a new account at checkout.