Safety guides and audits to make your job as a safety professional easier


Dismantling the World’s Largest Tower Crane
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Hoisting and Rigging

Rigging and hoisting of steel members and materials are essential parts of the steel erection process. However, in addition to the dangers usually associated with cranes and derricks, steel erection also presents special hazards. These hazards include the use of cranes to hoist employees, suspend loads over certain employees, and perform pre-lifts.

Hoisting Equipment

Hoisting equipment is commercially manufactured lifting equipment designed to lift and position a load of known weight to a location at some known elevation and horizontal distance from the equipment’s center of rotation.

Note: A "come-a-long,” is not considered lifting equipment. It is a mechanical device usually consisting of a chain or cable attached at each end. It is used to facilitate movement of materials through leverage and is not considered hoisting equipment.

Pre-Shift Inspection

Crane Inspection

Cranes being used in steel erection activities must be visually inspected prior to each shift by a competent person.

The inspection must include observation for deficiencies during operation. At a minimum, this inspection must include the following:

  • All control mechanisms - look for maladjustments.
  • Control and drive mechanism - look for excessive wear of components and contamination by:
    • lubricants
    • eater
    • other foreign matter
  • Safety devices - look for defects, including but not limited to:
    • boom-angle indicators,
    • boom stops,
    • boom kick out devices,
    • anti-two block devices, and
    • load moment indicators where required
  • Air, hydraulic, and other pressurized lines, particularly those which flex in normal operation - look for:
    • deterioration, and
    • leakage
  • Hooks and latches - look for:
    • deformation
    • chemical damage
    • cracks
    • wear
  • Wire rope reeving - look for compliance with hoisting equipment manufacturer's specifications.
  • Electrical apparatus - look for:
    • malfunctioning
    • signs of excessive deterioration
    • dirt
    • moisture accumulation
  • Hydraulic system - look for proper fluid level
  • Tires - look for proper inflation and condition
  • Ground conditions around the hoisting equipment - look for:
    • proper support, including ground settling under and around outriggers
    • ground water accumulation
    • similar conditions
  • Hoisting equipment - look for:
    • level position, and
    • level position after each move and setup.

If any deficiency is identified, the competent person must immediately determine if it is a hazard.

If the competent person determines a hazard exists, the hoisting equipment must be removed from service until the deficiency has been corrected.

Operator and Rigger Inspection Responsibilities

Rigging Inspections

The operator must be responsible for those operations under the operator's direct control. Whenever there is any doubt as to safety, the operator must have the authority to:

  • Stop all hoisting activities.
  • Refuse to handle loads until safety has been assured.

A qualified rigger (a rigger who is also a qualified person) must inspect the below-hook rigging prior to each shift.

For more information on inspections see OSHA’s Steel Erection eTool page.

Working Under Loads

As mentioned earlier, routes for suspended loads must be pre-planned to make sure no employee is required to work directly below a suspended load except when they initially connect steel or hooking/unhooking loads.

When anyone works under suspended loads, the loads must be rigged by a qualified rigger, materials being hoisted must be rigged to prevent unintentional displacement, and self-closing safety latches must be used.

Multiple Lift Rigging Procedures

Calculating Safe Working Load
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Multiple lifts are hazardous for many reasons, including the risk of:

  • unhitching a load beneath a suspended load,
  • separate loads snagging,
  • loads becoming unbalanced, and
  • exceeding the safe working load limits.

A multiple lift may only be performed if the following criteria are met:

  • A multiple lift rigging assembly is used.
  • A maximum of five (5) members are hoisted per lift.
  • Only beams and similar structural members are lifted.

All employees engaged in the multiple lift have been trained in the following procedures:

  • The nature of the hazards associated with multiple lifts, and
  • The proper procedures and equipment to perform multiple lifts.

Multiple Lift Rigging Procedures (Continued)


No crane is permitted to be used for a multiple lift where such use is contrary to the manufacturer's specifications and limitations.

Multiple-lift rigging assembly capacity, for the total assembly and for each individual attachment point, must:

  • Be certified by the manufacturer or a qualified rigger.
  • Be based on the manufacturer's specifications.
  • Have a 5-to-1 safety factor for all components.

The total load must not exceed:

  • The rated capacity of the hoisting equipment specified in the hoisting equipment load charts.
  • The rigging capacity specified in the rigging rating chart.

The multiple lift rigging assembly must be rigged with members:

  • Attached at their center of gravity and maintained reasonably level;
  • Rigged from top down; and
  • Rigged at least 7 feet (2.1 m) apart.

The members on the multiple lift rigging assembly must be set from the bottom up.

Controlled load lowering must be used whenever the load is over the connectors.


Before beginning this quiz, we highly recommend you review the module material. This quiz is designed to allow you to self-check your comprehension of the module content, but only focuses on key concepts and ideas.

Read each question carefully. Select the best answer, even if more than one answer seems possible. When done, click on the "Get Quiz Answers" button. If you do not answer all the questions, you will receive an error message.

Good luck!

1. According to the text, which of the following is designed to lift and position a load of known weight to a location at some known elevation?

2. When inspecting lifting equipment air, hydraulic, and other pressurized lines, particularly those which flex in normal operation, be sure to check for _____.

3. What must the competent person do if he or she determines a lifting/hoisting equipment hazard exists?

4. When performing a multiple lift, a maximum of ____ members may be hoisted per lift.

5. The multiple lift rigging assembly must be rigged at least _____ apart.

Have a great day!

Important! You will receive an "error" message unless all questions are answered.