Understanding Material Handling and Rigging Regulations

Complete Rigging Safety Solutions

Rigging safety is a critical part of shipyard and construction employment, used to lift heavy materials to heights with cranes and other devices. Riggers also act as signalman. Improper rigging of a load or a rigging failure can expose riggers and other workers nearby to a variety of potential hazards.

Annually about 50 riggers are killed when loads have slipped from the rigging, or when the rigging has failed. To protect workers against accident, OSHA has a series of strict rigging requirements. These requirements call for you to maintain rigging equipment, properly train employees and more.

By cutting down on accidents through an effective program, your company can not only improve its profitability, but remove the risk for a costly OSHA fine or lawsuit.

Hazards of Rigging in Crane Operation

Rigging involves the use of cranes and other large pieces of equipment to lift steel and other materials. OSHA heavily regulates this practice.. With at least 225,000 cranes operating in the U.S., accidents are bound to happen, but the majority of crane accidents resulting in fatalities and injuries are preventable, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). More than 50% of all mobile crane accidents are the result of mistakes made when the crane was being set up. All of these accidents are preventable by following the manufacturer’s recommendations for assembly and dismantling, by using the correct components, and by observing the necessary precautions.

Other hazards associated with cranes include fall hazards created by:

  • Uneven working surfaces.
  • Wet and slippery working surfaces.
  • Working surfaces not cleared of obstructions.
  • Improper use of portable ladder.
  • Unprotected sides, bulkhead openings, deck holes more than 5 ft.

Struck-by and Crushing Hazards created by:

  • Gear and equipment not properly inspected.
  • Defective gear and equipment.
  • Moving parts and equipment.
  • Improperly rigged loads.
  • Improper use of tag line allowing hoisting material to swing out of control.
  • Loads swung or suspended overhead.
  • Hazardous locations between a swinging load and fixed object.

Electrical Hazards created by:

  • Use of hoisting and hauling equipment near energized lines.
  • Tools and equipment not properly grounded.
  • Defective electrical tools.
  • Worn or frayed electric cables.

While the potential for injury is staggering, the financial impact they place on employers is overwhelming. An annual study conducted by the Liberty Mutual Research Institute for Safety in 2010, revealed that the direct cost to employers from injuries in 2008 was $53.42 billion. [1] Furthermore, the study concluded that accidents at the workplace were estimated to cost employers an additional $80 to $200 billion annually.

A second report by the U.S. Department of Labor cemented the finding of the insurance group’s report. This report stated the average workplace injury cost an employer $43,000. The same study estimated the cost from wage replacement due to injury to be roughly $50 billion a year. “An accident at the workplace can often be the difference between operating in the black and falling into the red,” said Safety Services CEO Devon Dickinson.

OSHA Requirements for Rigging

OSHA has established multiple regulations designed to prevent accidents during the use of rigging. These regulations require you to:

  • Inspect rigging equipment for material handling prior to use on each shift and as necessary during its use to ensure that it is safe. Remove defective rigging equipment from service.
  • Inspect the ground.
  • Never load rigging equipment in excess of its recommended safe working load.
  • Remove rigging equipment, when not in use, from the immediate work area so as not to present a hazard to employees.
  • Make and maintain a record of the most recent month in which each alloy steel chain sling was thoroughly inspected, and make such record available for examination.
  • Train on rigging materials
  • Train on proper usage
  • Provide and ensure proper use of proper PPE
  • Train on hazards
  • Establish and maintain effective signaling procedures

While the blow of a workplace injury cripples many companies, safety training programs are proven to drastically reduce the risk of injury and increase workplace productivity. Through independent studies, OSHA has confirmed employers who have in place a safety and health training program experience a 52 percent lower rate of “injury with days away” than employers without a program. [2]

A second study of private industry employers by OSHA found even more benefits to a safety training program. Here are a few highlights of those programs:

Company Benefits

  • Average sales rose 7.5 percent
  • Manufacturing defects and waste dropped from $2.7 million in 2001 to $435,000 in 2005
  • Improved decision-making
  • Emergency modification rate dropped by 45%

Safety and health also make big reductions in indirect costs, due to:

  • Increased productivity
  • Higher quality products
  • Increased morale
  • Better labor/management relations
  • Reduced turnover
  • Better use of human resources

Workplaces that establish safety and health management systems can reduce their injury and illness costs by 20 to 40 percent, according to OSHA. Studies not only show the impact safety training has in increasing productivity and preventing injury. It shows the value training has to prevent casualties. [4] A study of the California insurance industry determined that every dollar invested in safety training resulted in $3 or more dollars in savings,” Safety training is not a cost, it is an investment.

An Easier Compliance Solution

By requesting and reading this report, you are no doubt aware of the hazards associated with aerial and the long list of regulations your company must abide by. Meeting these regulations is a tedious process requiring you either to develop a training program yourself or to outsource with expensive safety consultants. There is a better solution.

Here at Safety Services we have developed a “Do-It-Yourself” training program that is both simple to administer and fulfills all your OSHA requirements. This innovative kit features an Interactive Training Program, Student’s Handbook, Instructor’s Handbook, OSHA Regulations, Student Tests, Training Logs, Fall Protection Checklist, Certificates, Wallet Cards and More.

What Does It Cover

  • OSHA Requirements
  • Material Storage
  • Equipment
  • PPE
  • Inspections
  • Rigging
  • Loading
  • Lifting
  • Training Requirements
  • Accident Prevention
  • And much more

Our $449.99 kit is a simple three-step solution that brings all your employees into compliance.

  1. Classroom/online training
    • The first step of our program is an intuitive electronic training session. Through the program, employees navigate an electronic training program at a computer and then take an automatically graded test.
  2. Field training
    • The second part of training is in the field. During this portion of the session, your appointed trainer shows the trainee the infield applications of the materials they learned in the classroom session.
  3. Evaluation
    • The third and final step to the training session is evaluation. Through this step, the trainer evaluates the trainee and either signs off on certification or retouches on topics that need more work. All certification through the program meets or exceeds OSHA requirements.

Overview of Materials Handling & Rigging Kit

The rigging safety kit starts by explaining the reasons for training and what makes up an effective training program. The next subject is the proper ergonomic principles of personally lifting heavy loads. Following that is a discussion on the proper way to stage and transport heavy materials by hand, vehicle lifts, reach forklifts and then roll-out truck beds.

Hazards of heavy lifting are explained in detail like: awkward positions, high frequency and long duration lifting, environmental factors, loading and unloading vehicles. Each discussed hazard includes the proper procedures for eliminating it from your workplace. Furthermore, you will be informed of the safe way to move larger material mechanically, avoiding storage hazards and how to stack materials.

Becoming Certified to Operate a Crane

This Material Handling and Rigging Kit covers important information to work with crane operators on how to rig the loads to be lifted, but it will not fulfill the requirements necessary to be a certified crane operator.

Starting November 8, 2010, the operator qualification and certification requirements of Subpart CC – Cranes and Derricks in Construction (29 CFR 1926.1427) changed to improve the quality of anybody engaged in a construction activity, operating a crane.

According to OSHA, all crane operators must be licenced.

There are 4 ways an equipment operator can be qualified or certified and meet OSHA Requirements:

  1. A certificate from an accredited crane operator testing organization.
  2. Qualification from the employer through an audited employer program.
  3. Qualification by the US Military (only applies to employees of Department of Defense or Armed Forces and does not include private contractors)
  4. Licensing by a state or local government.

Certification includes two parts:

  1. A written examination that includes the safe operating procedures for the particular type of equipment the applicant will be operating and technical understanding of the subject matter criteria required in 1926.1427(j).
  2. A practical exam showing the applicant has the skills needed to safely operate the equipment, including, among other skills, the ability to properly use load chart information and recognize items required in the shift inspection.

Call (877) 201-8923 today to speak with one of our safety solutions experts.


This publication does not itself alter or determine compliance responsibilities. OSHA, directly, sets the standards. Moreover, because interpretations and enforcement policy may change over time, for additional guidance on OSHA compliance requirements, the reader should consult current and administrative interpretations and decisions by the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission and the Courts.

Get In Touch