How to Create a Rigging Plan

USA, New York City, girder being lifted at construction site
The basic idea behind a rigging plan is to have control and establish safety precautions. fotog / Getty Images

A rigging plan is developed every time a heavy load is being lifted. The basic idea behind a rigging plan is to have control and establish safety precautions. It is an important planning process that will identify all hazardous situations that might be encountered during lifting.

What Type of Rigging Plan Do I Need?

The first step when conducting a rigging safety plan is to identify the type of lift.

There are three major classifications of lifting plans: Critical lifts, ordinary lifts, and pre-engineering lifts. Depending on the type of lift, then the rigging plan will have different concepts under evaluation to determine the steps needed to complete a safe rigging and lifting process.

Rigging and lifting Plan Components

Once the evaluation process has determined the type of rigging and lifting plan needed, you will need to identify and gather information on the following components:

  • The rigging equipment
  • Shackles, turnbuckles and slings being used
  • The weight of lift
  • Center of gravity of the load being lifted
  • Crane capacity and crane charts
  • Height, width and length of the lift
  • Atmospheric and environmental conditions when the process is being performed
  • Edges and corners of the load. It is important to evaluate all the geometry of the item being lifted
  • Sling angles
  • Load angle factor
  • Floor loading capacity
  • How to rig the load using good rigging practices
  • Identify and make sure that the attachment points and load can withstand the forces created by the rigging gear attachment
  • Work zone safety
  • Evaluate hazards to determine consequences resulting from collision, upset, or dropping the load

Rigging Plan: Ordinary Lifts 

Ordinary lifts are the easiest ones to handle.

They will normally require a verbal planning process and preliminary lifting and rigging meetings.Only a minimal documentation and evaluation process is needed, but always being sure that all safety precautions are been taken.

Rigging Plan: Critical Lifts

Critical lifts need a more detailed plan before execution. This process will normally require a written procedure and approval process.

Rigging Plan: Pre-Engineering Lifts

These are the most challenging ones to deal with. They will require specific rigging points, lifting procedure and identification of components that will probably need to be managed separately, to avoid problems and minimize potential issues.

Rigging Plan Execution

Once the plan has been established you will need to follow it closely to reduce the probability of an accident. It is important to

  • Verify all equipment, fixtures, and accessories before starting
  • Verify that all equipment has been properly inspected and that such inspections are valid.
  • Identify a load manager or a rigging leader. It can be your own safety professional or ordinary lifts, assign a designated leader; for critical lifts, assign a person-in-charge (PIC)
  • Conduct a pre-use inspection and verify that all components are in good condition.
  • Conduct a dummy rigging process following the pre-established rigging plan.
  • Be sure to identify and train all workers participating in the process.
  • Clear or prepare the area where the load is being placed or moved
  • Survey the lift site for hazardous or unsafe conditions
  • Clear lift path of obstructions
  • Identify the crane operator
  • Follow specific instructions/procedures for attachment of the rigging gear to the load. Use proper rigging techniques.
  • Stop the job when any potentially unsafe condition is recognized