Rigging – Inspection Criteria

The Schaus-Vorhies Companies offer a wide variety of services for construction and several commercial industries. One of them is rigging. To safely and successfully remove your old equipment and install new requires a range of skills, skills that the riggers in charge of such jobs need to be very familiar with. One wrong move or miscalculation of the load or one rip in a sling can cause a load to drop or wing into another piece of equipment, causing thousands of dollars in equipment damage or even a life.

Last time we looked at a few of the skills necessary to safely rig any piece of equipment or material. Briefly, these were:

  • Calculating the weight of the load – Knowing the weight of the load is essential to choosing the correct rigging for the job.
  • Sling Configuration – Different loads require different lengths and styles of slings to ensure that you pick it evenly and without risk of dropping it.
  • Drifting – Knowing how to safely transfer a load from one hoist to another is a necessary skill, especially when you are replacing a piece of equipment in an existing facility.

In this installment, we’ll look at rigging – inspection criteria. What a rigger should be looking at to ensure that he/she will be working with quality equipment that will allow him/her to get the job done safely and efficiently. Let’s get started.

Rigging – Inspection Criteria – To do any job, from picking a pallet of water to a stator for an 800MW nuclear reactor, you need to make sure that your equipment is in good condition. To accomplish this, it needs to be thoroughly inspected. Depending on the equipment, the frequency of official inspections varies a bit. However, all equipment should always be inspected before use. Here are some of the things to look for based on the equipment.


  • Shackles – Shackles should be inspected to ensure that they are not stretched, pinched, or cracked in any way. A good way to do this is to make sure that the pin threads in fully, ending flush with the outside of the shackle. Markings indicating the rating and the size of the shackle should also be clearly visible.
  • Slings – Most slings that are likely to be used are made of a synthetic material like nylon and are ‘endless,’ that is, a circular sling that is easy to use in a variety of configurations. These should be looked over to verify that they are free of cuts or excessive abrasions. Most sling manufacturers will typically include red tell-tales in the sling fibers. If these are visible at all, the sling needs to be cut and disposed of. Other telltales sometimes included are a pair of strings that need to be visible and a fiber optic line. If one or the other of the strings are not visible, the sling should be removed from service. In the case of the fiber optics, a flashlight is shone into one end. If the light is not visible at the other, the sling is damaged and needs to be removed from service. These are typically on slings rated for several tons of load. Slings should also be marked with their most recent annual inspection date.
  • Chain falls – The chain fall is one of the best tools in the rigger’s toolbox. It also has moving parts that need to be verified to work properly to ensure a safe pick. Both hooks need to be verified not to be stretched, pinched, or cracked. The latch (retention device) needs to securely stop against the hook as well. It should also not be loose to make sure that the slings, shackles, or rigging points don’t slip out. Chain falls also need to work both ways. Their brake also needs to be checked, making sure that the load isn’t going to suddenly drop to the floor when you let go of the chain. Speaking of the chain, the links should also be looked over to make sure that they are not stretched or cracked. Chain falls should also be load tested every year, verifying that they can handle their rated load. Come-along has similar rigging – inspection criteria to chain falls.

There are plenty of other pieces of equipment that a rigger needs to consider before starting a job, but these make up the vast bulk of what he will be using daily. In our next installment, we’ll take a look at some of the other skills needed for a qualified rigger to understand, namely cone of influence and signaling.