Rigging and Material Handling Safety Tips

March 26, 2021 10:44 am

Whether it’s machinery, a large part, or another type of equipment, moving heavy stuff within the shop can be quite the endeavor. This process is typically called rigging. Rigging is a very broad term that can be applied to different industries, but always refers to the hauling of heavy items. Rigging is very common in the metalworking industry as machinery moves from one shop to the next, large parts need to be hoisted out of the facility and equipment moves from one area in the shop to the other. Check out Instagram user @scrap_technic who shares some pretty cool images of his hoisting setups, like this one.

Your approach to rigging will depend on what you’re trying to move. This can be anywhere from a several ton lathe to a couple hundred-pound part coming right off the machine. Maybe it is even the raw material you have to load into the machine. Regardless, this means that the equipment and tools required for the rigging job will depend on the weight of the load.

Regardless of what you need to move, make sure to devise a proper plan of attack. Many things can go wrong in the process of transporting a several ton metal monster. There are a couple ways you can go about getting the job done. Either you buckle up and attempt it yourself, or you take the less risky route and hire a professional, called a rigger.

Recommended Reads

Rigging or implementing a long-term hauling solution should be studied and completed with intention. We’ve compiled some helpful references to help you ensure you’re prepared when its go time. In addition to providing guidance on how to get the rigging job done, the following books also cover the safety standards that you’ll need to follow.

Rigging Pocket Guide

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The Rigging Pocket Guide is designed for the novice as well as the seasoned rigging professional. This 60-page, pocket-sized guide is straightforward and well-organized and includes updated ASME data and requirements for proper equipment use.

Rigging and Lifting Principles

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Rigging and Lifting Principles is an introduction to the equipment, calculations, and procedures required for the safe handling and transportation of materials by hoists or cranes. Topics include weight and balance, lift points, rigging components, equipment handling, hoists, cranes, and lifting procedures.

Materials Handling Handbook

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Your hands-on guide to materials handling and product movement methods for today’s competitive facilities. Dramatically improve the movement of materials in any warehouse, distribution, or manufacturing facility.

Rigging Equipment: Maintenance and Safety Inspection Manual

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This manual is a must-have for rigging contractors, facility managers, and equipment operators. The safe rigging practices recommended in this book are framed in general terms to accommodate the many variations in rigging practices.

ASME B30.26-2015: Rigging Hardware: Safety Standard for Cableways, Cranes, Derricks, Hoists, Hooks, Jacks, and Slings

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This text applies to the construction, installation, operation, inspection, and maintenance of detachable rigging hardware used for load handling activities in conjunction with equipment.

DIY Rigging

Though DIY rigging is not recommended, it is important that you walk through these key considerations before you move forward with the process.  And, as always, make sure you are following the proper and required safety guidelines.

How heavy is the machine? This informs what type of lifting mechanism you will need to support the load.

How much time do you have? Often times we don’t add a cushion on our timelines and expect that everything run smoothly. Can you afford to take the time you NEED to pull the project off, with room for hiccups?

What equipment is necessary? Cranes, derricks, or chain falls are often part of the rigging conversation, along with rope, chains, or webbing slings, these of which act as hooks or shackles to connect the load to the lifter.

The same type of questions should be answered for your raw or complete materials. However these most likely won’t be one off situations like the moving of machinery. If moving large raw material is a part of your business, this is going to require a hauling system implemented which is highlighted farther down in the article.

Big Rigging Jobs

For bigger rigging jobs, you have the option of using ground equipment like a forklift. Check out this video of a giant forklift moving several hefty machines.


If you are a facility that frequently hoists very large parts, or needs to move machinery around a lot, you would benefit from having a ceiling mount installed.

Check out this time-lapse of an overhead crane installation.


Want to install some overhead hoisting equipment? Check out these models.

BestEquip 1320LBS Electric Hoist

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Featuring a durable, braided, anti-twist, high carbon steel cable, this lift electric hoist has an automatic safety stop feature to protect the engine when the cable is fully retracted.

Steel Dragon Tools 880 LBS Mini

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This hoist features a 5-1/2 -foot corded remote, allowing the operator to power the load up and down from a distance. The mounting hanging clamp brackets are included.

Partsam 2200lbs Automatic Lift

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This light-duty, electric cable hoist can lift up to 39 feet in the air, allowing you to lift any load quickly and safely. The cable is made with high strength carbon steel.

Check out tips from the community in our dedicated forum about the topic which you can access here.


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