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Rigging/Signal Person Training


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Introduction:

Materials needed to conduct this training:

White board, black board or presentation tablets


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Projector

Student Manuals printed out for each participant

Notepad or scratch paper

Calculator for each participant

Rigging cards or reference materials

Load charts of the types cranes you will be working with


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Test Sheets, Answer Sheets and Answer Key

Several relevant accident profiles, or personal stories to share

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Introduction:

Read or have someone read the following:

“When anyone asks me how I can best my nearly 40 years at sea I can only say uneventful….In all
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my experience I have never been in any accident of any sort worth speaking about. I have seen but
one vessel in distress in all my years at sea…I never saw a wreck and never have been wrecked, nor
was I ever in any predicament that threatened to end in disaster of any sort.” Captain E. J. Smith,
1907

Who was Captain Smith?

He would become the captain of the Titanic 5 years later!


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Introduction:

Have you ever heard someone being interviewed after a horrible accident and they claim: “I don’t
know what happened. We’ve been doing it this way for 20 years (or 30, or 40) and never had a
problem. This doesn’t necessarily mean they were doing it right, or safely. They were just getting
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away with it.

Injuries and deaths in the workplace are like playing the lottery. If you keep buying tickets (doing
things that are unsafe) it’s just a matter of time before someone is killed or injured. It seldom
happens the first time or second or third. In your mind you reason you could do it a thousand times
without an incident. But, are one-in-one thousand odds very good when your health or life is
concerned or somebody else’s?

As we go through this training keep in mind that you are not just trying to survive today, but your
whole career is in jeopardy, so stop buying lottery tickets!
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Introduction:

The word rigging (from Anglo-Saxon wrigan or wringing, "to clothe") originally was a word used to
describe the mechanical sailing apparatus (sails, masts, ropes, blocks and pulleys) used to propel a
sailing boat or ship through the water. Today, the word rigging is used to describe any gear that is
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used for lifting.
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Introduction:

The quality of the material rigging gear is made from has changed drastically over the years.
However, the principals of rigging remain the same.
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Introduction:

Improper rigging practices have led to the deaths and injuries of many individuals. These are often
due to riggers not knowing the correct method of securing certain loads, loading rigging
components beyond their lifting capacities, and getting caught between unpredictable moving
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loads.

As part of this training we will analyze many of these accidents to discover what could have been
done to avoid them.
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Introduction:

Here we see the cranes and rigging used to lift the Space Shuttle in California onto the back of a
carrier jet to fly it to Cape Canaveral, Florida.
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It all looks very complicated but during this training we will be learning many of the same
principles.
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Rigger Qualifications:

Riggers must be trained and experienced. They must know how to:

Determine the weight of the load and its center of gravity


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Rigger Qualifications:

Understand the stresses put on rigging gear when used in different configurations
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Rigger Qualifications:

Select, inspect, and use slings and hardware suitable to the load
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Rigger Qualifications:

Direct the crane and the load in a safe, efficient manner


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Rigger Qualifications:

Know the limits and hazards of the cranes and equipment they work around
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Standards:

There are many standards that govern crane operations and rigging in the workplace. The main
standards this training uses are from ASME and OSHA. Remember, some states and even cities
have their own standards that may be even more stringent. It is your responsibility to know which
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standards apply in the jurisdiction you will be working in.
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Class Outline:

This training will be broken up into the following categories:

Determining the Weight of the Load;


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Sling Angles and Stresses;

Center of Gravity;

Basic Sling Hitches;

Types of Lifting Slings;

Lifting Hardware;

Below the Hook Lifting Devices;


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Communication;

Crane Dynamics

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Discovering Weights of Loads:

In this section we will discuss the importance of knowing the weight of the load before attempting
to lift it.
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This is the single most important precaution in hoisting and rigging.

Everything depends on it, from using the load chart of the crane to picking the right capacity slings
and rigging gear to lift it.

We will discuss methods of determining the weight of loads; the unit weights of common materials;
how to calculate the volume of the load; and the challenge of lifting loads out of water.
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Rigging Cards:

Each of you will have a “rigging card”. These cards are very useful out in the field and are filled with
useful information. We will practice using these throughout the training and during the practical
evaluation.
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Weighing the Load:

The most accurate method of determining the weight of the load is to weigh it.
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Weighing the Load:

Although many cranes today have LMI (load moment indicators) that if calibrated will show the
weight of everything below the boom tip. This helps prevent the operator from overloading the
crane. It is important to know this information in advance so that the lift is planned properly.
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If you have brought in a crane that has insufficient capacity then that is time lost.

Never attempt to proceed with a heavy lift if you have no idea what the load weighs or if you know
you are overcapacity.
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Acceptable Methods of Determining Weight:

Often the weight of the load can be obtained from data on manufacturing label plates,
manufacturer documentation, blueprints or drawings, shipping receipts, bill of ladings, stamped or
written on the load and other dependable sources.
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*When such information is not available, it will be necessary to weigh the load or calculate its
weight. Never use word of mouth to establish the weight of the load.

*Question on written test: The best way to discover the weight of a load is to weigh it.

a. True
b. False
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Math Skills:

Unfortunately, to be a qualified rigger you do have to have some math skill. There is no way to get
around it. And, in reality, math is just a matter of knowing what different math terms mean (such
as Pi or radius), knowing the correct formula to use, imputing the right data and then allowing the
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calculator to do the rest!

Always have a calculator on hand. Most cell phones have them as well as I-Phones, Blackberries,
etc.

And, always carry a field book to jot down notes.

Note: Multiplying fractions on a calculator (such as 1/2 or 2/3) requires that they are converted
into a decimal (0.5 or 0.666).

Also, when working with square feet it is necessary to convert inches into feet. (for example: 3
inches = 0.25 feet)
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Discussion:

How much does this boulder weigh?

What rigging equipment or conditions depend on knowing the weight of the load?
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1. Does the crane have sufficient capacity to make the lift? Remember, you need to know the
capacity of the crane for the radius you will be picking or placing the load, not just the
maximum capacity of the crane.

2. What is the ground bearing strength where the outriggers will be situated? Is it soft soil or
pavement? Will you need additional pads or mats placed under them?

3. How may parts of line will the crane need to use? The capacity of the crane is limited to the
number parts line it is configured for. For example: On some cranes , 1-part line is limited to
10,000 lbs. If the load you are lifting is 25,000 lbs, then you would need to go to at least 3-
parts line.
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4. What slings and hardware will need to be used to rig and lift the load?

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Calculating Weight:

To find the weight of any item you need to know its volume and unit weight and multiply them
together. The unit weight is the density of the material and is normally measured in pounds per
cubic foot.
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The time taken to calculate the approximate weight of any object, whether steel, plates, columns,
girders, castings, bedplates, etc., is time well spent and may prevent a serious accident.
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Unit Weights of Common Materials:
*Here are the unit weights (lbs per cubic foot) of some common materials. Among the most popular to remember is the unit weights of
steel (480 lbs), Reinforced concrete (150 lbs), Lumber (32-62 lbs) and water *(63 lbs per cu, or 7.5 lbs per gallon).
As you can see, lumber is the tricky one. Fir is very light while Oak weighs almost twice as much. If you are not sure then it is important
to estimate higher.
*Note the weight of steel plate: ¼ inch steel plate is 10 lbs per square foot, ½ inch is 20 lbs per square foot, and so on.
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Notice this card only has the weights of a small sample of materials. There is no way to put all of the information you might need out in
the field on one rigging card. But thanks to technology many people today have devices such as cell phones and I-phones that that have
applications that can hold almost limitless information such as conversion tables, and calculators. Use them. Program them to hold the
information you may need.
There are other rigging cards and reference materials that are wise to keep on hand or in the cab of the crane. Collect them and use
them. Knowledge can be the difference between a safe lift and a disastrous one.
*Question on written test: The unit weight of a material is how much it weighs
a. Per square foot
b. Per cubic foot
c. Per cubic yard
d. Per gallon
*Question on written test: Using your rigging card, what is the unit weight of water?
a. 63 cubic feet
b. 63 gallons
c. 8.8 gallons
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d. 63 lbs
*Question on written test: What is the weight of a 8 ft x 4 ft x ½ inch steel plate?
a. 3,200 lbs
b. 6,400 lbs
c. 640 lbs
d. 480 lbs

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Volume of a Cube:

To find the volume of a cube you need to multiply its length by its width by its height.

To find its weight you need only multiply its volume by its unit weight.
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Here is an example of a load of fir that is 8 ft long, 4 ft wide and 2 ft wide. It’s volume would then
be 64 cubic ft and multiplying that by its unit weight of 32 lbs would give you a total weight of 2,048
lbs.
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Determining Weight Exercise #1:

You will be lifting and setting a number of ecology blocks which are made of reinforced concrete.
Each one is 2’ x 2’ x 6’.
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Using your rigging card and calculator determine:

What is its unit weight?

What is its volume?

What is its weight?


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Determining Weight Exercise #1:

Correct! The unit weight is 150 lbs per cubic foot x 24 cubic feet = 3,600 lbs

Now that wasn’t too hard. But, in the real world, the block will weigh anywhere from 3,200 lbs to
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3,400 lbs depending on the amount of rebar that is in the block and how many chunks have been
knocked out of it.

But, this calculation did get you in the ball park and it is better to estimate over the actual weight
than under it.
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Determining the Area of a Circle:

Determining the area of a circle is not difficult but it does require that we use such terms as Pi,
Radius, Diameter, Circumference and Squared. Don’t panic, if you have a calculator and some
scratch paper it will be easy.
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Pi = 3.14;

*Diameter is the distance across the circle at its widest point;

Radius is the distance from the center of the circle to the outside (or half of the diameter);

Circumference is the distance around the circle or Pi x diameter;

Squared is multiplying a number by itself; and

Area = Pi x radius squared


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*Question on written test: What is the diameter of a circle?

a. 2 times radius
b. Radius squared
c. Radius time Pi
d. Circumference time Pi

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Determining Weight Exercise #2:

What is the radius of this circle if its diameter is 3 feet? (Remember, radius is half of its diameter)

What is its circumference? (Circumference is Pi x diameter)


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What is its area? (Area is radius squared x Pi)
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Determining Weight Exercise #2:

How did you do?


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Volume of a Cylinder:

Determining the volume of a cylinder is easy once you know how to find the area of a circle. (Pi x
Radius Squared = Area of Circle
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All that remains is to multiply the area of the circle by the length of the cylinder. (Area x Length =
Volume)

And finding its weight is just a matter of multiplying the volume by its unit weight. (Volume x Unit
Weight = Load Weight
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Determining Weight Exercise #3:

What is the volume of this cylinder? (Remember, its area is 7.06 sq. ft)

If it is concrete, what is its estimated weight? (Remember, the unit weight of concrete is 150 lbs per
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cubic foot)
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Determining Weight Exercise #3:

How did you do? Aren’t you glad you didn’t have to guess?
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Volume of a Pipe:

Now comes the hard stuff! Determining the weight of a pipe. Or is it hard?

Here we are only interested in the volume of the material of the pipe, not the empty space inside it.
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One way to do it is to determine the volume of the pipe as a whole as if it were a cylinder; and then
determine the volume of the hole; and subtract the latter from the former.

This is where having a calculator comes in handy.


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Volume of a Pipe:

Easier yet, imagine that you split the pipe down its length and flatten it out into a rectangle. The
circumference is now its width. Multiply its width times its length gives you its area. If this is ½”
steel pipe then according to the rigging card its weight would be 20 lbs per square foot. So, its
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weight would be 20 lbs times the area. To summarize:

Circumference = 3.14 (Pi) x Diameter


Area = Circumference x Length
Weight of ½” Steel = 20 lbs per square foot
Area x 20 lbs = Weight of steel pipe
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Determining Weight Exercise #4:

What is its Circumference? (Pi x Diameter = Circumference)

What is its Area? (In this instance the Circumference is now its width. Width x Length = Area
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What is its Estimated Weight? (20 lbs x Area = Total Estimated Weight)
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Determining Weight Exercise #4:

How did you do? Granted, this is not the actual weight, but you will be within a few percentage
points.
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It is much better than just guessing or making the lift and having someone watch to see if the
outriggers come up as the operator booms out.

Knowing the weight now allows you to determine if the crane has enough capacity to make the pick
and allows you to choose the proper slings and rigging gear for the lift.
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Lifting out of Water:

We have all seen the video on YouTube where a crane is lifting a car out of the water and as the car
breaks the surface the load becomes too great for the crane and the crane tips over and falls in. A
larger crane is then summoned and the same thing happens as it tries to lift the smaller crane out
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of the water. What went wrong?
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Lifting out of Water:

*Does a load weigh the same in the water as it does out of it? Yes, but it is easier to lift while in the
water. Why is that?
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As the load slips under water it displaces a certain amount of water that is equal to its volume. This
water has weight. So the amount of water pushed out of the way pushes back on the boulder
providing it with a buoyant force.

How much? The force is equal to the weight of water displaced. For example:

*Question on written test: If a load weighed 4,500 lbs, how much would it weigh under water?

a. 2,610 lbs
b. 6,390 lbs
c. 1,890 lbs
d. 4,500 lbs
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(Possibly a trick question. The load technically weighs the same but is more buoyant)

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Determining Weight Exercise #5:

If we take our ecology block which weighs about 3,600 lbs and is 24 cubic feet and submerge it in
water it will displace about 24 cubic feet of water.
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Using your rigging card what is the approximate weight of water?

How much weight does the crane see when lifting this load under water?
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Determining Weight Exercise #5:

Did you figure it out?

Water weighs about 63 lbs per cubic ft so the displacement would equal 63 lbs x 24 cubic feet
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which is 1,512 lbs. Subtract that from 3,600 lbs and you get 2,088 lbs or how much the crane will
see until the load hits the surface, then the crane will begin to see all if its weight.

You can now see how this could be disastrous if you don’t take into account the buoyancy of the
load when it is submerged under water and the loss of that buoyancy when it is lifted out.
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Discussion:

How much does this load weigh?

What type of sling is it?


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Do you think it has enough capacity to lift it?
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Discussion:

Weight: It wouldn’t be too hard to determine the dimensions of this concrete block. If the person
standing next to it is 6 ft tall then the block is close to 4 ½ ft. It appears wider than it is tall so we
will say it is 5 ½ ft wide. Since it is tapered we will say it is 5 ft x 5 ft x 4.5 ft which is about 112 sq ft.
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Multiply that by the unit weight for reinforced concrete (150 lbs) and it comes to over 16,000 lbs.
We may need to add the steel eye pads, shackle and chain links, which could easily add another 4-5
hundred pounds.

Sling type: It appears to be a flat nylon sling which is doubled up in a basket hitch which will double
its vertical capacity.

Capacity: It would need to be at least 8,500 lbs in the vertical to safely make this pick. Some
research shows that if it were a 3 inch wide, 2 ply, nylon sling it would have a vertical capacity of
8,900 lbs.

We don’t know for certain these answers just by looking at a picture but we are probably in the ball
park. With a tape measure and a few calculations you should be able to come real close to the
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actual weight and with that information we could make a good determination on the type and
capacity sling we would need to make this a safe pick.

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Sling Angles and Stresses:

In this section we will discuss Sling Angles and the additional stress put on slings as the angle from
the vertical decreases.
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As part of this training we will practice calculating these stresses using load angle factors.

We will also practice calculating the stress on slings of unequal length and slings and come-alongs
while drifting loads.
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Sling angles and Stresses:

No one should be allowed to rig loads without knowing the stresses that are put on slings when
lifted at angles. When slings or sling legs are used at an angle while lifting a load, the capacity of
the sling is reduced. The amount it is reduced depends on the angle of the sling. Sling angles can
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also put stresses on the load. When a rigger chooses a sling he must take into account not only the
weight of the load it will be lifting but also the stresses it will see when used at an angle.
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Single-Vertical Sling Stress:

When a 1,000 lb load is lifted with one sling in the vertical we know that there will be 1,000 lbs of
stress on that sling.
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Double-Vertical Sling Stress:

If we use two slings to lift 1,000 lbs and their legs are vertical (90˚) then each sling will see exactly
half the load or 500 lbs.
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Double-Vertical Sling Stress:

Using a spreader bar is one example of using two vertical slings to pick up a load.
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Double-Vertical Sling Stress, Reduced:

When we marry two slings together on a hook, shackle or master ring then they will share the load
equally, but because of the angle there will be added stress above the 500 lbs they saw in the
vertical so its capacity will need to be reduced.
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The amount of reduction will depend on the angle. In this example each sling picks up an additional
75 lbs of stress at a 60˚ angle.

*Note: The ideal angle to use when using slings at angles is 60˚ since there is a minimum of
reduction. One way to determine whether you have sling legs at 60˚ is to lay one down between
the pick points on the load. If it is equal to or extends longer than the distance between the pick
points then you have an angle that is equal to or greater than 60˚.

*Question on written test: If you lay one end of a sling at one pick point and the other end reaches
past the other pick point then your sling angle will be greater than 60 degrees.

a. True
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b. False

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Double-Vertical Sling Stress, Reduced:

This same example shows using two vertical slings at an angle holding the spreader bar.
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Double-Vertical Sling Stress, Reduced:

At a 45˚ angle each sling will see 705 lbs of additional stress so its capacity is reduced even further.
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Double-Vertical Sling Stress, Reduced:

*And at 30˚ each sling will see the equivalent of the whole load (1000 lbs).

*Question on written test: When lifting a 5,000 lb load using equal length slings at 30° angles, how
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much stress does each sling see?

a. 2,850 lbs
b. 2,500 lbs
c. 5,000 lbs
d. 3,500 lbs
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Double-Vertical Sling Stress, Reduced:

And things go south as the angle of the slings are decreased to 5˚. Now, there is an astounding
5,735 lbs of stress on each leg of the sling!
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If we were using two slings whose capacities were 1,000 lbs in the vertical, (which would be plenty
to pick up 1,000 lbs in the vertical or even at 60˚) there is a very good chance those slings would fail
if we use them at such an angle.

Caution: Never use extreme sling angle when lifting loads. The ideal angle to use is 60˚. Never use
a sling angle below 45˚. ASME standards prohibits using sling angles under 30˚ unless approved by
a professional engineer.
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Discussion:

What would be the hazard of trying to attach a sling to the steel banding on this load?

1. The steel banding is not a rated pick point.


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2. The angle on the steel banding that is wrapped tightly around the load is extreme and pulling
on it will put more than 10 times the amount of stress it would see if it was pulled vertically.
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Load Angle Factors:

To determine the amount of stress that the sling sees you need to:

Determine what the load angle factor is; and


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Multiply the load angle factor by ½ the load
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Sling Angles and Stress Exercise #1:

What is the stress in each sling if a 3,000 lb load is lifted at 45˚? (Remember, multiply the load
angle factor by ½ the load)
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Sling Angles and Stress Exercise #1:

Easy enough? Load angle factor = 1.414 multiplied by 1,500 lbs (half the load) = 2,121 lbs .
(Remember, that is the stress that each sling leg sees)
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Calculating Stress in Slings of Equal Length:

To calculate the load angle factor of slings of equal length, just divide the length of the sling by the
vertical distance from the hook down to the load. (L/H)
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Sling Angles and Stress Exercise #2:

Given the information above, what is the load angle factor of the sling?

What is the stress in each leg of the sling? (Remember, multiply the load angle factor by half the
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load)
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Sling Angles and Stress Exercise #2:

Pretty easy if you have a calculator.

Now if you go back and look at the load angle factor chart, the angle of these slings would
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be somewhere between 60˚ (1.155) and 45˚ (1.424).

Not an ideal angle for lifting, but if you lack headroom, then sometimes you must use sling
angles less than 60˚.
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Calculating Stress on Slings of Unequal Length:

*When the center of gravity is closer to one sling attachment point than the other, in order to
position the hook over the CG , the sling legs must be of unequal length, which means that their
angles and loads will also be unequal.
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Caution: The sling that attaches to the point closest to the center of gravity will see the most stress.

This calculation may look difficult but it is not.

*Question on written test: When lifting a load with two unequal length slings over the center of
gravity the stress on both slings will be the same.

a. True
b. False
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Sling Angles and Stress Exercise #3:

What is the stress in sling #1 and sling #2?


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Sling Angles and Stress Exercise #3:

Took a little bit longer, didn’t it, but it’s not rocket science.

Memorizing this formula is harder than calculating it, so carry your rigging card with you and
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someday you just might impress someone by calculating the stresses in slings of unequal length.
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Drifting a Load:

Often, in tight quarters where bringing in a crane or forklift is Impossible, a system is set up to drift
a load using chain fall that is anchored into I-beams or a similar structure.
*This can be very dangerous if not planned and carried out by a qualified
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person.

Sling angles become very important because the stress can increase rapidly the higher the load has
to be lifted. We will not address the issues of the structure or equipment used to perform such a
lift here but rather concentrate on what stresses the slings will see as the load is moved.

Previously, in discussing sling angles, those angles were constant or did not change. In drifting a
load those angles and stresses do change and it is critical that you know those stresses before you
attempt such a lift.

*Question on written test: Drifting loads using chain fall inside buildings should only be planned
performed by qualified persons.
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a. True
b. False

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Drifting a Load:

This calculation is almost identical to the one for determining the stresses on slings of unequal
length, just upside down!
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The main difference is while drifting the load those stresses will change where one leg sees most of
the stress and then it is transferred to the other leg.
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Sling Angles and Stress Exercise #4:

What is the stress in sling #1?

What is the stress in sling #2?


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Sling Angles and Stress Exercise #4:

The answer shows that Sling 1 has 4,200 lbs of tension or stress while the stress in Sling 2 is 2,400
lbs.
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Caution: The higher the load is lifted the more stress both slings will see. Keep the load as low to
the ground as possible.
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