Shop Made Rigging

From time to time we are asked to do a walk through at a client’s location and identify issues with rigging hardware or the tools that are being used. During one such trip, we found a shop made / homemade hook created from a modified shackle, that according to the client “was perfect for the job”. When we inquired further as to why the client was allowing this, we were told that the mechanics kept them locked in their personal tool boxes and when management asked the employees to surrender the hooks, they responded that they “did not have one.”

You see, the employees were not being contrary; they were just not giving up their perfect tool to get the job done without a fight. Sure management could have laid down the law with threats of discipline or termination, but instead maybe there was a better solution.  After all, these are probably the employees that you actually want on your team, as they were serious enough to attempt to engineer a solution to get the job done. Their intent was good, but the method needed some improvement—instead of asking for the right tool to be supplied they had taken it upon themselves to make one.

Homemade is great when you are talking about food (especially if you are not the one cooking) but when it comes to rigging, it’s not the same. In general, we believe no employee has the right to modify company property. But on top of that, it is NEVER ok to modify existing rigging hardware or create new lifting and rigging hardware in the shop or at home. In its place, we suggest a better way to get the job done without sacrificing safety.

Should you find a shop made product, instead of just taking it away, ask questions, such as:

  • Why was it created?

           Image courtesy of             The Crosby Group

  • How is it being used?
  • Why is it important to completing the task, etc.?

Once some basic information is gathered, then research and find a quality manufactured product that is similar in design and function. In this case a foundry hook was what was needed. The proper hooks were purchased, and the modified shackles were traded in. Now employees had the proper and safe tool with an approved Working Load Limit and management had the shop made devices to destroy—a win-win for all parties involved.

Remember, Safety through Education is more than just Crane Tech’s motto it is our guiding principle. As you see from the items in the title graphic, we find shop made products on sites all of the time. It is a scary thought that these non-rated products are being used in lifting and rigging applications, the risk to lives and projects is not worth it. If you or your teams need rigging training, our Qualified Rigger Level 1 and Level 2 courses or Rigging Inspector are available to help ensure the safety of your lifts. Contact us today call 800-290-0007 or request a quote.

Another shop made device found at a client’s location and the commercially available product.  Can you see a difference? Which would you trust for overhead lifting?

Have a favorite shop made story you’d like to share? Comment below, we’d love to hear from you!

2 Responses to “Shop Made Rigging”

  1. Ward Beley says:

    Most shop made rigging there is a product available that will work, my question is What is your stance on none available?
    Engineered and load tested? is this acceptable and what load test % what safety factor ?
    second question
    Most crane accidents I see are ground bearing pressure (if not operator error). What is your stance on shop made cribbing or extreme cases stands (elephant stands) ?
    (please include references)
    Thank You
    Ward Beley

    • Crane Tech says:

      Thank you Ward for your comments.

      If there is no commercially available product available, then the item needs to be designed, engineered, fabricated and load tested according to the ASME standards for that type of rigging hard ware (B30.26) or below the hook lifting device (B30.20), etc.

      Regarding cribbing, there are many good, inexpensive commercially available products (pads, mats, blocking etc.) on the market. However, it is acceptable to use other types of cribbing as long as it is of sufficient strength to provide support (according to OSHA and ASME). For shop made cribbing we are going to assume you are talking about cribbing made from wood. Our advice on this, is that cribbing it should never be made from any kiln dried lumber, instead heavy timer with out any checks should be used. In addition, cribbing should be pyramid stacked in order to better distribute the force exerted upon the outrigger. For more on out rigger support check out this previous post:

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