Steel Erection eTool
Hoisting and Rigging [29 CFR 1926.753]
Rigging and hoisting of steel members and materials are essential parts of the steel erection process. However, in addition to the dangers usually associated with cranes and derricks, steel erection also presents specialized hazards, such as the use of cranes to hoist employees, suspend loads over certain employees, and perform multiple lifts. Because of the specialized nature of these hazards, the provisions below are intended to supplement, rather than displace, the requirements of 29 CFR 1926.550, the OSHA standard covering cranes and derricks in general construction.
- In addition to paragraphs 29 CFR 1926.753(c) through 29 CFR 1926.753(e), all the provisions of 29 CFR 1926.550 apply to hoisting and rigging with the exception of 29 CFR 1926.550(g)(2), 29 CFR 1926.753(a), and 29 CFR 1926.753(b).
- The crane operators must be responsible for operations under their direct control. Whenever there is any doubt as to safety, the operator must have the authority to:
- Stop all hoisting activities.
- Refuse to handle loads until safety has been assured. [29 CFR 1926.753(c)(1)(iv)]
- Cranes or derricks may be used to hoist employees on a personnel platform when steel erection is being conducted, provided that all provisions of 29 CFR 1926.550 (except for 29 CFR 1926.1501(g)(2)) are met. [29 CFR 1926.753(c)(4)]
- The headache ball, hook or load must not be used to transport personnel except as provided in paragraph 29 CFR 1926.753(c)(4) of this section. [29 CFR 1926.753(c)(3)]
- Safety latches on hooks must not be deactivated or made inoperable except [29 CFR 1926.753(c)(5)]:
Three Workers Killed in Crane Incidents
- A crew of ironworkers and a crane operator were unloading a 20-ton steel slab from a low-boy trailer using a 50-ton crawler crane with a 90-foot lattice boom. The operator was inexperienced on this crane and did not know the length of the boom. Further, no one had determined the load radius. During lifting, the load moved forward and to the right, placing a twisting force on the boom. The boom twisted under the load, swinging down, under and to the right. Two crew members standing 30 feet away apparently saw the boom begin to swing, and ran. The boom struck one of the employees—an ironworker—in the head, causing instant death. Wire rope struck the other—a management trainee—causing internal injuries. He died two hours later at a local hospital.
- A driver made a delivery of steel beams to a job site. After positioning his flatbed truck as directed, he stood near the hydraulic crane that was offloading the truck and watched the operation. The steel erection company controlling the crane had secured the area, instead of barricading the crane’s swing radius, using walls, vehicles, and two strategically placed employees to keep out unauthorized personnel. The driver was allowed to remain in the secured area because he was a friend and knew the operation. While everyone’s attention was diverted, the driver apparently walked up to the crane and was crushed between the crane’s counterweight and the right rear outrigger. He sustained serious injuries to his chest and internal organs, including his liver, and died later that day.
Before each shift, cranes being used in steel erection activities must be visually inspected by a competent person. The inspection must include observation for deficiencies during operation, including, at a minimum [29 CFR 1926.753(c)(1)(i)]:
- All control mechanisms for maladjustments. [29 CFR 1926.753(c)(1)(i)(A)]
- Control and drive mechanism for excessive wear of components and contamination by [29 CFR 1926.753(c)(1)(i)(B)]:
- Other foreign matter
- Safety devices, including but not limited to [29 CFR 1926.753(c)(1)(i)(C)]:
- Boom-angle indicators
- Boom stops
- Boom kick-out devices
- Anti-two block devices
- Load moment indicators, where required
- Air, hydraulic, and other pressurized lines, especially those that flex during operation, for [29 CFR 1926.753(c)(1)(i)(D)]:
- Hooks and latches for [29 CFR 1926.753(c)(1)(i)(E)]:
- Chemical damage
- Wire rope reeving for compliance with hoisting equipment manufacturer's specifications. [29 CFR 1926.753(c)(1)(i)(F)]
- Electrical apparatus for [29 CFR 1926.753(c)(1)(i)(G)]:
- Signs of excessive deterioration
- Moisture accumulation
- Hydraulic system for proper fluid level. [29 CFR 1926.753(c)(1)(i)(H)]
- Tires for proper inflation and condition. [29 CFR 1926.753(c)(1)(i)(I)]
- Ground conditions around the hoisting equipment for [29 CFR 1926.753(c)(1)(i)(J)]:
- Proper support, including ground settling under and around outriggers.
- Ground water accumulation
- Similar conditions
- The hoisting equipment for level position. [29 CFR 1926.753(c)(1)(i)(K)]
- The hoisting equipment for level position after each move and setup. [29 CFR 1926.753(c)(1)(i)(L)]
- If any deficiency is identified, an immediate determination must be made by the competent person as to whether the deficiency constitutes a hazard. [29 CFR 1926.753(c)(1)(ii)]
- If the deficiency is determined to constitute a hazard, the hoisting equipment must be removed from service, until the deficiency has been corrected. [29 CFR 1926.753(c)(1)(iii)]
- A qualified rigger (a rigger who is also a qualified person) must inspect the rigging prior to each shift in accordance with 29 CFR 1926.251. [29 CFR 1926.753(c)(2)]
Failure to Inspect, Maintain Crane Injures Two
- Three employees of a steel erection contractor were lifting a 200 lb. bundle of crossbraces with a crane. The bundle was lifted at an angle of about 80 degrees— the crane’s load rating chart. Employee #1 was a signalman; Employee #2 was the crane operator; and Employee #3 was an ironworker who was guiding the load at the time of the accident. As the load was lifted, after the boom lever was locked and the load was being cabled down, the load and boom suddenly fell. Employee #3 was pulled off the structural steel, but managed to hang onto the sling that he was using to guide the load. The boom bent and stopped, resting on structural steel and a concrete block wall. Because of the boom bending, Employee #3 had a "soft" landing and sustained only facial lacerations and contusions. However, the boom fall directly on top of Employee #1, though he somehow squeezed into the space between the chords and the diagonals of the crane boom. One of the diagonals struck Employee #1 on the back and drove him into the structural steel, breaking both of his feet and resulting in massive contusions over his entire body. The cause of the incident was uncertain, but investigators noted that the mechanism that is meant to hold the boom in an upright position was out of adjustment, and the crane had not been maintained per the manufacturer's specifications.
Unsafe Ground Conditions Lead to Fatality
- Two employees of a steel erection contractor had been bolting and welding at a height of 19 feet from a mobile elevated platform. After finishing work on a column, they were riding in the lift with the platform fully extended, when the right front wheel rolled over a pile of debris that had been left on the concrete floor. The scissor lift tipped over, causing one of the employees to sustain serious head trauma. He was taken to an area hospital, where he died. Proper inspection practices could have prevented this incident.
- Routes for suspended loads must be preplanned to ensure that no employee is required to work directly below a suspended load, except for 29 CFR 1926.753(d)(1):
- When employees work under suspended loads, the following criteria must be met [29 CFR 1926.753(d)(2)]:
- Materials being hoisted must be rigged to prevent unintentional displacement. [29 CFR 1926.753(d)(2)(i)]
- Hooks with self-closing safety latches or their equivalent must be used to prevent components from slipping out of the hook. [29 CFR 1926.753(d)(2)(ii)]
- All loads must be rigged by a qualified rigger. [29 CFR 1926.753(d)(2)(iii)]
- A multiple lift may be performed only if the following criteria are met [29 CFR 1926.753(e)(1)]:
- A multiple-lift rigging assembly is used. [29 CFR 1926.753(e)(1)(i)]
- A maximum of five members are hoisted per lift. [29 CFR 1926.753(e)(1)(ii)]
- Only beams and similar structural members are lifted. [29 CFR 1926.753(e)(1)(iii)]
- All employees engaged in the multiple lift have been trained in these procedures in accordance with 29 CFR 1926.761(c)(1). [29 CFR 1926.753(e)(1)(iv)]
- No crane is permitted to be used for a multiple lift where such use is contrary to the manufacturer's specifications and limitations. [29 CFR 1926.753(e)(1)(v)]
- Multiple-lift rigging assembly capacity, for the total assembly and for each individual attachment point, must [29 CFR 1926.753(e)(2)]:
- Be certified by the manufacturer or a qualified rigger.
- Be based on the manufacturer's specifications.
- Have a 5-to-1 safety factor for all components.
- The total load must not exceed:
- The multiple-lift rigging assembly must be rigged with members:
- The members on the multiple-lift rigging assembly must be set in position from the bottom up. [29 CFR 1926.753(e)(5)]
- Controlled load lowering must be used whenever the load is over the connectors. [29 CFR 1926.753(e)(6)]
Hoisting Error Injures Rigger
- The victim, a rigger, was in the process of rigging up a "Christmas tree" of three beams. He had put the choker around the first beam, and tightened it by pulling on the leg of the sling. This might have pushed up the top end of the sling, which was already over the hook, so the eye of the sling rode up onto or over the point of the hook, where it caught on the latch. Then the victim signaled the crane operator to raise the load. When the beam was overhead, the rigger began rigging the second beam. All of a sudden, there was a noise that witnesses described as a "click," which may have been the eye of the sling slipping off the latch, and the rigged beam dropped onto the victim, who was hospitalized for fractures sustained in the accident.
Commercially manufactured lifting equipment designed to lift and position a load of known weight to a location at some known elevation and horizontal distance from the equipment’s center of rotation.
A "come-a-long" (a mechanical device usually consisting of a chain or cable attached at each end, that is used to facilitate movement of materials through leverage) is not considered "hoisting equipment."