Guide To Rigging Equipment: What Is It, How Does It Work, and How To Use It Safely?

Guide To Rigging Equipment What Is It, How Does It Work, and How To Use It Safely

If you’re in the construction, manufacturing, or even event-hosting business, it’s important to be familiar with rigging equipment. This equipment moves hoists or hangs heavy objects safely and efficiently. Unfortunately, without proper knowledge of rigging equipment, accidents can happen.

This guide will discuss rigging equipment, how it works, and how to use it safely in the workplace. We’ll also provide some safety tips for riggers. Safety should always be your top priority when using rigging equipment. So let’s get started! 


What is Rigging Equipment?

Rigging equipment is any device that helps to move, hoist, or hang heavy objects. This can include blocks, pulleys, winches, hitches, and sheaves. These tools secure and move loads in various settings, including construction sites, event venues, and manufacturing facilities. 

This can be used for a variety of tasks, such as: 

  • Hanging lights or sound equipment from ceilings
  • Moving heavy furniture or appliances
  • Lifting construction materials like bricks or lumber
  • Holding stage curtains or backdrops in place


How Does Rigging Equipment Work?

Rigging equipment works by using a system of pulleys and ropes to move heavy objects. The number of pulleys in the system will depend on the weight of the load lifted. 

For example, if you’re lifting heavy construction equipment, you’ll need more pulleys than just moving a small piece of furniture. The more pulleys you have in the system, the easier it will be to lift the load.

You’ll need to attach the ropes to the lifting object to use rigging equipment. Once the ropes are attached, they will go over the pulleys and back down to a winch or another lifting device. 

The winch is used to lift the load. Next, you’ll need to release the tension on the ropes to lower the load. This can be done by either letting go of the winch handle or pressing a button or lever on the winch itself. 

It’s important to be familiar with how your rigging equipment works before using it. If you’re not sure, be sure to ask a supervisor or another experienced rigger for help. 


Lifting Vs. Rigging: What’s the Difference?

Lifting and rigging often go hand-in-hand, but there is a difference between the two. It refers to the actual act of moving an object from one point to another. 

Rigging, on the other hand, involves attaching the object to be lifted to a system of pulleys and ropes. This system makes it easier to lift heavy objects by distributing the weight evenly. 

For example, if you’re lifting a heavy piece of furniture, you would first rig it up with ropes and pulleys. Once the rigging is in place, you can use the equipment to lift the object and move it to another location. 

So when you’re comparing lifting with rigging, think of it as a continuum. Rigging is responsible for setting things up, while lifting takes care of the entire hoisting process. So again, both concepts work hand-in-hand to help you move heavy objects safely and efficiently—but they are completely different. 


Types of Rigging Equipment

There are currently eight types of rigging equipment used in various applications. Let’s discuss them each in detail:

  • Rigging Hook and Shackle: This equipment connects ropes, chains, slings, and other rigging tools to prevent slipping.
  • Wire Rope: This rigging tool supports the shape or form of the load during the lifting process.
  • Slings: This rigging equipment is flexible and lightweight. It’s commonly used with wire roped to lift heavy loads.
  • Block and Pulley: This equipment provides adequate support while reducing the force needed to lift the heavy load.
  • Eye Bolt: This equipment is an anchor point that loops cables during rigging applications.
  • Steel Nut: This rigging tool works with the eye bolts in anchoring a rigging system.
  • Turnbuckles: This rigging equipment adjusts the length or tension on a chain, cable, rope, and other tensioned rigging equipment.
  • Lifting Beam and Spreader Bar: This rigging equipment stabilizes the weight of the load for a balanced, more manageable lift.


Safety Considerations for Rigging Operations

Safety is of utmost importance when it comes to any rigging operation. Any accidents that occur could result in serious injuries—or even death. 


There are a few key safety considerations to keep in mind when performing rigging operations:


Before the Operation

  • Inspect your rigging equipment before each use. This includes checking for any signs of wear and tear and ensuring all the parts are properly assembled.
  • Familiarize yourself with the area where the rigging operation will take place. This includes looking for any potential hazards that could threaten the safety of yourself and those around you.
  • Ensure all workers involved in the rigging operation are properly trained and aware of the potential risks.
  • Have a clear understanding of the rigging operation itself. This includes knowing the load, how heavy it is, and what the rigging system will be used to lift it.


During the Operation

  • Pay close attention to your surroundings and be aware of any possible changes.
  • Make sure the load is properly secured before beginning the lifting process.
  • Do not exceed the weight limit of your rigging equipment.
  • Be careful when handling the load. Avoid sudden movements or jerking, as this could cause the load to become unbalanced and result in an accident.


After the Operation

  • Inspect your rigging equipment once again for any signs of damage.
  • Disassemble the rigging system and put all the parts away properly.
  • Perform a debriefing with all workers involved in the operation to discuss what went well and what could be improved for future operations.


Tips for Maintaining and Operating Rigging Equipment

To ensure your rigging equipment is always in top condition, it’s important to perform regular maintenance and upkeep. This includes:

  • Cleaning your rigging equipment after each use. This will help remove any dirt, debris, or moisture that could lead to corrosion.
  • Lubricating your equipment on a regular basis. This helps reduce friction and wear on the parts.
  • Inspect your equipment regularly for any signs of damage. If any damage is found, it must be repaired or replaced as soon as possible.
  • Following the manufacturer’s instructions for care and use of your rigging equipment. This will help ensure you’re using the equipment properly and not exceeding its weight limit.


Operating rigging equipment safely is also essential to preventing accidents. Some tips for safe operation include:

  • Working with a partner when performing rigging operations. This will help you spot any potential hazards and keep the load balanced.
  • Wearing the proper safety gear when handling rigging equipment (e.g., gloves, safety goggles, closed-toe shoes, etc.)
  • Following all safety protocols and procedures when performing rigging operations. This includes using the proper signals when communicating with other workers.


Perform Regular Rigging Inspections with DATAMYTE

Rigging inspections are crucial to ensuring the safety of your workers and equipment before and after operations. Fortunately, DATAMYTE can help you in that regard. With our Digital Clipboard, you’ll be able to perform rigging inspections quickly and easily. Plus, all your data will be stored electronically for easy access later.

The DataMyte Digital Clipboard is a workflow automation software capable of creating checklists, capturing inspection data, and generating reports— all of which are perfect for rigging inspections. With the DataMyte Digital Clipboard, you’ll be able to:

  • Create digital checklists for your rigging inspections
  • Assign a rigger to perform maintenance checks.
  • Record the condition of slings, cables, chains, and other rigging equipment.
  • Report any rigging equipment malfunction in real-time.
  • View all your rigging inspection data in one place.
  • Generate and send reports using a mobile device.
  • Inventory and keep track of all your rigging equipment.


Get started with the DataMyte Digital Clipboard today to streamline your rigging inspection process and ensure your workers and equipment are always safe. Book a demo with us now to learn more!



Rigging equipment is an essential part of many businesses and industries. Following the proper safety protocols and guidelines can help ensure a safe work environment for yourself and those around you. And by using a rigging inspection checklist, you can ensure your rigging equipment is always in top condition and ready for use.



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