What Does a Rigger Do?

The term “rigger” can be traced back to the days of old sailing ships. The rigger was responsible for handling and taking care of the ship’s complex sails and rigging system. These days a rigger performs a similar task, only with lifting equipment on the worksite.

Riggers are specially trained to prepare, assemble and instal rigging gear such as cables, ropes, pulleys and winches, to lift, lower, move and position heavy objects around worksites.

They are also trained to assemble temporary structures like scaffolding for construction sites and move and assemble precast facades and panels on buildings under construction.

Riggers are essentially responsible for ensuring that any load to be lifted is properly secured using the right equipment. It is up to a rigger to ensure that the load doesn’t come free, that the appropriate lifting and manual handling equipment is used for the job, and that all lifting is carried out safely and to all applicable standards and guidelines.

Riggers are required on a range of worksites including construction, structural steel erection, prefabrication panel erection, infrastructure maintenance, events and entertainment, mining, oil rigs, energy supply and more.

Manual Handling Equipment

What are the tasks and duties?

Riggers have a number of responsibilities on the worksite beyond just handling the rigging equipment. These are just some of a rigger’s tasks and duties:

  • Calculating load weights
  • Working out the centre of gravity on the materials to be lifted
  • Determining what lifting equipment is best suited to move the object
  • Determining what manual handling equipment may be required to position the object for lifting
  • Erecting cranes and mobile crane booms and adjusting crane tower height
  • Properly attaching slings, shackles, chokers and winches to secure the load
  • Installing and operating cables, ropes, pulleys, winches and other lifting tackle
  • Attaching chains, cables or ropes including knowing the right hitches to tie and fixings to use, as well as knowing the load they can support safely
  • Lifting and fixing components for scaffolding erection
  • Ensuring all Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) procedures and guidelines are followed
  • Inspecting, repairing and maintaining lifting equipment
  • Securing, lifting, positioning and erecting prefab panels
  • Structural steel erection

Riggers should also be able to recognise any potential risks associated with the lifting or moving work and plan the lift to avoid these risks.

Riggers also need some understanding of physics and maths to be able to calculate lifting capacities, balance loads and work out safe lifting angles.

What qualifications are required?

The primary qualification required to become a rigger is a Certificate III in Rigging. This will provide a qualification that enables you to work from basic through to intermediate level rigging.

You will also need your Construction Induction Card (white card). Anyone working on a construction site requires proof of having completed general Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) construction induction training for the industry.

Additional licences you may need include a High-Risk Work licence, Working at Heights tickets, Working in Confined Spaces ticket and a Forklift Licence.

Before starting on a worksite, you may also be required to complete a police check and submit to drug and alcohol testing.

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Jared Kesselring

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