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The term "rigging" comes from the days of sailing when a person was assigned to raising and lowering the sails of the ship. Today, riggers are skilled workers that attach different loads to lifting equipment such as tower, mobile or overhead cranes. Riggers use a variety of equipment to attach loads, and a helper often assists the rigger in performing his duties.
Part of the job of a rigger's helper is to inspect the rigging equipment to ensure it is safe and undamaged. Most loads requiring a rigger are very large and dangerous to move, especially with damaged rigging equipment. Wire rope slings, chain slings, eye-bolts, u-bolts and other attachments are used to connect and secure the load to a lifting device. The rigger's helper inspects each sling and attachment thoroughly, both before and after lifting.
A rigger must know the approximate weight of each load lifted to ensure that the lifting equipment has sufficient capacity to handle it; a rigger's helper measures the load to help the rigger calculate it's weight. Calculating the angle of the sling and the weight of the attachments must also be as accurate as possible to ensure a safe lift, so the rigger's helper assists the rigger in figuring the weight, angle of lift and size requirements of the attachments or lifting devices.
Many times large loads require lanyards so the rigger can control the load during high or difficult lifts. A rigger's helper secures the lanyards to the load and controls the load by pulling the load in the direction indicated by the rigger. For example, a machine being installed inside a factory often has limited space in which to manipulate the machine into place; a lanyard is attached to the machine during the lift so the rigger's helper can prevent the machine from hitting any other objects while being moved into place.
The rigger's helper dismantles all the rigging equipment once the load arrives at its destination, removing slings, straps, bolts and other attachment devices from the load. Once the rigging equipment is dismantled, the rigger's helper lubricates the equipment (as needed) and places the equipment back into storage. When storing rigging equipment, the rigger's helper ensures that the wire rope, chain or nylon of the sling is not being pinched or damaged by other equipment. Most of the time the slings hang from a hook so they do not tangle up.
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