Dirty Words and Phrases Associated with Load Handling Activities

Posted by Joe Kuzar on Jul 17, 2017 9:16:11 AM

Dirty Words and Phrases Associated with Load Handling Activities

We hear them all the time. In meetings. On the job site. We don’t even react. We continue to listen intently and take notes, but we don’t address it. They have become part of our everyday vernacular.

These dirty words and phrases are not the ones that George Carlin spoke about in his legendary 1972 comedy routine, Seven Words You Can Never Say on Television***. The dirty words and phrases that I speak about can have catastrophic consequences on a job site during a load handling activity if they go unchecked. Too many times I have heard:

  • “Let’s try this.”
  • “I think this will work.”
  • “We’ll see what happens.”
  • “This should work.”
  • “Hey, y’all watch this!” (My personal favorite.)

When we hear these dirty words and phrases, we should stop what we’re doing and realize that we don’t have a plan and working without a plan can be dangerous and not very productive. 

During the planning phase, we can use our imagination and be creative. We can think outside the box and explore new ways to handle loads. We can consider new methods and equipment that we normally don’t use. We may find safer and more efficient ways. All of this is possible during the planning phase. We do the load handling activity on paper and identify gaps. We then determine how we are going to fill or bridge the gaps, but we only do this during the planning phase.

None of the preceding paragraph should be attempted during the execution of the plan. Our plan should be so well written that personnel that are not familiar with the load handling activity can quickly be introduced and contribute. Of course, they should be qualified to do so and this should also be done as part of the planning phase.

Our plan should address the following areas:

    1. The Load
    2. The Load Handling Equipment
    3. The Rigging
    4. The Environment
    5. The Job Site
    6. The Personnel
    7. Unique (Site Specific) Policies and Procedures 
    8. Possible Contingency Plans to Address the Most Probable IssuesCLPITIWA.jpg

The size of the plan should be relative to the complexity of the load handling activity.

Proper planning leads to a procedure-based execution which has fewer errors. Executing a load handling activity with knowledge-based execution requires personnel to rely upon their knowledge and experiences. It should be noted that not all experience is good experience.

Given the choice between the two, procedure-based execution driven by a well-developed plan results in a safer and more efficient execution of the load handling activity with fewer dirty words and phrases.

If you hear a litany of dirty words with regularity at your organization, it might be time to take a look at the ITI Lift Director & Critical Lift Planning Course. The three-day course will address the responsibilities of a Lift Director as identified by OSHA and ASME (P30.1 and B30.5), as well as the all the steps listed above as part of a proper lift plan.

Learn more about the course here. Click here for a schedule of upcoming course dates at ITI Training Centers throughout North America. Click here to request a quote at your location, or call 800.727.6355 to speak with a member of the ITI Team.

Stay Calm and Rig Safely,

Joseph Kuzar

Assistant Technical Director, ITI



***Not safe for work!

Topics: Load Handling, Joe Kuzar, Critical Lift Planning

How Many Crane & Rigging Lifts? Download Your Lift Count Calculator

Posted by Mike Parnell on May 14, 2014 12:45:00 PM

Why a Lift Count Calculator?

Ever wonder what you company’s exposure is to crane and rigging work? It is easy to understand the risk associated with lifting loads in crowded areas such as a construction site. Also, we realize there are projects like refinery and powerhouse outages that require load moving in areas that have significant potential for contact with obstructions.

ITI has used a “Lift Count Calculator” to help management groups grasp the potential for incidents by using a fill-in-the-blanks approach to assess their exposure to accidents. It tallies standard lifts and critical lifts and lets the evaluator arrive at an understanding of the number of lifting events that a site or corporation experiences in one year.

Your organization likely has its own definition of standard vs. critical lift. Generally standard lifts do not require any written plan or field documentation, besides verification of capacities by crane operators and riggers. A critical lift can be one that assumes potential hazards to personnel (suspended personnel platforms), loads having a high dollar value or long replacement time, contains a risk to the general public, or one that can impact the ongoing operation of the company.

When you use the ITI Lift Count Calculator, enter the data related to the number of cranes or hoists in you organization and then enter the “average” number of standard or critical lifts made each day or month as specified. You might be surprised at the numbers that your company generates.

ITI can help reduce the risks tied to your standard and critical lifts by helping improve the skills of your people and the procedures related to load handling. Through our Lift Director and Critical Lift Planning programs, we can take your folks to the next level of expertise, while lowering the risks related to load handling.

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Happy Trails to all of my Crane and Rigging Friends,

Mike Parnell
ITI – Field Services

Topics: lift count calculator

ASME B30.9 Slings – Documented Sling Inspections

Posted by Mike Parnell on Apr 26, 2012 9:17:00 AM

I keep running into folks who have questions about the ASME requirement for “documented” sling inspections. Most alarming to me is that a misconception has arisen that has caused some facility owners to simply “retire” their synthetic web slings and synthetic roundslings in order to avoid having to perform a falsely assumed “documented” inspection; e.g. single record for each single sling.

alloy sling with masterlinkThe easy thing to remember is that the “repairable” slings are those that must have a documented inspection at least every 12 months. There are two sling types that fall into the truly “repairable” category; alloy chain slings and metal mesh slings. These two sling types are required to have serial numbers on their identification, making them easier to trace during inspection events and repair activities.

The other four sling types (wire rope slings, synthetic rope slings, synthetic web slings and synthetic roundslings) also must have a periodic (annual) inspection; however recording the event of the inspection is all that is necessary to meet the guideline. This recording method can be something as simple as a notation on the sling tag, an entry into the rigging “maintenance log”, an entry in the facility “maintenance log”, or as accounted for by employee time/task cards. The employer can make a note in their file that says something like, “On this date xx/xx/xx, Bill Jones and Sherrie Smith inspected all of the web slings on our property. Out of 320 web slings inspected they rejected 18 because of damage. The other slings remained in service.” There are no requirements for these 4 sling types to have unique serial numbers, so their traceability is impossible. Thus, individual records for the four types of slings in this category are not required.

1) According to both the 2006 and 2010 ASME B30.9 revisions, individual records were and still are required for the following two sling types:

Alloy Chain Slings
2006 version

9-1.9.3 Periodic Inspection(d) A written record of the most recent periodicinspection shall be maintained and shall include thecondition of the sling.

2010 version

9-1.9.3 Periodic Inspection(d) A written record of the most recent periodicinspection shall be maintained and shall include thecondition of the sling.

Metal Mesh Slings
2006 version

9-3.9.3 Periodic Inspection(d) A written record of the most recent periodicinspection shall be maintained and shall include thecondition of the sling.

2010 version

9-3.9.3 Periodic Inspection(d) A written record of the most recent periodicinspection shall be maintained and shall include thecondition of the sling.

2)  In the 2006 and 2010 revisions of ASME B30.9 individual records were not and are not currently required for the four sling types listed below. Note that the “periodic inspection” is what’s documented, not the individual sling inspection.

Wire Rope Slings
2006 version

9-2.9.3 Periodic Inspection(d) A written record of the most recent periodic inspection shall be maintained.

2010 version

9-2.9.3 Periodic Inspection

(d) Documentation that the most recent periodic inspection was performed and shall be maintained.

(e) Inspection records of individual slings are not required.

Synthetic Rope Slings
2006 version

9-4.9.3 Periodic Inspection(d) A written record of the most recent periodic inspection shall be maintained.

2010 version

9-4.9.3 Periodic Inspection

(d) Documentation that the most recent periodic inspection was performed and shall be maintained.

(e) Inspection records of individual slings are not required.

Synthetic Webbing Slings
2006 version

9-5.9.3 Periodic Inspection(d) A written record of the most recent periodic inspection shall be maintained.

2010 version

9-5.9.3 Periodic Inspection

(d) Documentation that the most recent periodic inspection was performed and shall be maintained.

(e) Inspection records of individual slings are not required.

Synthetic Roundslings
2006 version

9-6.9.3 Periodic Inspection(d) A written record of the most recent periodic inspection shall be maintained.

2010 version

9-6.9.3 Periodic Inspection

(d) Documentation that the most recent periodic inspection was performed and shall be maintained.

(e) Inspection records of individual slings are not required.

The wording has changed slightly from the 2006 version to the 2010 issue of B30.9, however the guidance has not changed. I hope this helps employers avoid wasting money by throwing out perfectly good slings.

A final comment about repairable slings. If you have read the ASME B30.9 Slings volume, you may have noticed that there is an allowance for repairing synthetic web slings. In 33 years I have heard of this happening one time. Two 4-ply slings were initially rigged to lift a yacht and while tensioning the rigging, an outer layer of one sling was severely chaffed. The sling owner sent it back to the original manufacturer and they sewed another layer onto the sling, proof tested it, labeled it accordingly and returned it. The sling had “approximately” the same “elasticity” which helped ensure that all plies would accept loading in the lifting process. It was a risk that the sling manufacturer accepted. In most cases, manufacturers won’t attempt the repair of a web sling because impacted dirt and grit will break a sewing needle; also there is a huge difference in the elastic range of used webbing versus new. A repair of this type could run $200 plus proof testing and relabeling which might cost $75. At the end of the day, the sling’s true “strength” is in question, and it might cost much more than the sling is worth. And don’t forget, that this sling type is not required to be serial numbered unless requested by the purchaser, so traceability is nearly impossible. A traceable serial number provides “file” information like: the webbing manufacturer, the thread manufacturer, the sewer’s name, the date of fabrication, etc. ITI does not recommend the repair of synthetic web slings. Too much can go wrong, and it will likely never achieve a true 5:1 design factor after the repair, even though the manufacturer has proof tested it.

Happy trails to all of my crane and rigging friends,

Mike Parnell

Topics: ASME, ASME b30, Sling Inspection

Improving the Sling Angle

Posted by Mike Parnell on Apr 23, 2012 2:21:00 PM

Improving the Sling Angle

We often learn from our surroundings. By taking a page from other folk’s playbooks, we can start to appreciate new solutions to old problems.

Standard rigging generally calls for two to four slings rigged from the crane hook to the load. Either the slings connect directly to a pad eye or manufactured connector like a swivel hoist ring, or we might use the slings in choker or basket hitches. Especially when rigging with 4 slings, the angle of the slings is typically less than 90 degrees from the horizontal, which means they bear against a portion of the load. (You have heard from me numerous times in various articles about the absolute need to install sling protection when the potential exists for sling damage due to cutting or sliding friction, or load damage due to marring and scrubbing.)


We can borrow a page from the longshore industry to help reduce the sling-to-load contact that might lead to damage or a failure. The use of a spreader frame can help orient the slings to a near 90deg. position when using a spreader frame. The sling tension is not increased since the vertical orientation takes away the “angle load factor”.  It also minimizes the potential contact points when rigging with choker or basket hitches. The pre-planned contact between sling and load is restricted to the bearing surface, not spanning across the sides or upper edges of the load.

A spreader frame is different than a spreader bar. The frame typically offerdescribe the images a 4-leg lift option, generally at 90deg. from horizontal. A spreader bar requires that the slings work at angles less than 90deg. thereby inviting upper load contact with the slings and added tension due to the <90deg. orientation.

Many spreader frames are available off-the-shelf, or can be built by qualified manufacturers who have calculations and drawings in-hand, from previous customer orders.describe the image

We can lower the risk of damaging the load and the rigging by improving the sling angle.

Happy trails to my crane and rigging friends,


Topics: mike parnell

Q2 2012 Professional Rigger Newsletter Issued

Posted by Industrial Training International on Apr 19, 2012 12:46:00 PM

It's that time again for The Professional Rigger Newsletter!

Enjoy the print edition which features a more in-depth workshop than a typical blog post as well as articles and other information relevant to you. 

Also, be sure to attend a Free Upcoming Webinar from the ITI Showcase Webinar Seriesdescribe the imageUpcoming presentations include:

Enjoy this Quarter's Professional Rigger Newsletter!

Click Here to Download the Professional Rigger Newsletter

Have fun with the workshop and remember to always Rig it Right!


To all my crane and rigging friends, Happy Trails.

Mike Parnell

President/CEO, ITI

Topics: ITI, mike parnell

Load Weight Estimation & Area of a Circle

Posted by Mike Parnell on Nov 15, 2011 11:07:00 AM

The workshop below uses the Journeyman Rigger's Reference Card panel 6, to help provide the solution.

The area of a circle can be calculated with either (Pi x radius squared) or (dia. x dia. x .80), and both arrive at very similar values for Area of a Circle. For riggers in the field, we use the dxdx.80 method since it is faster and simpler.

If circumference is desired, a person can use Pi x diameter, officially 3.1416 x d, or for quick figuring in the field, 3.2 x diameter.

Happy trails to my crane and rigging friends.

Mike Parnell
ITI – Field Services

lwe refcardpanel

area of circle wrokshop











Topics: industrial training international, load weight estimation, area of circle, ITI, mike parnell

Dueling Cranes – 4 Steps to Avoiding a Crane Collision

Posted by Mike Parnell on Nov 11, 2011 10:24:00 AM

4 Steps to Avoiding a Crane Collision

In a fabrication or assembly facility there can be a host of material handling that occurs during the general nature of work. The delivery of steel plate, beam, tubing and other raw materials or equipment is often performed in a variety in ways.

Typically a forklift or telehandler will move material from a storage yard or building into a fabrication bay. The material often needs to be sorted for initial fit-up and assembly. That’s when the cranes get involved. In bays with open ends, it may be inviting to integrate the use of a small mobile crane to assist the overhead bay cranes for material sorting and assembly.

When a boom type crane is tasked to work in a shop bay, the opportunity for accidental contact with obstructions is ever present. An even greater risk is at hand, with an overhead crane and mobile crane attempting to work in the same area. The overhead crane operator may not see the mobile crane boom due to fabrication obstructions. The mobile crane operator and assigned rigger/welder may not be looking up to ensure continued clearance with an approaching overhead crane. In both cases, the machines may be moving towards one another simultaneously with almost potentially disastrous results.

If one crane strikes another in this situation, the suspended load(s) can be easily dislodged and dropped, the load(s) can swing violently or there may be a crane derailment or tip-over. Nothing good can come out of this ticking time bomb.

describe the image

If a mobile crane or other high reach machinery (aerial work platform, telehandler with mounted boom, high-mast forklifts, etc.) is working in a crane bay, the site management needs to ensure certain precautions are in place. The following are options that management can take to minimize the risk involving “dueling” cranes:

  1. De-energize the overhead crane closest to the mobile crane. Make sure that additional cranes in the bay respect the de-energized crane and do not strike or push the tagged out machine. Instruct all personnel about the temporary work restrictions.
  2. Place rail clamps onto the runway rails so that they provide hard stops, in order to limit the travel of the bridge crane nearest the mobile crane. These aren’t designed as bumper stops, but are only for accidental over-travel. Hang warning tape or install floor level barrier cones to help highlight the maximum allowable travel distance of the bridge crane nearest to the mobile crane. Instruct all personnel about the temporary work restrictions.describe the image
  3. A somewhat less desirable method of protection is to have an “umpire” stationed between the two machines. The first rule is that neither crane can move horizontally without the umpire’s approval. The second rule is that the cranes cannot move horizontally at the same time. His approval is only granted when he can ensure that the opposing crane is stationary, while the other crane is in motion. Caution should be expressed to the overhead crane operator to compensate for crane “coasting” after the travel controller moves to neutral. Instruct all personnel about the temporary work restrictions.
  4. All personnel should be aware that lifting and handling long loads like I-beam can potentially contact any obstruction, exposed electrical bus-bar, or particularly the nearest crane. Don’t assume that vertical handling isn’t a risk in a congested work area as described in this article. Instruct all personnel about the temporary work restrictions.

There are some in our industry who would strictly prohibit the use of high reaching machines in overhead crane bays, but that doesn’t seem very practical. The secret is to have a game plan in place that minimizes the risk and have employees follow the approved procedures while adhering to the imposed operational restrictions. The ideas proposed here don’t represent an exhaustive list. There may be a number of other approaches that can be taken to avoid an incident related to high reaching equipment in an assembly bay. The best approach generally includes a combination of mechanical or electrical restrictors, visible barricades and trained personnel who are actively respecting the existing operational conditions.

Happy trails,

Mike Parnell

P.S. For more information about crane operations refer to ASME B30.5 Mobile and Locomotive Cranes and ASME B30.2 Overhead and Gantry Cranes. Both ASME Volumes are available at the iti.com/bookstore or asme.org.


Cranes, Rigging and the Peter Principle

Posted by Mike Parnell on Nov 10, 2011 12:11:00 PM

ITI trainingOur industry depends on cranes, rigging and other load handling equipment. The big key to success is having folks who are competent, qualified and capable at multiple levels to be able to safely and effectively get work done.

If you have a solid knowledge base in the rudimentary operations and practices of load handling, you should get ready for the next step. Why? You are the future of our industry. You may well be appointed to the next level of oversight that incorporates the use of the equipment and the procedures related to project execution.

mike parnell ITIIf you are being considered or have been appointed as a foreman or supervisor to manage any size crew who uses cranes and rigging, you will want to further your education in the subjects of your profession. In the 1968 book called “Peter Principle”, by Laurence J. Peter (1919-1990), Mr. Peter observed that in some cases, people tend to be promoted until they reach their level of incompetence. Their advancement to a new job is based on their previous successes that demanded a limited set of skills. Their new assignment may incorporate some of their existing skills but also demand competency in areas that they may not be prepared for. Don’t be a living example of the Peter Principle.

Take a pro-active approach today and get the proper tools for your new and expanding assignment. These tools involve skills and knowledge of the subject matter. In our world that may mean exposure to a few subjects like:

            1. Advanced Rigging Inspection and Trouble Shooting

            2. Intermediate and Advanced Rigging

            3. Mobile Crane Operations and Load Chart Interpretation

            4. Lift Director Responsibilities

            5. Lift Planning

            6. Accident Investigation

            7. Crane and Rigging Audits

            8. Crane Inspections

            9. Safety Procedures, LOTO, PPE and HazMat

            10. Crane Assembly/Disassembly

            11. Contingency Planning

            12. Emergency Response

Others in your organization are depending on your current and future work skills and operational knowledge. Make sure your competency grows with your assignments. If you are ready for the next step, visit our website (www.iti.com) and see which of our programs can help you avoid the Peter Principle.

Happy trails,
Mike Parnell

P.S. Believe me when I tell you that at ITI, all of our trainers and consultants are asked to live by an axiom that reflects this article; “Be a student first and a trainer second”. I get up each morning and wonder what will I learn today? What questions can I ask, who can give me insight that I don’t have, and what situation can I learn from, that will make me better prepared for tomorrow?  Would you forgive a seasoned veteran (old man) for being a little preachy?

Proverbs 4:7 Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding.

Topics: crane & rigging training, Industrial Training, rigger training, ITI, mike parnell

Video - A World Leader in Crane & Rigging Training - ITI

Posted by Mike Parnell on Sep 8, 2011 11:12:00 AM

Learn why Industrial Training International is a world leader in crane and rigging training.


Topics: ITI

5 Items to Consider When Installing Welded Pad Eyes for Rigging

Posted by Industrial Training International on Jul 11, 2011 8:19:00 AM

Structural Connection Points for Attaching Chain Hoists (load drifting)

welded padeyes4riggingIn power plants, refineries, aboard ships, in paper mill and other industrial settings, equipment must be installed or removed to accommodate the facility’s operation. Often riggers must be creative when rigging loads in tight quarters where there are no existing overhead cranes.

If the proposal is to use existing structural beams or columns for chain hoist connections prior to a load drifting activity a number of things should take place.

  1. Ensure that the facility engineering team has approved the rigging point based on the anticipated loading. Obtain the maximum allowable working load limit in writing.
  2. Identify the proper connector for the beam; welded pad eye, bolted swivel hoist ring, beam clamp, etc. Get a qualified engineer to approve the connector, and in the case of weldments get the details of the required material type, size, shape, thickness and shackle pin hole size and its location. If the desired connector is a pad eye also get a listing of the engineer’s minimum “removal criteria” based on wear, deformation and weld condition.
  3. Have a qualified welder, install the pad eye and inspect the welding using the recommended non-destructive examination method (dye penetrant, magnetic particle, etc.). A documented load test may be required.
  4. Mark the pad eye for its maximum rated capacity and angular limitations as provided by the engineer. The pad eye can be serial numbered (RFID identifier) so that it can be referenced on a site plan for original data, limitations and the name of the approving engineer. Maximum capacity and angular markings should be stenciled near the pad eye for future “quick reference” by all rigging personnel.
  5. Inspect all rigging pad eyes before and after use to ensure their integrity.

Chain hoist information can be obtained by reviewing ASME B30.16. This document can be obtained at www.iti.com/bookstore or through www.asme.org.

Happy trails to my crane and rigging friends.

Mike Parnell
ITI – Field Services

Topics: overhead cranes, rigging safety