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What Riggers Do – The Role of a Rigger.

A Rigger’s role is vast and the nature of their work often depends on the industry the Rigger is working in.
Typically in the building industry a Rigger will work with crane and heavy equipment to scaffolding and high rise work.

With cranes and heavy equipment a Rigger would determine how to lift heavy loads using lifting equipment, cables, hooks and pulleys. This will mean they will calculate:

  • Where the lifting points will be required to ensure a safe and even distribution of weight.
  • What lifting equipment and hardware to use to handle the weight safely.
  • Distances the weight can be reached with the crane.
  • Loading points in the building to ensure the point load of the cargo can be carried by the structure once placed into position.
  • Fixing of large or heavy structures into position before releasing the weight with the cane, such as large signs.
  • Determining the required fixings and safe locations to hold suspended loads.
  • Signal or direct in the movement of heavy loads to ensure safety to others and prevent the damage to the materials and surrounds.

With scaffolding and high rise work, Riggers don’t just erect scaffold, their role is much more involved with:

  • Determining scaffold selection to support different weights, sizes and wind loading on the structure.
  • Determining what is required and the fixing to load points on a structure such as lighting, speakers and banners on a musical stage.
  • Riggers will be skilled in abseiling from high rise buildings to enable them to work, such as window washing on high rise buildings.
  • Riggers often fabricate, erect and repair all hoisting gear, supporting equipment and structures.

Rigging isn’t just confined to the building industry, many other industries rely on Riggers everyday such as mining, heavy haulage, shipping, manufacturing and communications. In these industries all the above attributes are used in one way or another.

Riggers also work alongside engineers to test calculated strengths and breaking points on structures, beams, brackets, concrete etc. When engineers specify required strength attributes in a building, riggers will perform a controlled test on these calculations to ensure the Engineers specifications are met.
For example; a calculated beam size should carry a minimum 2 tonne over a certain span, Riggers will test the performance of this beam to ensure the calculations are true and that beam can carry the specified load, even find out what the breaking point is.

Riggers also perform regular maintenance checks on large structures such as over sized signs etc, to ensure defects have evolved such as cracks and weak points and the structure is safe to continue to stay in position.
A Rigger’s role can be very physically demanding, usually the Rigger is the person doing most of the manual work. This role involves considerable use of all your body in climbing, crawling, lifting, balancing and the handling of materials. Many Riggers have a high level of competency in mathematics, plan reading, tool handling, welding and hot cutting.


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