Who is a rigger?
Riggers are professional labourers who carry out rigging work, i.e. the transport and movement of large goods using technical means and ground equipment. They also deal with the installation as well as the dismantling of equipment. Mechanisms and machinery used by riggers include: cables, ropes, hoists, winches, cranes and others. The main duties and responsibilities of a rigger include: examining objects that can be moved, assessing their size, shape and weight, and determining the type of equipment needed to move them; building a temporary boom or tower (hoisting device) if necessary, and installing cables, equipment and other solutions; selecting or making slings and attaching to the load; splicing ropes and cables; erecting steel structures for buildings and factories for construction purposes; building prefabricated concrete panels for use on building facades; inspecting, maintaining and repairing equipment.
A hookman is a skilled worker who performs the activities of hanging and unhooking loads carried by a crane. The hookman uses a variety of load handling equipment - slings, traverses, grips - during loading and unloading operations, attaches the load to the hook of the crane and detaches it after it has been moved to another location. How the load is secured during lifting and handling, ensuring its integrity and the safety of those around it, depends on this person's qualifications. For this reason, only trained, certified workers with a licence issued by a licensed training institution, who have passed a qualifying examination with the company performing the loading and unloading work and who have received a positive medical certificate, may be allowed to work with cranes. The main industries in need of hooklifters are construction, warehousing, ports and rail freight terminals and heavy industry. The hookman always works in tandem with the crane operator: he signals that the load is ready to be lifted, gives orders to move the load horizontally for correct positioning and allows it to be lowered.
Responsibilities of the hooker
The duties of a hooker include the following:
- Before lifting - familiarise yourself with the required documentation, select slings according to the technical characteristics and the specifics of the loads to be lifted, place the weights in the correct position - this is important for loads with a large surface area, incorrect positioning can cause the crane to tip over;
- When securing cargo - ensuring that fixed components are securely attached;
- When lifting a load - controlling and correcting the crane operator's actions directly or via radio, this allows the optimum height to be selected for the load to be lifted, changing its angle, reducing working time and risks;
- When lowering - preparing the areas to move the load, the hookman must choose the best option for placing the load and ensure that the lowering area is ready, shimming if necessary and checking that the load can be safely unhooked;
- Emergency situation - the hookman signals the urgent need to stop the crane;
- Studying site-specific safety procedures, monitoring compliance with these recommendations and informing team members;
- Learning to operate new heavy lifting equipment;
- Skill in the use of firefighting equipment.