Lifting a load onto the back of a flatbed trailer using a boom truck or crane is not as simple as it sounds. A lot goes into safe lifting regardless of the size of the load and the means by which it will be lifted. Safe rigging and lifting begins with planning. As such, every lift master must understand how to put together a basic lift plan before he or she ever attempts that first lift.
A basic lift plan covers six different components of rigging and lifting. Neither of the six is more or less critical than the rest. All work together to create a safe lift from start to finish. They are described below.
- Project Responsibilities
The first component of a basic rigging/lifting plan is establishing project responsibilities. There is ultimately a lift master on every project. That person is responsible for making sure all of the rules for safe lifting are followed. He or she oversees the entire project from start to finish.
Along with establishing responsibilities is establishing effective lines of communication. How will those involved communicate during the planning process? How will communication occur during the actual lift procedure? If clear lines of communication are not established, the results could be disastrous.
- Lift Equipment Condition
Next, it is imperative that the lift team inspect all of the equipment prior to beginning. Such inspections have multiple purposes. First, the lift master must consider whether or not the chosen equipment is appropriate to task. Next, all equipment needs to be inspected to make sure it is in sound working condition. There is no room for any equipment deemed unsafe.
- Working Load Limits
The next part of a rigging/lifting plan involves working load limits (WLLs). Mytee Products, an Ohio company that sells rigging supplies, says that each piece of equipment is marked with a WLL. Those limits have to be accounted for in order to ensure that the lift master is not attempting to lift a load too heavy for the equipment being used.
Hand-in-hand with WWLs are a couple of basic principles of lifting. The load master determines the weight of the load in comparison to the WWLs of the equipment. He/she looks at the center of gravity and the sling angle. Finally, he/she has to account for any angular or side loading that may be necessary.
- Load Control
Next is actually controlling the load once it begins. This is a lot more difficult than it sounds. Center of gravity and hitch both play a crucial role here, so they have to be accounted for. It may be necessary to use tag lines to keep things from getting out of control. There is also the matter of making sure personnel are all safe during the lift.
- Environmental Conditions
The fifth component of a basic plan accounts for environmental conditions. More often than not, such concerns relate to lifts being conducted outdoors. Load masters have to be ready to contend with high winds, precipitation, and any other conditions that could pose a danger.
- Special Requirements
Finally are any special requirements that may be present in any given scenario. For example, it may be necessary to conduct a lift on terrain that is not naturally flat. Accommodations have to be made in order to guarantee such a lift is successful.
There is a lot that goes into rigging and lifting. Even something as seemingly simple as lifting a load onto the back of a flatbed trailer requires a lot of planning. To do it safely, you have to do it right.