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Rigging Failure Causes Tragic Accident

Rigging Failure Causes Tragic Accident

In the news, a crane was lifting steel beams when the rigging failed, dropping a beam onto two workers below. One of the workers was critically injured, while the other died of his wounds. While it’s easy to point fingers, the operator, rigger, and workers might have all avoided rigging failure by following safety protocols.

The Operator

The crane operator probably didn’t notice the workers underneath his load. It is the operator’s responsibility to be aware of pedestrians and employees in the work site to avoid hitting someone. Some helpful tips for operators include:

  • Never hoisting loads over workers’ heads
  • Alerting workers in the area of crane movement
  • Using tag lines to control a load instead of using workers to direct it underneath

The Rigger

Riggers are responsible for securing loads and inspecting them for signs of damage to avoid rigging failure. They also direct the crane’s load in a safe manner using proper communication and hand signals. In this situation, the rigger should have:

  • Determined that the load’s weight was within the crane’s rated capacity
  • Never allowed workers to use a damaged or torn sling
  • Inspected the hardware for damage
  • Used verbal or hand signals to direct the load (Try our rigging training to learn some hand signals!)
  • Directed the load away from pedestrians and workers

The Workers

While the workers weren’t responsible for the rigging failure, they were probably in the wrong place at the wrong time. Instead,  the workers should have:

  • Never stood underneath a crane’s load
  • Been constantly aware of their surroundings, especially in the air
  • Communicated with the rigger and operator regarding where the load was headed


Ultimately, everyone at a work site is responsible for keeping each other safe. If each worker had strictly followed safety protocols, they might have avoided this tragic rigging failure. You can stay smart and safe at your worksite by following the principles taught by Hard Hat Training.