Ironworkers on the Safe Side Safety Bulletins

On the Safe Side: Clearing Up Hoisting Hooks – Prevent Rigging Incidents



The process of hoisting and rigging any structural members, reinforcing steel or other common materials presents hazards that must be avoided to prevent serious incidents. The Iron Workers Union “2017 ZERO Incident” campaign commissioned by General President Eric Dean includes material-handling incidents, one of the deadly dozen hazards our members face in the shop and field. One of the deadly dozen hazards needing to be recognized pertains to clearing up the hooks while hoisting the load, lowering the load and releasing the load after the structural member has been set into final position. Turning your back on any rigging equipment during these common erection processes can result in either an ironworker getting snagged by the hooks or structural member getting snagged by the hooks. In either case, it is the qualified riggers’ responsibility to ensure eye hoisting hooks, shake-out hooks (sorting hooks) or any other equipment is cleared up.

safety dept report 1UnknownThe multiple lift rigging procedure is only one of many situations when eye hoisting hooks must be cleared up. When performing the multiple lift rigging procedure and using various types of rigging assemblies to perform the procedure, the hook-on crew must work together to keep the hooks from snagging adjacent beams. The ironworkers in the illustration show the proper technique and safe practice of working together to clear up hooks from the bull tails to avoid serious material-handling accidents. One of the specific OSHA Subpart R Steel Erection standards pertaining to rigging states, “all loads shall be rigged by a qualified rigger.” Clearing up the eye hoisting hooks are no exception. When ironworkers perform the multiple lift rigging procedure, there are special training requirements addressing the recognition of hazards, including the practice of clearing up the hooks and rigging equipment. The following are two OSHA requirements contained in the Subpart R—Steel Erection standard that require special training for our members when performing this rigging procedure. 

• 1926.761(c)(1)(i) The nature of the hazards associated with multiple lifts; and
• 1926.761(c)(1)(ii) The proper procedures and equipment to perform multiple lifts required by §1926.753(e).

safety dept report 2 UnknownJust as qualified riggers need to clear up hooks while hoisting multiple lifts, it is equally important for connectors to clear up the hooks as the beams are being lowered into position. The hooks can easily snag the ironworker’s safety harness or clothing, or the beam flanges as the load is being lowered. Unfortunately, this has been the primary causation factor in serious incidents. The connector in the previous illustration is safely lowering the load and ensuring the hooks do not contact himself or the beams. Training is the keystone of our organization and the Ironworkers National Training Fund, under the direction of Executive Director Lee Worley, has developed a nationally recognized qualified rigger program and is working on the development of the rigger certification program. Many project owners and contractors rely on our members completing these courses and want to verify that training is documented on the Apprenticeship Tracking System (ATS).

safety dept report 3 UnknownIn the illustration to the left, the ironworker safely clears up the eye hoisting hook after releasing the sling from the hoist line. This may seem to be an elementary safety topic to some, however, we regret several serious incidents have occurred when the hooks were not cleared up. Our members are rigging thousands of loads every day and each one requires them to clear up the eye hoisting hooks.