Rigging and lifting equipment are commonly used in heavy industries like construction, oil and energy, mining, shipyards, and so on. Needless to say, ensuring safe and successful operations is crucial. This depends largely on the use of equipment that’s deemed fit for use. Even a minor rigging equipment failure can result in significant injuries, fatalities, and property damage.
This is where reliable rigging equipment testing services come into the picture. OSHA and ASME continually highlight the importance of using safe rigging equipment at work sites to ensure the safety of employees. Several specific obligations need to be met by employers to properly manage all sorts of associated risks.
Apart from having the right design and construction, rigging equipment should be tested, checked, and maintained appropriately for safe use. Regular rigging equipment testing is, therefore, a must.
Let’s take a look at the four most effective types of rigging equipment testing methods.
Proof Load Testing
Proof load testing helps ensure the rigging equipment and slings are in safe working condition, regardless of their age. This testing method helps determine the quality of the sling, while meeting the requirements of the safety standards mandated by OSHA or ASME.
Broadly speaking, proof load testing is a controlled test performed on different types of rigging equipment to verify that the manufacturing processes and/or components are effective and efficient. It also helps identify defects, thereby preventing accidents.
This type of rigging equipment testing is typically performed on heavy lifting machines such as forklifts, overhead cranes, web slings, hoists, trolleys, lifts, hooks, chain blocks, telehandlers, suspension equipment, and more.
Proof load test is conducted using dynamometers or hydraulic cylinders with load cells. In some procedures, water bags may also be used to test the weight of the machinery.
Different methods are used for testing equipment that’s meant for carrying people and for carrying heavy loads. When it comes to the former, the proof load test needs to be performed once every six months. For the latter, the test may be conducted once a year.
Following proper rigging equipment testing can go a long way in preventing mishaps, operational failures, and fatalities.
As the name suggests, cyclic testing is often used to test rigging equipment, products, materials, and other components with repeated testing in a single setting. This eliminates the need for a single test for the entire process. Cyclic testing is usually performed to verify the long-term viability of the rigging equipment.
This type of rigging equipment testing is conducted to check the lifetime performance of the machinery by reviewing performance at regular intervals. It helps determine how the equipment will function when it is new and after a certain period of use. This is done to identify issues, such as wear and corrosion, and see how the equipment will perform in real-world use.
The test aims to help workers understand the capacity and performance of the rigging equipment. It is among the most common testing methods to ensure safety and toughness.
Water Bag Load Testing
Ask any reliable provider of rigging equipment testing services, and they’ll tell you that this testing method is the best for ensuring the safety of the rigging equipment. In fact, it is perfect for testing rigging and lifting hardware such as cranes, lifeboats, structure strength, and so on. It’s also inexpensive and less time-consuming.
Load test water bags are made of sturdy, UV-resistant, PVC coating fabrics. Their innovative design is accompanied by all necessary filling/drain hose components. They also come with valves, shackles, harnesses, lifting belts, and master links.
These water bags are easy to handle, and can be used for testing rigging equipment and structures when they’re newly finished or even during inspections or maintenance. They’re most effective when used for crane load testing, overhead proof load testing, and beam load testing, among others. The water bags are usually available in different sizes for different variants of load test weights.
Load test water bags can lower transportation costs, storage and handling issues, rigging time, and overall testing expense.
Solid Weight Proof Load Testing
This type of rigging equipment testing is also known as the traditional proof load testing method. It is a subset of proof load testing, where solid load test weights are used.
It is used to determine the load-bearing capacity of rigging equipment or structures. When the equipment passes this test, it can be ascertained that it meets the safety standards specified by OSHA.
Ensuring safety is paramount at any work site that involves the use of heavy equipment. Any slip-up on this front, and you could be looking at massive injuries, death, and damage.
It’s important that workers are thoroughly trained to use cranes and other rigging equipment. Timely inspections and maintenance procedures also go a long way.
Rigging equipment testing is non-negotiable to ensure the safe use of all the tools and machinery being used in day-to-day operations. Business owners and employers have a major role to play here.
Hiring the right rigging equipment testing services is crucial to ascertain that the equipment has been thoroughly (and appropriately) tested and deemed safe for use.