rigging in welding and for ironworkers

Hi everyone
Wanted to ask you as folk involved in welding and steels about your experience rigging and work with ropes. Worked on construction sites
here in UK and used some rigging skills.
All my rigging refs. from North America.
Just been pointed to a great publication from Ontario (thanks, Private) Construction Safety Association of Ontario - Hoisting and Rigging Safety Manual Also have: BC, Canada - the Boilermaking Manual From USA - books: Cranes and Derricks - Howard Shapiro, Jay P. Shapiro, Lawrence K. Shapiro Handbook of Rigging - Joseph A. MacDonald, W. A. Rossnagel, Lindley R. Higgins TM 5-725 Rigging-1968 - Dept of the Army Technical Manual
I've got these questions about rope use over there. I've had these "better rope" arguments put to me which I think are wrong.
Nylon rope or polypropylene (PP) rope?
You can obtain the strength you need with a bigger diameter PP rope - which would make it easier to handle. Advantage PP for the up-to-200kg (440lb) weights of steels which are manually movable? The PP dead-breaks in overload on horizontal hauls - never seen the claimed dangerous elastic break of a Nylon rope, but told you don't want to be near. Then cost - in the real world, because PP is much cheaper, you can replace it much more readily as it accumulates wear or any other question-marks over its properties.
Braid or 3-strand laid?
3-strand has the advantage that you can twist open the lay - which means there is no part of the rope's structure you cannot inspect. Whereas braid - most of the strength is in the core (?) but you can only see the surface. And strength you get from a bigger more handleable rope. So I reckon advantage 3-strand in the harsh conditions with mishaps (eg run-over by vehicles, burns) of construction site use - where need to be able to inspect your rope frequently. And even more so cost - cheap PP 3-strand can be easily replaced if there are any question-marks over its servicability even given its inspectability.
That means that the cheapest most rough-and-ready "rope" is what you want to be using. ???
Then - 3-strand - you can splice it using the classic techniques - of which the eye-splice makes an end termination preserving 100% of the strength of the rope - very useful
(tensile testing shows this - plain rope between two terminating eye-splices breaks in mid-length not near eye-spliced ends: http://www.weldsmith.co.uk/dropbox/my/0905_whereto_ropetenstest/090525_carrickb_test_plus.html http://www.weldsmith.co.uk/tech/ropes_knots/rks_testing/090504_testrope.html )
Last question - what do you have to do to "test" your ropes? Visual inspection? Do you dead-load test your ropes?
Richard Smith
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Richard Smith wrote:

Other than my jib furling line, which is pretty heavily loaded when I need it most (when the wind is getting too big), I doubt anu of mine are loafed beyond 10% breaking tension.
Halyards used to haul my fat butt to the top of the mast are maybe loaded 20 to 25%.
With a rope? That's 4 or 5x safety margins (for a NEW rope in NEW condition).
I'd never intentionally go beyond that.
--

Richard Lamb

SV Temptress
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Your question is difficult to answer. It all depends on what you're working with.
I was an Offshore Petroleum Institute certified rigger when I worked in the Gulf of Mexico oilfields.
At times, slings and ropes will work. It's just that when you add welding, you are adding an element to the equation that will cause immediate failure if it gets in the right place. i.e. you could use rope all day to hoist pieces up and down and for positioning, but when one starts welding, the slag becomes the enemy of the rope. A very lot of time would have to be dedicated to constant inspection of the ropes used to cull out the ones that have burned strands and are dangerous. In production atmospheres, there is not a lot of time that can be allotted to non-productive inspection, even though it is critical. So, in comes the steel wire rope slings, which only get inspected casually at the beginning and end of the day, but their damage is obvious with broken strands, birdcaging, smashing, etc. It can be flame cut, but the cut would be noticed by the guilty party, while a blob of slag that causes a burn in a rope may go unnoticed by the person causing it.
Ropes will do incredible things. They will lift great weights. But they do have their weak points. They are actually better than wire rope, or slings for some things, yet are frowned upon.
In a production environment, you would have two downsides. One is the constant monitoring, and the second is indifferent workers. Some people just don't care. As long as it falls on someone else.
Done right by experienced hands, it can work. Trouble is, out of the whole crew, there may only be one or two truly experienced hands, and they have to put up with all the damage and abuse caused by the indifferent ones.
There is no need to go into different ropes and sizes. The principle causes of failure are the issues, not the ropes.
MHO
Steve
visit my blog at http://cabgbypasssurgery.com
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On Fri, 23 Jul 2010 09:12:54 +0100, Richard Smith wrote:

my/0905_whereto_ropetenstest/090525_carrickb_test_plus.html
rks_testing/090504_testrope.html)
There is a nice discussion of the advantages and drawbacks of various rope types and materials in "On Rope: North American Vertical Rope Techniques for Caving ... Rappellers" by Bruce Smith and Allen Padgett.
I use mostly Arborists rope, which is a braided rope with the strength in the braid and a core for shape only, used at less than 10% strength, kept clean and discarded when 50% of the outer strands are broken. Climbing rope, with the strength in the core and the braided jacket for core protection, is designed for low stretch over long lengths and is not well suited for short lifts IMO, but I suggest you read the book and form your own opinion.
Glen
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Hi all - I'm appreciating these hints I'm getting - good stuff I didn't know - thanks - Rich Smith
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The only rigging I've ever seen (in the US) in respect to construction sites, welding and iron work was wire rope. Depending on the material/application, sometimes nylon straps are used. The only time rope was ever used was/is for tag lines.
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rustyjames wrote:

Agreed. I can't remember ever seeing a serious load lifted or secured with anything but wire rope, chain or fabric straps.
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http://www.weldsmith.co.uk/dropbox/my/0905_whereto_ropetenstest/090525_carrickb_test_plus.html
Hello Richard,
I share your interest in ropes and knots, and enjoy using them in their proper place. I was greatly impressed when I met a man who had a knot named for him (Munter hitch).
However, IMHO there are few places where ropes are correct for any but the most basic very light material hoisting work. On most of the jobs that I work on, any use of ropes for anything but taglines will get you a free ride to the gate.
ALL rigging used for hoisting should have an identification and certification tag showing mfg, date, and SWL.
Scaffolders do use ropes for hoisting very light materials and we all use ropes for hauling up tool bags and welding cables and air and gas hoses, but none of these activities use mechanical aids or force multiplication (a single part pulley does not multiply force).
I enjoy splicing of both soft and wire rope but again it is a non certified joint and not suitable for hoisting. I prefer a simple wrap of electrical tape for preventing taglines from unravelling and have often cut fancy backsplices and knots off of tagline ends as they are prone to hanging up when passing over scaffolding or other structures when hoisting. IMHO a bowline is much more versatile and faster than an eye splice for attaching or especially removing a tagline(especially if long). I once watched an older IW rigger practicing tieing a bowline behind his back, and the boys from the Maritimes can tie them very quickly and in ways that I can barely follow.
IMHO the best and most versatile sling to use for rigging is an endless loop or grommet sling made of flat nylon webbing or of polyester or Kevlar core with loose tubular protective covering. These slings are light and strong and easy to use for chokers. They can be bent in half and double wrapped for extra capacity and security. They also last much longer than eye slings as wear is more distributed.
As the workforce is getting older and materials are getting larger and heavier we are seeing much more use of mechanical lifting equipment. Small truck mounted cranes are quick and versatile and are commonly used for light steel erection and smaller carry deck cranes used where access is tight. I have recently used a tiny Spider mini crane http://www.spiderminicraneusa.com / which was mounted on a small chassis with rubber crawlers and large outriggers but which folded up to ~ 2.5 feet wide and would easily fit in an elevator. I doubt it weighed 4000 lbs. I think we will be seeing a lot more of these.
I agree that there will always be a place for the traditional indoor rigging skills to move materials in confined spaces, but in this activity all requirements for using only certified rigging must be met.
It is often said that we are at more risk working at home than on the job, and small jobs are almost always significantly more dangerous and have more injury accidents than larger projects. This is usually due to lower knowledge of proper safe work practices as well as lack of proper equipment.
Thanks for the book recommendations, I have read some of the Shapiro book and would like to have a copy to read again but have had trouble finding a copy. I did a Goggle search and came up with a link to a more recently updated copy of FM-5-125. http://yabe.algebra.com/~ichudov/misc/ebay/Army-Rigging-Handbook-FM-5-125/Army-Riggers-Rigging-Handbook-TM-5-125.pdf . It is a fair (somewhat 'boy scout') manual but its recommendations are totally out of place in an industrial or workplace environment and usage would get you a free ride to the gate.
IMHO nothing beyond a basic visual inspection is needed for soft ropes but they should never be used in situations where there would be consequences from failure. While (most) codes only require a 5x safety factor for SWL, I would submit that 10x is more appropriate.
I would also note that MOST chains are NOT rated or certified or approved for hoisting or lifting use.
Work safely and good luck,
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Books I list: Cranes and Derricks - Howard Shapiro, Jay P. Shapiro, Lawrence K. Shapiro Handbook of Rigging - Joseph A. MacDonald, W. A. Rossnagel, Lindley R. Higgins TM 5-725 Rigging-1968 - Dept of the Army Technical Manual
Got these from amazon.co.uk. Took pot-luck on the Shapiro and MRH books and found them typical North American good practical stuff.
TM5-725 Rigging - the folk with whom I was lodging at the time bet I would get arrested before the end of the year what with going out into the woods and trying the various things in the manual. Joke about "the phone call" "Do you know a Richard Smith?" to which they were going to say briskly "No. No. Never heard of him!".
The "blondin" - which I think is called a "Tyler System suspension" in North American logging see University of Washington University Library digital collection http://content.lib.washington.edu/cdm4/document.php?CISOROOT=/CMPindiv&CISOPTRI1&REC=1&CISOSHOW "Youngs Iron Works catalogue" pg 22
This I was told to do by someone in England http://www.weldsmith.co.uk/tech/ropes_knots/blondin/blondin_v1.html The person holding the camera was a lady walking the family dog, who decided whatever I was doing it was harmless.
Richard Smith
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Hi Private and everyone
This part of your message touches an issue I am trying to see the answer to

The appropriate rigged solution is the lowest risk by far, so by Law you should be using it - but how do you "square" with the Regulations?
The nub of the question comes down to - in what way to you attach the tag to a new length of rope you have cut off the bale?
I've added as a post-script the situations where you would use rope. One case is to about 200kg with a long rope. All others much improve a situation of a manual lift.
Here in the UK - the Law is "The Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974" (HSWA74). Its core central concept - the workplace will be "safe, so far as is reasonably practicable" (SFAIRP). That's often paraphrased as "risks as low as reasonably practicable" (ALARP).
[The "reasonably practicable" bit means - if you can easily make a safe activity safer, you must do so. But if something presents a real hazard and after a determined investigation there is no economically viable way to change that hazard - you are allowed to live with it carefully.]
Government guidance on implementing HSWA74 and its derived Regulations say right there in black-and-white that any change you do in response to a health and safety issue must * reduce the >>>overall<<< risk *
The "reduce the overall risk" bit enables you to deal with "managers".
Although Regulations are more detailed, a Law is higher than a Regulation. So you can't collide a Regulation into a Law and win. That foresees a "manager" pushing a pedantic argument.
The UK H&S Executive and its inspectors do go for the "overall risk" very strongly.
Another useful one - "The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999" (MHSWR) says there must be a written risk assessment for any activity involving more than 5 people. That is - there must be a risk assessment - and it must be available to anyone concerned.
The UK regulation on lifting activities is "The Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998" (LOLER)
Nothing there supports "If I see a rope I see a problem".
The "certification" issue - which you mention. "Schedule 1" in LOLER starts off:
"INFORMATION TO BE CONTAINED IN A REPORT OF A THOROUGH EXAMINATION 1. The name and address of the employer for whom the thorough examination was made. 2. The address of the premises at which the thorough examination was made. 3. Particulars sufficient to identify the lifting equipment including where known its date of manufacture. 4. ..."
All the specifics are about recording location, when, who, etc - and where the report must be filed.
What you actually have to do to "inspect" your lifting equipment is left to your judgment. Specifically, to the "competent person". Who in the legislation is taken to be someone who knows the activity well (this flies against "managerialism" and courts have upheld this).
A "competent person" must have oversight of the lifting activity - this person is there by law. So the "Schedule 1" document can be produced for any lifting equipment you are using. The "Schedule 1" inspection and report doesn't have to be "rocket science" - what it does have to be is there.
So back to the question - practically, how do you tag your rope showing identity, SWL, date of inspection, etc, etc? In such a way that doesn't introduce dangers from the tag itself in use of the rope?
I haven't yet seen an ideal solution to this. I thought of a metal plate with a tab at each end with a hole through which the rope passes. And maybe a whipping or something in the middle so the tag can't slide far. The tag being near one end of the rope.
Any ideas?
Richard Smith
----------------------------------------------------------------
The post-script - uses of rope as lifting equipment in steel construction
General comment:
All contributors have made this point - for the "standard lifting operations" there are the matching specific lifting accessories: * most heavy crane lifts -> strop(s) * smaller hoist lifts -> round sling(s) * heavy loads with sparks and abrasion -> wire rope sling(s) * etc., etc. and you wouldn't use a rope where one of these specific lifting accessories is appropriate.
However, you get jobs frequently where you need to improvise - and that will likely mean rope. And that solution will be vastly safer than many people heaving a heavy object around in an uncontrolled way.
So, back to rope:
There is one "standard rigging operation" where you must use a rope.
That is when you are lowering a heavy component controlled by friction of a round-turn around a cylindrical anchoring object. Only a cylindrical tensile flexible load-bearer - a rope! - will flow around the anchor. That operation is usually limited to about 200kg (440lb) in ironworking (steel erecting) because the steel must be manually movable to the place where the lifting (lowering only!) activity takes place.
Phenomenal safety advantages are obtained where this established technique is used where appropriate http://www.weldsmith.co.uk/tech/ropes_knots/constrn_late2008/090509_ropelegis_constrnwork.html with risk assessment http://www.weldsmith.co.uk/tech/ropes_knots/constrn_late2008/081026_scan_rope_constrnsite_crisis.pdf The likelihood of a mishap is low then the consequence of such a mishap would be low as there is no-one under or near the load.
Just considering the rope alone: You'd be using at least a 12mm (1/2inch) rope to 120kg - giving you a safety margin of 18X with polypropylene (PP) rope. 18mm (3/4inch) rope for 200kg => s.f. 23X with PP. For PA (Nylon) safety factors would be higher still.
That is the only rigging activity in ironworking (UK - "steel erecting") where you are using rope for serious heavy lifts. But it is too valuable to loose.
All other applications are where the load is manually liftable.
There's manually hoisting materials and equipment from where it is delivered to a high location on a construction project. This is typically hoisting things up the side of buildings to the work location. You avoid "handballing" the object to say 25kg (55lb) and moving your own weight up and down busy stairways with many others using it - grim risk in a proper risk assessment - so keeping "hoisting" is important. This is the same general situation as the scaffolders rolling-hitching scaffold poles and lifting / lowering. You have a long rope - but the load is enforced at low levels by the lifting capacity of the person doing the hand-over-hand hauling-up or paying-out of the rope.
Then there is "transferring a manual lift". The object stays near the floor and the lift is essentially manual, but you are changing your posture during the manual lift. Preferentially you'd be making your posture upright and the lift by straightening your legs. And you can be making it possible for more than one person to be involved in the lift with load equally shared.
In each of these situations massive safety advantages would be obtained where such an appropriate solution is used.
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On Sun, 25 Jul 2010 13:08:42 +0100, Richard Smith wrote:

This is one of many issues discussed in the twice recommended in this thread "On Rope - North American Vertical Rope Techniques for Caving, Search and Rescue, Firefighting, Rope Rescue, Mountaineering, Window Cleaning, River Runners, Rock Climbing, Arborists, Event Riggers, Military Operations, challenge Courses, Nautical Applications and Rapellers". (Having found my copy I can provide the complete title now.)
The book recommends a piece of clear heat shrink on the end of rope, followed by the label and another piece of clear heat shrink over the top.
About 350 pages of great rope info, less than $40, best rope investment you can make.
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We used these to print heatshrink labels for vehicle wiring harnesses: http://www.rhinolabeling.com/7products.shtm
Permanent marker works well on the white heatshrink too.
At home I tried Dymo LetraTag printing under Scotch tape but it fades in a few months.
jsw
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I have the industrial version and it did a great job 6 years ago when we moved. I use it from time to time marking cables and whatever I need. I bought the plastic version from MSCdirect - that looks armored for truckers and rough service.
Martin
Martin H. Eastburn @ home at Lions' Lair with our computer lionslair at consolidated dot net "Our Republic and the Press will Rise or Fall Together": Joseph Pulitzer TSRA: Endowed; NRA LOH & Patron Member, Golden Eagle, Patriot's Medal. NRA Second Amendment Task Force Originator & Charter Founder IHMSA and NRA Metallic Silhouette maker & member. http://lufkinced.com /
On 7/25/2010 8:35 AM, Jim Wilkins wrote:

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Book arrived in post this morning. Looks stunning. Thanks everyone. -- Rich Smith
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Glen and everyone
Thanks for all the contribution on that thread. The whole topic played on my mind for some time.
I read "On rope - ..." It's a great book. It's helped organise my thoughts
"On rope - ..." addresses an entirely different situation to what I was confronted with. Everything in "On rope - ..." is where there is a person on the end of the rope - so rightly you are very precious about the equipment being infallible.
This could not be more differnt to the situation I was working with.
The rough rope rigging methods in steel erecting place everyone out of harms way. Which means you do not need to be precious about the infallibility of the equipment. You must see the big inherent safety advantage of applying the rigged method - which I was so reluctant to loose. Obviously you don't want 200kg steels crashing to the ground trashing concrete and destroying equipment and stores nearby, but being realistic as no-one was put in harm's way, the risk was low, remains low and such incident is not serious.
So using a rigged solution is a big safety GAIN irrespective of whether the rigged solution can suffer complete failure. This changes how you "inspect" and "certify" the rigging equipment. To meet Regulatory requirements a visual inspection of rope condition becomes sufficient where "consequence" is low.
UK lifting equipment regulations specify visual inspection as the default. A "competent person" must judge whether this is sufficient. In this case, it looks to be. I hadn't foreseen this before asking the question here.
Thanks all
Richard Smith
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On 7/25/2010 8:08 AM, Richard Smith wrote:

Any reason not to just write the information on the rope with a Magic Marker?

http://www.weldsmith.co.uk/tech/ropes_knots/constrn_late2008/090509_ropelegis_constrnwork.html
http://www.weldsmith.co.uk/tech/ropes_knots/constrn_late2008/081026_scan_rope_constrnsite_crisis.pdf
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http://www.weldsmith.co.uk/tech/ropes_knots/constrn_late2008/090509_ropelegis_constrnwork.html
http://www.weldsmith.co.uk/tech/ropes_knots/constrn_late2008/081026_scan_rope_constrnsite_crisis.pdf
Hello Richard,
IMHO,
Be aware and remember that, after an accident or an incident, there will be many sections of regulation and law available to hang you with.
I respectfully submit that 'controlled lowering' using friction braking IS a 'hoisting operation' and ALL regulations and considerations respecting 'hoisting activities' would apply.
I would further submit that the use of handrails or other handy tie off points (such as process piping) that are not SPECIFICALLY engineered, rated and certified for this usage would constitute the use of an 'uncertified device'.
I would also note that many fine equipment and techniques that are considered safe for recreational climbing are not approved or certified as required for use in the workplace. Few climbing harnesses are rated or certified for use as workplace fall protection equipment. I doubt that any jurisdiction will approve (especially after an accident or incident) the use of any of the commonly used belaying and rappelling friction devices and techniques commonly used in recreational climbing. I note that SAR teams use equipment and techniques that are much heavier than recreational and are more like industrial workplace equipment.
High angle industrial work is now more and more commonly performed by specialized high angle crews who usually have a rock climbing background. These crews use techniques that require specialized (and documented) training and use (documented and approved) 'safe work procedures' that would not be appropriate for those workers not specifically trained and experienced. Given your interest, I suspect that there may be VERY lucrative opportunities for you in this specialized area.
Work safely and Good luck,
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True. True. And true again.
However...
What is more important is to not be involved in an accident in the first place...
That transcends anything else which goes on in your head. Departing the site in an ambulance or a hearse does not appeal. You could be dead, or more likely, injured and facing an uncertain future.
I don't know what workplaces you are familiar with. But over here in the UK, despite the pretty paperwork, I've worked in one place where someone didn't turn up the second day and was reputed to have said "I'm not returning to that death-trap!". In another place a Rumanian was visibly in a dazed state of shock sitting there at his first tea-break - he'd never seen conditions so primitive in Spain or even in his native Rumania.
The pain of situations I have confronted must be obvious from the page I mentioned http://www.weldsmith.co.uk/tech/ropes_knots/constrn_late2008/090509_ropelegis_constrnwork.html with risk assessment http://www.weldsmith.co.uk/tech/ropes_knots/constrn_late2008/081026_scan_rope_constrnsite_crisis.pdf where I find that the risk has increased by about 200000X because of an order given in the name of "health and safety". In that situation we had a stand-up confrontation with the management and they were forced to back-down and forget it. They actually tried divide-and-rule, but they drew exactly the same response isolating people. It can take that much to look after your own safety.
I don't know if "context" changes how you view things.

Definitely - is 100% a "lifting operation"

And to you too - thanks very much for the effort you and all others have put in with my question.
Best wishes
Richard Smith
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I was a stage rigger for 15 years. Theatre uses a lot of rope, and the rigging traditions in theatre come from the sailors who manned the early opera houses.
Nylon is now the most common line for fly systems and hand lines. Usually a duplex rope with a soft nylon braid sheath and a straight fiber core.
Polypropylene is not used for any serious work because of the rapid friction heat it develops, which can burn your hands and it's tendency to stretch under load. It is used for lashing loads down on trucks where the stretch actually helps.
The bible of stage rigging is a book on mountain climbing called "On Rope".
We also use a lot of steel cable, nicopress sleeves, and shackles.

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What could a person expect from the aluminum crimp sleeves and U bolt clips available in hardware stores?
jsw
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