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The Importance of a Rigger and Rigging


In construction, safety is the number one priority, especially when lifting heavy objects and using heavy equipment. Using cranes and other equipment to lift and manipulate extremely heavy objects is the job of a qualified rigger. Having a qualified rigger on site is essential to everyone’s safety.

What is the role of a rigger?

Riggers are responsible for attaching cables or ropes to the load that they intend to lift or hoist.  Riggers know which hitches to tie and how much weight they can actually support. They understand where the center of gravity of a load is so the load is correctly balanced and stable.  Riggers are able to use several different kinds of equipment to accomplish this such as slings, chokers, shackles, and winches. They are able to navigate heavy equipment through confined spaces, tilt, turn, or dip loads to avoid hazards, and care for the equipment including inspections.  Lastly, rigger is very knowledgeable about the hazards associated with the job and each lift so he/she feels comfortable signaling operations.  

Who is a qualified rigger?

The definition of a qualified rigger is loosely made by OSHA and otherwise stipulated by the company that employs the rigger. According to OSHA, a qualified rigger can have a degree, a certificate, or has extensive knowledge or training and has demonstrated the ability to solve rigging problems.  Qualified riggers do not explicitly have to be qualified by an accredited organization and can instead have extensive informal, on the job training. 

What is basic rigging?

Basic rigging is a term used to describe the principles of rigging that one learns in order to become a certified or qualified level I Rigger. Basic rigging includes knowledge of inspection techniques, use of slings, hitch configurations, and load-handling. Total equipment training offers a class that covers basic rigging and more. 

What is rigging safety?

Rigging safety is the summed total of precautions taken to minimize risk of harm to persons while rigging.  Precautions include proper training of personnel, appropriate personal protective equipment, regular equipment inspections, environmental risk assessments, established communication, and emergency/backup procedures.  

How do I become a certified rigger?

To become a NCCCO certified rigger, you must be at least 18 years of age and have a high school diploma or GED. In order to receive certification from an accredited organization, you must pass both a written and practical exam offered by an NCCCO accredited organization.  There are two rigging certifications: Rigger I and Rigger II. Although the responsibilities of both are slightly different, they both require you pass a written practical exam for certification. 

What is a rigging certificate and how can Total Equipment Training help?

A rigging certificate is documentation that someone has demonstrated the ability to complete the tasks required for a qualified rigger. Total equipment training prepares your team for OSHA rigger qualification and NCCCO certification. Through hands-on training and classroom testing, Total Equipment Training works with you to design a program that works for you and prepares employees to rig safely.   

Contact Total Equipment Training for more information about becoming a certified rigger.

What Does Rigging Equipment Include and How Often It Should Be Inspected?


Employers must have a qualified rigger if they are going to be hoisting objects for assembly/disassembly, or even to hook or unhook loads. Total Equipment Training offers OSHA qualified rigging certification training for your business so you can be sure you are complying with guidelines and keeping employees safe. Keep reading for some of the information covered in a Total Equipment Training rigging certification course

What does rigging equipment include?

Rigging equipment includes all elements and devices used to hoist, pull, push, and lift large objects in industries such as construction, engineering, and event staging. Rigging equipment are the devices that are used to both secure and distribute the weight of the lifted objects safely onto the moving devices. Moving devices depend on the type of rigging job that needs to be done. For example, a jack is used for lifting, skates and dollies are used for pushing, chains, hooks and tie downs are used for pulling, and chain hoists are used for lifting. Sometimes objects are too heavy to use the previous equipment mentioned and heavy equipment like cranes, forklifts, twinlifts, and risers need to be used. To secure the heavy object onto a crane for example, you will need rigging equipment. Rigging equipment is diverse and is specialized for the load being moved and the environment needed to move the object. Some examples include wire rope slings, webbing slings, chain slings, metal mesh slings, spread beams, and various rigging hardware. 

How often should lifting chains be tested?

Lifting chains are required to be proof tested before their first use according to the proof test load recommended by the manufacturer and in accordance with the American Society for Testing and Maintenance. Lifting chains are also required to be proof tested again if any repairs have been done.  This is to ensure that chains meet the original strength requirements, that broken links are replaced, and that the material used to replace links is appropriate. Once tested, the paperwork should be kept. 

How often should rigging equipment be inspected?

Rigging equipment inspection frequency may vary depending on the type of rigging equipment used and the frequency of use. Visual inspections done in-house by competent persons should be done very frequently. New rigging equipment just arriving from the manufacturer should be inspected to ensure it is the correct piece of equipment and that the rated capacity is sufficient for the loads you will be rigging. Rigging equipment should also be inspected every day before use for any damages, defects, or signs of wear. If the equipment is being used for multiple applications or multiple times a day, it should be inspected before every shift change and between application changes. You are required to have your equipment inspected by a qualified person every 12 months for the periodic inspection at a minimum.  Depending on the frequency of use, nature of the lifts, severity of conditions, and service life of the equipment, you should schedule this periodic inspection monthly to quarterly.  

What are the most commonly used rigging materials?

Slings are the most commonly used rigging material because they are required in order to hold suspended loads from heavy equipment like cranes and forklifts.  There are multiple kinds of slings which are made of different materials including wire, chain, mesh and synthetic material. The wire rope is the most commonly used sling material. 

What factors should you consider when choosing a sling?

Employers and workers must be careful when choosing a sling for a rigging application. Each sling-type has pros and cons and not all sling types are appropriate for every job. Selection of a sling-type should be based on the properties of the load such as size, weight, temperature, sensitivity, shape, and working conditions, balanced with properties of the sling. Wire slings with wire rope core are very strong and resistant to heat damage. Chains are mostly used for severe lift conditions because of their strength, but they are prone to shock damage. Mesh slings combine wire and chain slings and greatly increase load balance. Synthetic slings are lightweight and best used if the load needs to be protected from damage but are not appropriate in working condition with high heat, sharp objects, or exposure to acid.  

What is the difference between lifting and rigging?

Lifting is only one of the applications of rigging. Rigging refers to the maneuvering of heavy objects by way of pushing, pulling, lifting or hoisting. Lifting is a way to move heavy objects by moving the object up from below most commonly using a jack.

If you would like more information on Rigger Certification and Training from Total Equipment Training, please visit this page here. If you would like information on our Rigger I NCCCO certification training, please visit this page: here.  If you would like more information on our Rigger II NCCCO certification training please visit this page:

Crane Terms You Need to Know to Pass the NCCCO Certification Exam


The National Commissions for the Certification of Crane Operators (NCCCO) requires that every crane operator pass a written and practical exam in order to be certified. Knowing that your ability to pursue your career is premised on passing an exam can be rather stressful for some individuals. However, by setting aside some time to thoroughly prepare, and by reviewing the numerous study materials available, you can confidently take the test and become certified to operate a crane.

NCCCO Crane Terms for the Exam

If you’re just starting to begin your preparation for the NCCCO exam, or if you’re simply curious about what specific terms will be most heavily tested, we’ve got you covered. In this article, we list of some of the crane terms that you can expect to see on the NCCCO exam that you will need to know to pass.

 On the NCCCO, you can almost certainly expect to see questions related to the various parts of a crane:

  • Bridge – The part of the crane that includes the girder, trucks, ties and drive mechanism. It also carries the trolley and travels in the same direction as the runway.
  • End Truck – The part of the crane that consists of the truck frame, wheels, bearings and axels. The end truck supports the bridge girders.
  • Runway – The runways includes the beams, rails, brackets and the entire framework that the crane operates on.
  • Load Block – The part of the crane that handles the hoisting ropes. It includes the hook, swivel and sheaves, as well as the frame that contains all those parts.
  • Trolley – The trolley is the part of the crane that carries the hoisting mechanism. It travels along the bridge rails of a crane. The entire structure that allows the trolley to perform its traversing and hoisting operations is known as the trolley frame.
  • Girder – The girder is the main horizontal beams of the crane’s bridge that supports the trolley. The girder has a slight vertical curve, known as the camber, which is designed to compensate for deflection resulting from the hook load and the overall weight of the crane. The top and bottom plates of the box girder are known as cover plates. Cover plates are connected by vertical plates called web plates.
  • Drive Girder – This is the girder that supports the bridge drive machinery.
  • Hoist – This is the device that lifts and lowers a load. A crane may use an auxiliary hoist to handle lighter loads at a faster speed.
  • Sheave – A pulley device that can change the direction and point of application of a pulling force.

NCCCO Crane Term Definitions You Need to Know for the Certification Exam

There will also be definitions that you’ll need to know that are related to the operation of a crane:

  • Capacity – A crane’s capacity is the maximum rated load that it can handle. Capacity is typically measured in tons.
  • Clearance – The clearance is measured by the minimum distance between the extremity of the crane to the nearest obstruction (such as another building).
  • End Approach – The distance between the crane’s extremities and the centerline of the hook. The distance is measured horizontally, parallel to the runway.
  • Hook Approach – Consists of the minimum horizontal distance between the hook and the center of the runway rail.
  • Lift – Refers to the maximum vertical distance through which the hook, magnet and bucket can safely move.
  • Load Cycle – consists of one lift cycle with load and one lift cycle without load.
  • Rated Load – The rated load is similar to a crane’s capacity. It refers to the maximum load that the crane is designed to safely handle.
  • Regenerative Braking – A technique used to control the speed of a crane that feeds electrical energy generated by the motor back into the crane’s power system.
  • Span – Measure of the horizontal distance center-to-center of the runway rails.
  • Two Blocking – Refers to a situation in which either the load block or the load on the hook has jammed itself against the crane resulting in an inability to wind up the hoist any further.
  • Wheel Load – The load on any wheel of a crane with the trolley and the lifted load positioned on the bridge to provide maximum loading.

Other topics of importance for the NCCCO Exam

It is important to remember that while basic crane terminology is a good launching point when studying for the crane certification test, the NCCCO exam will require that you have knowledge beyond these terms and definitions. The NCCCO will also expect that you know the different types of cranes and how to operate them. This includes an understanding of the crane’s functionality and its limitations. You will also be expected to know about the various safety features of a crane and how to respond in emergency situations. Finally, you will need to have a general knowledge of any applicable rules or industry standards that apply to crane operation, such as the ASME B30.5, ASME B30.10 and the OSHA 1910.180. The more you have a complete understanding of these components, the more likely you will pass the NCCCO exam.

What Being NCCCO Certified Means


The word “Certification” is often misused as government agencies, such as the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA), use the term “qualification”. Becoming NCCCO certified is the next step in a professional career following OSHA qualification. This certification is designed for operators who are trained/experienced and currently work in crane operation. So what exactly does being NCCCO certified mean?

Being NCCCO Certified

The National Commission for the Certification of Crane Operators (NCCCO) is an internationally accredited organization that could provide the widely adopted and recognized crane certification. This certification includes written and practical portions of the exam, and this combination of crane-related experience and knowledge has been supplemented with input from the OSHA, the ANSI/ASME committees that developed and revise the B30 crane standard, and other industry experts. The result is reliable, valid, fair and effective tests for crane operators and associated trades.

Through these certifications, NCCCO’s mission is to continue to develop effective performance standards for those who work in and around cranes. For everyone involved, including employers, operators, and the general public, there is so much to be gained from helping to ensure only qualified people work in and around cranes. From the reduction of the crane and crane-related accidents to the preservation of your heavy equipment, employers can be assured that operators carrying an NCCCO certification have demonstrated that they have attained the knowledge and skills necessary for the numerous situations any job may face. This certification is not site/employer specific, but it is operator specific, non-transferable and valid for five years. A renewal license can be obtained if passing the required exams happens before the expiration date, of the current license that is held. Once an NCCCO license expires, the candidate must start the process from the beginning, taking the full written and practical exams, for any specialties that wished to be acquired.

Changes to Being NCCCO Certified in 2018

Beginning November 10, 2018, Federal OSHA published new construction regulations that require crane operator certification/qualification nationwide. For an individual, it is now mandatory to have the proper crane operator certifications [specialties] before you can operate the corresponding type of crane. For an employer, hiring operators who lack the proper certifications can bring you subject to legal trouble with OSHA and ASME. Under this rule, OSHA allows third-party certification, opening the gates to cost-effective and accessible methods for companies and operators to meet the new requirements.

With an impeccable pass rate, call Total Equipment Training at 610-321-2679 for on-site NCCCO certification training and examination for:

Total Equipment Training will equip you with study materials, classroom preparation, practice tests, and practical practice with the actual crane in on-site training events. Contact us today for more information about how you can meet requirements and become NCCCO certified today!

What You Need to Know to Remain OSHA Compliant


The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has a strict set of standards in place to ensure the health and safety in working conditions, but you don’t have to look much further than a construction site to understand why these standards are so important. Even further, OSHA states that an effective health and safety program can save $4 to $6 for every $1 invested. From new regulations to updated certifications, learn what you can do in 2019 to ensure you and your operators remain OSHA compliant.

Steps to Remain OSHA Compliant in 2019

  1. Hire employees who have a record of compliance and value safety:
    Operators that follow the rules of safety tend to be more aware of their surroundings and more equipped to handle potential situations leading to an overall safer site. The goal to have zero OSHA recordable incidents starts from the beginning.
  2. Operator Evaluations:
    In accordance with OSHA’s updated regulations, heavy equipment operators are required by February 7th, 2019 to be evaluated by an independent third party to ensure their effectiveness and knowledge operating the equipment, regardless of any current certifications.
  3. Regular Training:
    To avoid potentially fatal accidents while operating heavy equipment, it is important to schedule regular operator training. Not only does teaching your operators about the potential hazards protect everyone on-site, but it reduces the possibility of incurring fines and damaging equipment.
  4. When in Doubt Consult the OSHA Guides:
    OSHA has developed current online guides that can be quickly consulted to help construction businesses remain OSHA compliant in 2019. You can find them here at the compliance Quick Start section of the website: In Step 7 of this guide, there is an interesting section describing the 10 most frequently sited OSHA violations of previous years, which may prove very helpful.

Health and safety are the most important aspect of every job and business, which includes, but is not limited to, OSHA compliance. Specializing in on-site heavy equipment training and newly required operator evaluations, Total Equipment Training can help you remain OSHA compliant in 2019. Contact us today to learn more information on how we can become your reliable training and evaluation company for a safer future.

Updated OSHA Crane Operator Certification Requirements Announced


On November 9, 2018, The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) published their long-awaited final rule which clarified the requirements for crane operator certifications as well as the employer’s duty to ensure all crane operators are able to safely and properly operate the equipment. OSHA’s crane operator final rule aims to maintain the safety and protect the health of workers while reducing the burden of compliance for organizations.

What OSHA’s Final Rule Required of Crane Operators

Under OSHA’s final rule, employers are required to train, evaluate and document the successful completion of the evaluations for all crane operators based on the crane activities they perform on any given job site

Furthermore, the final rule mandates that all crane operators must be certified or licensed to perform their necessary duties as well as receive the ongoing training required to operate any new equipment. All certification or licensing must be completed by an accredited testing service, an independently audited employer program, military training or in compliance with respective state or local licensing requirements. This ruling aims to establish the “minimum requirements for determining operator competency.”

OSHA’s Compliance Dates for Crane Operator Certifications

The final rule will become effective on December 9th, 2018. However, employers have until February 7th, 2019 to complete the evaluation and documentation requirements for their crane operators. Organizations that completed the evaluation process prior to December 9th will not have to conduct them again; however, completed documentation will be needed of those evaluations.

While these new effective dates provide some breathing room for crane operators and organizations that have yet to complete the necessary certifications, the message that it’s not worth the wait has not changed. Every day that goes by without certified crane operators handling equipment puts those working around the crane at a greater risk of a crane incident that could potentially be avoided.

OSHA Crane Operator Certification Training and Testing from Total Equipment Training

At Total Equipment Training, we are a proud heavy equipment training company who specializes in test preparation for the crane operator certification exam. In addition, we have certified examiners on staff to administer the crane operator certification test. Total Equipment Training provides crane operator training and testing at your site, using your equipment, which not only saves you money but also allows your employees to train and test on the equipment they are used to operating. In addition, we have self-study crane operator training materials for sale that can help operators prepare for the exam.

If your organization is in need of crane operator training and certification testing, contact us today to schedule an on-site training or testing program.




NCCCO Introduces “It’s Not Worth the Wait” Program for Crane Certification


Back in 2013, Federal OSHA discussed implementing a requirement of certifications for crane operators utilizing cranes with more than 2,000 pounds of lifting capacity by November 2014. This certification requirement would impact the vast majority of heavy equipment service vehicles within the construction industry. However, at the last minute, OSHA decided to delay the certification requirement date until November 2017. Then in 2017, OSHA again announced their delay of the ruling until November 10, 2018.

As a response to the continuous delays and unreliability of OSHA rulings, the National Commission for the Certification of Crane Operators (NCCCO) implemented a new public relations campaign this month called “It’s Not Worth the Wait.” Through this campaign, the NCCCO, the nation’s leader in crane operator’s accreditation, aims to drive awareness and understanding of the importance of crane operator training and certification. Although OSHA has delayed the date for crane operator requirements, NCCCO urges employers, crane operators and other personnel who work with or around cranes to not delay their training and certification any longer.

In a press release from the NCCCO, CEO, Graham Brent was quoted saying: “It’s not the first time the industry has had to come to terms with an extension of this rule, but, in the minds of most safety-conscious professionals, this should not be a reason to further delay training and certification. Every day that goes by without certified operators in the cab means those working around cranes are being put at greater risk of a crane incident that need not have happened.”

NCCCO released a series of short videos which feature industry leaders who provide compelling reasoning as to why any responsible, safety-minded employer or employee should not wait to achieve their certifications. Among the reason why you’re better of getting your crane operator certification now are:

  1. For those who wait until the last minute to complete their certification, they may run out of time to get certified as there’s an expected increase in demand nearing November 2018.
  2. As employers, you have the obligation to train your employees. Crane operator certification is a simple way to test the effectiveness of that training.
  3. Certified crane operators can help lower insurance premiums
  4. Many businesses require or simply prefer to work with organizations who utilize certified operators.
  5. Proper training and certification are ultimately the right and safe thing to do.

Mobile Crane Operator Certification with Total Equipment Training

At Total Equipment Training, we are proud to be associated with the National Commission for the Certification of Crane Operators as a training company who specializes in test preparation for the certification exam. In addition, we have NCCCO Examiners on staff to administer the test. Total Equipment Training provides NCCCO exam prep and testing at your site, using your equipment, which not only saves you money but also allows your employees to train and test on the equipment they are used to operating. If your organization is in need of Mobile Crane Operator Certification, contact us today to schedule an on-site training program. Do not wait until the November 2018 deadline because “It’s Not Worth the Wait!”

OSHA Extends Crane Operator Certification Deadline to November 2018


On November 9th, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) published a Notice of Propose Rulemaking to extend the timeframe in which employers have to make sure that their crane operators are competent. The announcement, which is effective immediately, comes just one day before the previous standard was set to go into effect. It states that employers now have until November 10, 2018, to enforcement crane operator certification amongst their employees.

OSHA states that the deadline adjustment was made to allow the organization a sufficient amount of time to complete the necessary work on addressing the two main issues that are of industry concern since the original crane rule was published back in 2010. The first being whether crane operators should be required to be certified by type and capacity, or just by type; second, whether the certification is sufficient enough to grant an operator qualified to operate a crane.

A press release from The National Commission for the Certification of Crane Operators (NCCCO) stated that they “supported the additional delay “reluctantly” since the changes to the rule were critically important to the effectiveness of the certification requirement” said Graham Brent, CEO of the NCCCO. The press release from the NCCO went on to say that, “it was important OSHA acted with urgency. Since the positive impact of professionally developed, third-party, accredited crane operator certification on the incidence of deaths and injuries caused by crane accidents has been amply demonstrated during the more than 20 years that NCCCO has been providing it every delay means that this nation’s workers continue to be exposed to risks that would otherwise have been mitigated.”
According to the notice released by OSHA, they do not feel as this one-year extension will pose any threats to crane operators or their employers. Instead, it will provide them with the time necessary to crane with the crane operator certification rule which was originally published in 2010.

Until November 10, 2018, employers are required under the standard to ensure that all crane operators are thoroughly trained and competent to operate the crane safely in all setting.

If your organization is in need of crane operator training, contact us today!