Riggers specialise in the lifting of heavy objects, often helped by a crane or derrick. They work with crane operators to attach and detach crane loads. They may also install the heavy object in place.

The duties of a rigger include, but are not limited to:

  • Selecting cables, ropes, pulleys, winches, blocks and sheaves, and other relevant materials based on the weight size of loads to be moved
  • Controlling equipment professionally with levers, wheels, or foot pedals
  • Ensuring that equipment that will be used to move materials is properly set up and well inspected
  • Repairing equipment whenever it develops a minor issue
  • Keeping up-to-date, correct, and accurate records which include materials that have been moved, where they were moved from and to
  • Ensuring that mechanical systems are well tested to ensure proper functioning
  • Overseeing the alignment of equipment or machinery
  • Setting up, bracing, and rigging hoisting equipment with the use of relevant tools such as hand tools power wenches
  • Completing paperwork at the end of a shift, which involves documenting completed works and problems encountered

Other titles

The following job titles also refer to rigger:

marquee rigger
crane rigger
tent rigger
lead rigger

Minimum qualifications

A high school diploma is generally required to work as a rigger.

ISCO skill level

ISCO skill level is defined as a function of the complexity and range of tasks and duties to be performed in an occupation. It is measured on a scale from 1 to 4, with 1 the lowest level and 4 the highest, by considering:

  • the nature of the work performed in an occupation in relation to the characteristic tasks and duties
  • the level of formal education required for competent performance of the tasks and duties involved and
  • the amount of informal on-the-job training and/or previous experience in a related occupation required for competent performance of these tasks and duties.

Rigger is a Skill level 2 occupation.

Rigger career path

Similar occupations

These occupations, although different, require a lot of knowledge and skills similar to rigger.

tower crane operator
mobile crane operator
grader operator
pile driving hammer operator
road roller operator

Long term prospects

These occupations require some skills and knowledge of rigger. They also require other skills and knowledge, but at a higher ISCO skill level, meaning these occupations are accessible from a position of rigger with a significant experience and/or extensive training.

crane crew supervisor
bridge construction supervisor
construction scaffolding supervisor
sewer construction supervisor
construction quality inspector

Essential knowledge and skills

Essential knowledge

This knowledge should be acquired through learning to fulfill the role of rigger.

  • Mechanical tools: Understand machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.
  • Rigging terminology: Terms for lifting equipment, lifting accessories, slings, shackles, wires, ropes, chains, cables and nets.
  • Crane load charts: Understand crane load charts which detail the features of the crane and how its lift capacity varies depending on distance and angle.

Essential skills and competences

These skills are necessary for the role of rigger.

  • Keep heavy construction equipment in good condition: Inspect heavy equipment for construction projects before each use. Maintain the machine in good working order, taking care of small repairs and alerting the responsible person in case of serious defects.
  • Work ergonomically: Apply ergonomy principles in the organisation of the workplace while manually handling equipment and materials.
  • Rig loads: Safely attach loads to different types of hooks and attachments, taking into account the weight of the load, the power available to move it, static and dynamic tolerances of all instruments and materials, and the mass distribution of the system. Communicate with the operator verbally or with gestures to ensure the safety and efficiency of the operation. Detach loads.
  • Inspect construction sites: Ensure health and safety during the construction project by inspecting the construction site regularly. Identify risks of putting people in danger or of damaging construction equipment.
  • Work in a construction team: Work as part of a team in a construction project. Communicate efficiently, sharing information with team members and reporting to supervisors. Follow instructions and adapt to changes in a flexible manner.
  • Inspect construction supplies: Check construction supplies for damage, moisture, loss or other problems before using the material.
  • Follow health and safety procedures in construction: Apply the relevant health and safety procedures in construction in order to prevent accidents, pollution and other risks.
  • Interpret 3D plans: Interpret and understand plans and drawings in manufacturing processes which include representations in three dimensions.
  • React to events in time-critical environments: Monitor the situation around you and anticipate. Be ready to take quick and appropriate action in case of unexpected events.
  • Use safety equipment in construction: Use elements of protective clothing such as steel-tipped shoes, and gear such as protective goggles, in order to minimise risk of accidents in construction and to mitigate any injury if an accident does occur.
  • Secure heavy construction equipment: Secure heavy equipment such as tower cranes or concrete pumps before, during, and after use to prevent damage to the machines, workforce or construction site. Take precautionary steps such as retracting the robotic arm of concrete pumps or bringing the hook block back to the jib.
  • Interpret 2D plans: Interpret and understand plans and drawings in manufacturing processes which include representations in two dimensions.
  • Follow safety procedures when working at heights: Take necessary precautions and follow a set of measures that assess, prevent and tackle risks when working at a high distance from the ground. Prevent endangering people working under these structures and avoid falls from ladders, mobile scaffolding, fixed working bridges, single person lifts etc. since they may cause fatalities or major injuries.

Optional knowledge and skills

Optional knowledge

This knowledge is sometimes, but not always, required for the role of rigger. However, mastering this knowledge allows you to have more opportunities for career development.

  • Electricity: Understand the principles of electricity and electrical power circuits, as well as the associated risks.

Optional skills and competences

These skills and competences are sometimes, but not always, required for the role of rigger. However, mastering these skills and competences allows you to have more opportunities for career development.

  • Set up tower crane: Assist in the installation of a tower crane. Set the mast plumb and pour concrete onto the base to secure it. Bolt the mast into the concrete. Add progressively more pieces to the mast, usually using a mobile crane. Add the operators cabin on top of the mast and attach the jibs piece by piece.
  • Transport construction supplies: Bring construction materials, tools and equipment to the construction site and store them properly taking various aspects into account such as the workers’ safety and protection from deterioration.
  • Use remote control equipment: Use a remote control to operate equipment. Watch the equipment closely while operating, and use any sensors or cameras to guide your actions.
  • Keep personal administration: File and organise personal administration documents comprehensively.
  • Operate mobile crane: Operate a mobile crane safely. Take into account the condition of the terrain, weather conditions, load mass, and expected manoeuvres.
  • Process incoming construction supplies: Receive incoming construction supplies, handle the transaction and enter the supplies into any internal administration system.
  • Operate tower crane: Operate a tower crane, a tall crane used to lift heavy weights. Communicate with the rigger over radio and using gestures to coordinate the movement. Make sure the crane is not overloaded, and take into account weather conditions.
  • Perform minor repairs to equipment: Conduct routine maintenance on equipment. Recognise and identify minor defects in equipment and make repairs if appropriate.
  • Keep records of work progress: Maintain records of the progress of the work including time, defects, malfunctions, etc.
  • Guide operation of heavy construction equipment: Guide a colleague in operating a piece of heavy construction equipment. Follow the operation closely and understand when feedback is called for. Use communication techniques like voice, two-way radio, agreed-upon gestures and whistles to signal the appropriate information to the operator.
  • Set up temporary construction site infrastructure: Set up a variety of temporary infrastructure used on building sites. Put up fences and signs. Set up any construction trailers and make sure that these are connected to electricity lines and water supply. Establish supplies stores and garbage disposal in a sensible manner.
  • Test soil load bearing capacity: Test the capacity of the ground to support the load applied to it before installing heavy structures, such as tower cranes, or before driving on it with heavy vehicles.

ISCO group and title

7215 – Riggers and cable splicers

  1. Rigger – ESCO
  2. Crane Rigger Job Description, Key Duties and Responsibilities | Job Description and Resume Examples
Last updated on September 21, 2022

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