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Rigging can be a dangerous job

That may seem like an obvious statement to anyone who works on Louisiana's shipyards, but that does not make it any less true. The fact of the matter is that riggers have a dangerous job. Nonetheless, it is an important part of a shipyard's daily operations.

Riggers prepare components, equipment and sections for lifting onto ships with hoists, cranes or other equipment designed to move materials. In addition to these duties, riggers may also serve as signalmen when needed. If a load is not properly rigged or rigging equipment fails, workers could suffer serious or fatal injuries.

For these reasons, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration recommends that conversations take place each day before work begins regarding matters such as the tasks for the day, the weight of the equipment or material to be moved, and the responsibilities and role of each rigger. Everyone should be aware of communication standards, the lifting limitations of the equipment and the proper way to disconnect once the materials are in place. Training is essential even for seasoned riggers.

Everyone on a Louisiana shipyard should have the proper training and qualifications to do the job. The appropriate personnel should inspect the rigging equipment prior to its use to make sure it will operate as intended and not fail. Otherwise, people could get hurt or die.

Accepting a dangerous job comes with immense responsibilities. However, it also comes with immense trust in an employer to do what is necessary to maintain safety on the job. When injuries do occur, workers also need to know they will be taken care of through the payment of medical costs and lost income. This will probably require the filing of a claim under the Longshore Harbor Workers' Compensation Act, for which assistance is readily available.

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