American River Watershed Institute
Fire Safety Project | Homeowners Equipment Safety Manual

Rigging Equipment for Material Handling

Recommended uses of fiber, synthetic, and wire ropes for lifting and structural support.

General Guidelines

  1. Inspect ropes and related equipment before each use and continue to monitor ropes during use for broken strands, cuts, and worn or frayed spots.
  2. Never use knots in lieu of splices. Match the type of knot to the purpose.
  3. Carefully match the rope and the job:
    1. Use manila ropes preferably on rigging and other jobs where tight bends and sharp corners occur.
    2. Never use synthetic ropes where stretching causes problems.
    3. Use wire ropes for running or working ropes under heavy loads; for hoisting where slings and hardware are provided; and for permanent guy wires and structured tension members. (Use chains when hooks, ratchets, and other holding devices are used.)

Natural Rope and Synthetic Fiber

  1. Never overload rope.
  2. Uncoil new natural fiber rope from the inside of the spool. Uncoil new synthetic rope by rolling the rope off the spool as it spins on an axle or spindle.
  3. Never drag rope over rough or sharp surfaces.
  4. Keep acids and acid fumes away from ropes.
  5. Thoroughly dry rope after use. Coil and pile or suspend rope so air can circulate through the coils. Never pile frozen or wet rope against heat sources. When wet, natural fiber ropes are never as strong as dry ones, and wet synthetic ropes are slippery and may not hold knots well.
  6. Store synthetic ropes away from sunlight, oil, and any other petroleum products that may cause deterioration.