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Understanding the role of machinery movers and riggers

Updated: Jan 18

Rigging or machine moving refers to the process of lifting, moving, landing, or erection/assembly of large or heavy loads or machines. Sometimes the load is not that large, but it is a location where it is challenging to travel the loads as it (location) is not meant to handle the weight and size of the object.


Therefore, it is not a simple operation. It calls for a combination of skills, knowledge, and creative ingenuity. If not implied properly, the operation can be dangerous to execute. Enter a rigger or machine mover.


What is the Difference between a Rigger and Machine Mover?


Before we explore the functions of riggers and machine movers, we need to understand the difference between the two jobs.


A rigger moves load, whereas a machine mover has expertise in erecting, assembling, moving, or relocation of equipment and machinery.


In other words, a rigger is a skilled-craft professional who involves in the lifting and moving of large things, whereas a machinery mover does the same job, but holds expertise in equipment and machinery that might additionally need erection, leveling, aligning, and leveling. It simply means that both professionals rely on the same basic.


General Duties of Riggers and Machine Movers


Both these professionals have to deal with different machinery on any given day. Their skills are tested by the varying size, weight, and location of the machinery, as well as the environment of the project.


Some of the general duties of these professionals are:


• Attaching cables and ropes to secure the load.

• Using essential rigging tools such as shackles, winches, chokers, and slings for hoisting and loading equipment.

• Assessing the size and weight of the load to figure out the right rigging equipment to move and relocate.

• Identifying any potential hazards related to lifting or moving the heavy load.

• Determining the gravity center of the load to maintain its balance.

• Using hand gestures and verbal commands to instruct the operation on moving the load.


What are the Characteristics of a Good Machine Mover or Rigger?


A good professional belonging to these fields own some great skills. Given that they have to deal with varying loads and challenging environments, they have to be creative, flexible, and a passion for fiddling with objects. They enjoy the complexities associated with moving something that might be impossible to carry out but can be rewarding.


A rigger’s job is built around perception and how these heavy, large objects they are carrying will get into tight quarters within a plant, shop, or facility. Simply put, they have to think about how to fit a square peg into a round hole.

Strong communications skills are downright essential in this field. An efficient rigger, machine mover, and signal person can take the “inputs” from the gestures of the operator.


Although a rigger has different responsibilities than a mover and vice versa, they have to team up during the planning and execution of the work.


Moreover, they have to learn and adapt new methods to improve their skill sets. Many experts in the rigging and heavy lifting professions are equipped with efficient insights and techniques.


What are the Licenses and Certificates Required for Machine Movers and Riggers


The work of riggers and movers involves heavy or specialized machinery such as tri-lifters, cranes, forklifts, Versa-Lifts, and more. Licensing and certification requirements are necessary to operate these types of machinery. A good employer will also provide training for specialized machinery.


The National Commission for the Certification of Crane Operators (NCCCO) is then responsible for the certification and testing for crane operators, riggers, and signal persons. To get the NCCCO certificate, a candidate has to go through both a written and practical exam, which determines their efficiency.

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