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2014, March

(0) Rigger Training

Effective rigger training like all training must do much more than simply provide information. Rigger training that does not result in changed behavior will not improve safety by reducing accidents. Long before industrial training was fashionable I began developing sling and rigging training which continues to evolve with each and every training session.

Based upon the feedback we receive from corporate, association and industrial training clients we know that passion and conviction play incredible roles in modifying dangerous behavior resulting in accident prevention.

Effective rigger training must challenge the attendee to examine their learned behavior and compare it with a benchmark.  I believe in my message and my conviction certainly assists in getting those I train to consider the importance of their actions and the inevitable results.  If your message is not compelling, singularly, passion will not yield a bountiful harvest. The plan is a simple one, we present the ideal, ask our students to examine their practices, determine the gap and prosecute our efforts to bridge the gap.

The goal of all rigger training should be to change perspectives and attitudes, one by one, resulting in behavior modification as an aversion to risky behavior is cultivated. If the trainer does not accomplish this then the activity is nothing more than window dressing whereby hindquarters are covered.

There is nothing like the satisfaction I receive when my students tell me that they have been rigging for many years and that they truly benefited from my lesson plan.  This result is not easily achieved and requires a tremendous amount of development, practice, presentation and evaluation time. After thirty two years of practice I continue to adapt me course material beyond the necessary changes resulting from technological advances and regulatory updates. 

At the ripe, old age of twenty-six I began my industrial training career and presented sling and rigging classes for an aerospace company and a crane repair facility.  The preparation put into making these engagements successful paid off tremendously when I arrived early to set up for what would be one of the largest audiences I have ever addressed in a massive hotel ballroom located nearby the Los Angeles International Airport.

Long before training was fashionable I would present at any location, sometimes around the clock for anyone that would listen. Bruce McConnel and I did five continuous days of on-site training at the Phelps Dodge-Silver City, NM location and charged nothing.  Based upon shift schedule we alternated with one hour presentations over a 16 hour period and provided an overview of wire and synthetic sling usage for several hundred miners.  The master mechanic did visit the safety office and express his gratitude.  Those that train know that presenting four- sixty minute presentations in a single day is a tenuous task. Forty  presentations over a five day period would make water boarding seem like a church social!

The well-being of sling users truly is a passion that I have always had and it was further reinforced by the first sling fatality when one of our slings, badly damaged and not inspected prior to  use, snapped and killed a Rodney Armstrong Guy, a 32 year old lineman.

You can judge a person’s passion by asking them one simple question. Would you do, what you do for free, assuming all your basic needs were already met?  I can honestly and unreservedly say YES.

The Lift-It Learning Center is a dream come true.  Regularly scheduled, safety training classes such as Crane and Rigging Training for the Competent and Qualified Person are presented.  In addition, to Sling User, Basic Rigging Training and Sling Inspection Training, class for Harrington Hoist Inspection are also offered. 

Just a few weeks back we presented at a corporate event in Las Vegas and a day later at a large association meeting in San Diego.  The excitement of changing lives and making them better with enthusiastic industrial sling and rigging training has not waned, but has actually become more intensified as I continually improve and perfect a lesson plan that has been called life altering.

Michael J. Gelskey, Sr.

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