Safety Focus of the Week: Tag Lines
Tag lines consist of ropes to control a load being picked by a crane or other hoisting equipment, including excavator lifts. OSHA’s requirements are scattered throughout the standards (Crane, Power Transmission & Distribution, Shipbuilding/Shipbreaking). The requirements are very general in nature and do not require a tag line for every situation:
From the Power Transmission & Distribution Standard:
Tag line. Where hazards to employees exist tag lines or other suitable devices shall be used to control loads being handled by hoisting equipment.
In general, using a tag line is good lifting practice. As a general guide, consider the following:
- The purpose of a tag line is to control the load while staying away from the load. If the tag line doesn’t serve these purposes, then consider a different way of controlling the load.
- Tag lines only work in tension. Complete control of a load would require more than one tag line.
- Direct handling of a load may be appropriate and even more effective than a tag line – provided that the load does not a hazard to the man.
- Tag lines are particularly important on large objects that can catch a lot of wind and cause the load to rotate.
- If tag lines must be non-conductive.
- Never work under the load. Stay clear until the load is at work level.
- Some lifts typically don’t use a tag line – for example a concrete bucket which has built-in handles and will not rotate in a way to be a hazard.
- Always walk forward when controlling the load with a tag line.
- Never wrap the tag line around your hand or body. Make sure that you cannot get tangled in the tag line if the load moves suddenly.