Tilt-Panel & Steel Erection Checklist For Builders And Building Trades Contractors

Issued: October 1998

1. Are your riggers properly certificated?
Workers carrying out, or the person directly supervising rigging work must hold a WorkCover certificate of competency of the appropriate class. The erection of structural steel with cranes, hoists or other mechanical loadshifting equipment requires a certificate of at least class RB (basic rigging). The erection of tilt-panels or the supervision of multi-crane lifts requires at least the RI (intermediate rigging) certificate class. The setting up of gin poles, derricks and flying foxes, and the erection of guyed structures (such as radio towers) requires the RA (advanced rigging) certificate class. Insist that the riggers show you their certificates. Keep an up-to-date site register of certificate holders.

2. Has the erection sequence been properly planned?
Make sure the order in which the various components and members of the structure are assembled will maintain stability at all stages. Allow for the effects of high winds on partially completed structures. Temporary guying with well-anchored and correctly tensioned flexible steel wire ropes may be necessary to stabilise incomplete structures overnight.

3. Do you have sufficient craneage for the job?
Make sure the cranes to be used during structural erection have sufficient lifting capacity and operating radius. (Note: Cranes are rated by their working load limit, which is the maximum load they are capable of safely lifting when they are set up in their strongest configuration. So a 20 tonne crane will not be able to lift anything like 20 tonne at maximum radius. Seek advice from an experienced rigger or crane operator when ordering cranes.)

4. Are cranes correctly sited and set up?
Cranes need to be positioned so that they can lift and position structural members while staying within their load chart safe limits at all times. Failure to do this can result in structural damage to the crane or the crane collapsing by becoming unstable. Make sure all lifts can be done while keeping a safe distance from powerlines and obstructions, never operating over road traffic or unprotected public space and never lifting over unprotected site offices or amentities sheds. Make sure all mobile cranes are properly set up on stable ground. Except where they can operate safely "on rubber", mobile cranes should be set up level on properly packed and fully extended outriggers. Where two or more cranes are operating, they should be sited so as to prevent them from operating within each other's airspace.

5. Are the erectors working safely at heights?
So far as space permits, sections of the structure should be assembled at ground level before they are lifted into their final position to reduce the need for working at heights. Braces should be fixed to tilt-panels prior to lifting. Wherever possible, fix temporary guardrailing to tilt-panels and perimeter structural beams before they are lifted, to provide perimeter protection for roof workers. Slings for columns should be fitted with remote-release shackles so the slings can be disconnected from below. Make sure all work at heights is done from safe working platforms wherever these can be provided. This means providing elevating work platforms (such as scissor hoists or boom lifts), mobile scaffolds, securely fixed portable ladders or crane-lifted workboxes. Where it is necessary for erectors to work from the structure itself and it is not possible to provide temporary platforms or temporary edge protection, ensure the workers are using safety harnesses attached to anchorages with a safe loading capacity of at least 1.5 tonnes which are set up to prevent lanyards or inertia reel lines from being cut through on sharp edges. Never allow erectors to work at height without proper fall protection. Never allow erectors to climb or slide down columns.

6. Are the structural members being correctly secured?
Make sure all bolts, nuts and washers used in structural connections are the type specified on the design drawings. Make sure braces for tilt-panels are of sufficient capacity, as specified on the drawings, are correctly bolted to the panel and supporting structure, and have locking pins which are fitted with safety clips to prevent them from working free. Where bolts need to be tightened to a specified tension, make sure they are checked with a tension wrench and marked as checked. Check that all structural welding conforms to the design specifications.

7. Are multi-crane lifts being done safely?
Never try to lift loads with two or more cranes unless it is not possible to get a single crane with enough capacity and reach to do the job. Where multi-crane lifts are needed, try to use cranes of the same type and capacity. Make sure a rigger who holds at least the RI (intermediate rigging) class of WorkCover certificate is fully in charge of the lifting operation and has made the requirements of the lift clear to all crane operators, dogmen and any other participating workers. Make sure the cranes' safe lifting capacities at the maximum required radius have been properly calculated as being at least 20% above their share of the load (for two cranes), 33% above their load share (for three cranes) or 50% above their load share (for four or more cranes). Never allow a multi-crane lift to be done in gusty or strong winds. Make sure a "dummy run" is carried out with the cranes before the lift is attempted.

Further information

Purchase a copy of WorkCover's A Guide to Rigging from your local WorkCover office. It provides good practical advice on the safe use of cranes, steel erection, tilt-up panels and multi-crane lifting.
Pick up a copy of the WorkCover Safety Alert for Props and Braces from your local WorkCover office, or download it from WorkCover's Internet Website at: http://www.workcover.vic.gov.au.

Good technical advice is given in Australian Standards AS 3828, Guidelines for the Erection of Building Steelwork, and AS 3850, Tilt-Up Concrete & Precast Concrete Elements for Use in Buildings, which can be purchased from Standards Australia.