What Are the Duties of a Rigger?


A rigger operates machinery that move large objects such as metal plates, steel rods and wooden platforms. Riggers also operate construction equipment needed to construct and demolish structures. Rigger duties can typically be learned after several years of on-the-job training or via apprenticeship programs, which usually last three or fours years. As of June 2010, the average salary of a rigger was $49,000, according to the Indeed job search and salary information website.

Preliminary Training

  • A rigger usually requires a high school education. After completing high school, a candidate can start training by finding employment as a rigger’s helper. Riggers' helpers assists riggers plan and initiate the movement of objects and help them operate machinery.

    Riggers are employed by construction companies, ship-building firms, trucking companies, oil refineries and manufacturers of heavy machinery. All of these firms require riggers and may provide on-the-job training. Skills can also be earned via apprenticeships, which are usually run by trade unions.

Construction Duties

  • A rigger inspects an object that needs to be moved, assessing its size, weight and shape, as indicated on the Degree Finders website. A rigger then selects the most effective piece of machinery to move it, deciding which pulleys, braces or cables are appropriate for the job.

    A rigger is skilled in knowing how and where to attach the hooks and cables needed to move a load safely and efficiently. Some riggers are responsible for constructing equipment, such as wooden towers or booms, to fit around an item that needs to be moved, as stated on the State University website. As the object is lifted into the air, a rigger communicates via hand signs, verbal cues and radio communication to help crane operators move the object to the correct place.

Technical Duties

  • A rigger should be skilled in reading blueprints, welding metals, mathematics and the safe use of mechanical tools. Riggers should also be skilled in oxy-acetylene flame cutting, a process that uses gases and oxygen to weld and cut metals.

    In addition to practical training, riggers must keep up to date on any technical developments in rigging. Some construction companies expect riggers to undertake further education and training to keep their skills current.

Required Skills

  • A rigger should have excellent physical strength, high stamina levels and a comprehensive understanding of the basic principles of weight and balance. Riggers should have also have excellent eyesight and hearing to identify any structural anomalies and hear any creaks or shifts that indicate potential hazards. A rigger should also have good leadership and communication skills so he can give precise directions on safety measures and the movement of objects.

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