I recently had the pleasure of taking CICB’s Class A Rigger Course. I previously took CICB’s Class C Rigger Course, so I came into this class with some rigging knowledge. This program is considered “advanced rigging”, but is completely customizable, since each person has a slightly different definition of what they consider advanced. Additionally, training can be customized to meet the unique needs of your company and mirror the types of lifts that will be made in the field when your employees return.

Since this course is customizable, I ask that you take my experience with a grain of salt, as each class will vary based on the company’s needs.

The course was five days long and heavy on math and hands-on experience. Although each course at CICB requires basic PPE (a hard hat, safety vest, and closed-toed shoes), this one requires extra protection. In addition to the basic gear, you will need steel-toed shoes, gloves, and safety goggles.

In addition, this course focuses on group work. In the lifting industry, communication and collaboration are crucial. This course teaches you to designate a leader and communicate with each other.

Day One of Advanced Rigging

When I first walked into class, I was provided with a welcome kit, as all CICB courses provide. I was given a textbook, pen, load angle factor chart, and some CICB items.

Pictured: A calculator, pen, and hard hat sticker provided in CICB's Advanced Rigging Course

Since this course had a large class size, I had two instructors: Kenny and Larry. They are both extremely knowledgeable with rigging.

The first day was essentially a review of everything I learned during the Class C Rigger Course. Even though this course is for experienced riggers, CICB wants to ensure everyone is following correct practices, so there is a day covering the basics.

My class learned the standards, inspections, and methods for making proper hitches. We also watched videos of rigging accidents and analyzed how they could have been prevented.

Lastly, we had a lesson on communications. Since we will be practicing signaling, it was important for us to understand hand, voice, and audio signals.

This was the only day of class where we did not have hands-on practice.

Day Two of Advanced Rigging

The second day was significantly different than the first. We spent approximately half the day with hands-on practice.

I enjoyed our instructors’ teaching style, for they would cover information in the textbook and then take us to the shop to practice what we learned. Making that textbook to real-world connection helped me learn.

Since we had only learned basic calculations up to that point, we lifted loads based on guesses and estimations, a legitimate field practice when done safely. We had to lift a metal frame with a gantry crane, and then rotate it in the air. This took a few tries, but eventually we figured it out.

Pictured: Several chain falls used for advanced rigging

Using trial and error is an appropriate method for finding the center of gravity, but I was eager to learn the formulas to speed up the process.

We also spent a few hours on math calculations. These calculations were basic algebra and geometry. We had to solve for the weight of items by measuring them and using a density chart.

Math is one of my weakest subjects, but Larry spent extra time with me to ensure I understood the material.

After classroom practice, our instructor gave us three objects to calculate the weight of. All of these objects were outside and were different shapes. We measured the objects, found what material they were composed of, and worked together to solve the problem.

This exercise made me realize how difficult it can be to find an object’s weight in the field. It is simple in the classroom since all of the information is given to you. In the “real world,” you may not always know what material an object is composed of. An object can also be hollow or be composed of two different metals.

Day Three of Advanced Rigging

The third day of training was heavy with information and practice. We had to create a plan to lift a weighted object through a course, using only rigging hardware. Cranes were not permitted in this operation.

The course included turns and two obstacles. It took my team approximately two hours to develop a plan and successfully maneuver the object throughout the course.

Afterwards, we had to evenly lift a turbine with a gantry crane. Although the turbine looked symmetrical, one side was heavier than the other, so finding the center of gravity was important. We still had not learned the formula, so we once again conducted a trial-and-error method.

Pictured: Checking to see if the turbine is level

Since we had practice with guessing the center of gravity, we were able to lift the object on our second attempt. In addition to calculating the center of gravity, one must determine the correct sling length, where to attach the slings, and what hitch to use.

With all factors considered, my group and I were pleased to have completed the load in two tries.

After our lunch break, we were back in the classroom and learned how to calculate the sling angle factor, center of gravity, and sling tension. We finally learned the formulas we were hoping for, and no longer needed to use the trial-and-error method for rigging.

Since we had our formulas, Larry and Kenny gave us a head start on day four’s assignment. We would have to calculate the weight of a barrel and move it up an incline using any object except for a crane.

Day Four of Advanced Rigging

We began the fourth day of class by putting our plan into action. Since we were given time to prepare for the barrel lift, we had to find the proper equipment to support our plan.

This activity also took our group around two hours to complete. Although we had a plan of action, we had to switch out slings a few times and re-think a few steps.

Pictured: A ramp and a yellow barrel

After this plan was complete, we went back to the metal frame that we lifted on day two, and this time we designed a lift plan. Rather than using trial and error to calculate the center of gravity, we calculated it using a formula.

We were able to lift the object on our first attempt, and I felt accomplished. At one point, I did not think it was possible to conduct a lift with just one attempt, but this exercise proved me wrong.

Since we spent the first half of the day rigging, the second half was spent in the classroom. We briefly covered load charts, which were a breeze for me, since I took two mobile crane operator courses  .

Our last exercise of the day was analyzing a failed lift. We were given a worksheet with a photo of the lift, as well as all the dimensions. We had to determine where the mistake was made, and then had to correct it. We needed to identify the center of gravity, sling tension, and sling length.

Day Five of Advanced Rigging

The last day of class was our final examination. Before starting, Larry and Kenny held a review session, where we were able to ask any questions that we needed answered. They took their time explaining any questions we had, and I felt confident in my rigging abilities by the end of the review session.

Like almost every other course at CICB, the final examination consisted of two components: a practical and written test. Since this course focuses on group work, the practical was a group assessment.

We were given an object to lift and had to create a lift plan that would safely bring the object to the top of a building. This exercise was difficult, but my group and I worked together to design our plan.

The written examination was the last component of this course. It was 150 questions and did not have a time limit. Most of the class took around three hours to complete it. The test had many different rigging topics. It covered the basics and also included complex mathematical problems.

Is Advanced Rigging for me?

Prior to taking this course, I had heard that this is one of CICB’s most difficult courses. Although I do agree that this was the most difficult CICB course I have taken thus far, Larry and Kenny were fantastic instructors. I can confidently say that I understand math and no longer fear it.

I highly recommend this course for those with rigging experience, or those who are fast learners. If your employees are new to rigging, I would encourage them to take either