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Herc How-To: Calculate Load Weight


How-To Calculate Load Weight: the basics

An important aspect of rigging is measurement – there are a number of important things to determine and consider before you calculate load weight and proceed with the lift.

Read on for basic tips from our Hercules SLR experts and learn how to properly calculate a load’s weight.

The lifting equipment used to raise your load should not only support the object’s weight, but it’s volume, height, centre of gravity and any other aspects of the load that could make lifting awkward. Read on to discover the best way to calculate load weight.

Estimation is important—you must be able to accurately guess a load’s weight and centre of gravity. Inaccurate estimations can lead to severe consequences.

Evaluate the load you will lift. Evaluation must include the load’s weight, centre of gravity location, balance, stability and nature should be reasonably determined before you proceed with the lift. NEVER guess the weight of a load.

How-To Calculate Load Weight: method to establish load weight

  • Inspect the load for any identification or mark that indicates weight. If found, check that it’s the weight of the entire load, not just a single component of an assembly;
  • Check supporting documentation or load weight;
  • Check any drawings/diagrams that accompany the load for it’s weight listing;
  • If the load is still on the transport vehicle, determine the load’s weight via a weighbridge;
  • Estimate the load’s weight with available technical data, like tables or weights.


How-To Calculate Load Weight: total weight on angular lifts




How-To Calculate Load Weight: example 1—steel sheet/block


Figure 1
  • Calculate the weight of a steel plate (shown in figure 1) 2ft wide X 5ftlong X 1inch (0.0833ft) thick.
  • Use the formula:
  • Volume = Length X Width X Height
  • Unit weight of steel is 490 lbs/ft³
  • Volume = 5ft X 2ft X 0.0833ft X 490 lbs/ft³
  • Weight = 408.3 lbs


How-To Calculate Load Weight: calculate force in slings

It’s important to understand the different angles that will impact the load to lift. The included angle is the angle created between opposite sling legs (ex. 0-90°). Using the included angle is known as the Trigonometric rating.

The vertical angle is the angle created by one sling leg from the vertical (ex. 0-45°). This is called the Uniform Method of rating. All new slings must use this method.

The horizontal sling angle is the angle that forms between the sling leg and surface of the load.


Figure 2


Determine Vertical Share

When the centre of gravity is equal between pick points, the sling and fittings will carry an equal share of the load.

Centre of Gravity and Sling Loading
Figure 3

When the centre of gravity isn’t equal between pick points, the sling and fittings won’t carry an equal share of the load.

The sling attached to the closest to the centre of gravity will carry the greatest share of the load.

In this example, Sling B will be carrying more than Sling A.

As you can see from the image, ‘Sling B’ carries more weight than ‘Sling A’.

How-To Calculate Load Weight: additional loading

Before you rig a load to lift, consider these factors that may affect the load, in addition to its weight:

  • Wind blowing against the load;
  • Shock loading;
  • Additional below-the-hook lifting devices;
  • Loads frozen to the ground;
  • Loads snagging;
  • Water, snow or ice accumulation on load;
  • Dynamic side-to-side movements;
  • Extreme temperatures.



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Need a lift? Call Hercules SLR

Have a heavy object that needs a lift? Don’t want to do all of this math on your own? We understand.

Hercules SLR creates custom rigging solutions for our clients’ specific needs (check out this custom sling we made for the Town of Oakville Marina!) and the service doesn’t end there—We provide inspections, repairs and service for:

  • Wire Rope
  • Fall Protection
  • Lifting Equipment/Gear
  • Rigging Hardware
  • Hoists & Cranes
  • Winches & Hydraulics

Don’t see your gear on the list or have more questions? Give us a call and our experts will match you with the right service or product for your needs.

Interested in learning more? We offer training courses at the Hercules Training Academy for these, and more:

  • Chain Saw Safety
  • Confined Space Entrant & Attendant
  • Fundamentals of Rigging (With Practical)
  • Fundamentals of Overhead Cranes
  • Offshore Rigger Banksman

Drop a line at [email protected] or [email protected] for more information on inspections, repairs or to sign-up for a training course.