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Tips for Taglines | Training Tuesday



Taglines — What are they, what are they used for and why do we rig with them? We’ll tell you — Welcome to the new series from Hercules SLR, called Training Tuesday.

In this series, every Tuesday, we’ll bring you a new topic about rigging, hoisting, fall protection, heavy machinery, workplace safety and more.

We’ll cover why the issue is important, advice for safe-use, application pointers so you get the most from your gear and training tips for employers and employees.

This week, our Training Tuesday topic will be Taglines—In this blog, we’ll cover:

  • What’s a tagline?
  • When to use a tagline? And how to do it safely
  • What not to do when using a tagline to lift
  • Tagline standards, rules and regulations


So, what’s a tagline? A tagline is a line (often constructed of synthetic materials, otherwise known as a ‘soft line’) that attaches to a load and provides control while minimizing movement of the object during lifting operations. Simply put, taglines are used to prevent line rotation when lifting with cranes.

Using taglines may add potential hazards to personnel involved in the lifting operation. These hazards should be assessed before the lifting operation begins. So, when is it appropriate to use a tagline to help secure a load? There are a couple of conditions:

  • The crane’s load will swing back and forth (etc. a load on an especially windy day)
  • The load’s rotation will create hazards
  • A load needs to be positioned or connected in a particular way when it lands

Read on for more tips to use taglines safely, what you should never do when securing a load with taglines and more tips for best-use.


When rigging with taglines, make sure:
  • Tagline is free of knots
  • Taglines should have sealed ends so they don’t fray
  • One rigger should be assigned to each tagline and be able to safely position themselves away from the load
  • To secure long loads with taglines, attach them to the very ends
  • Taglines should be long enough that the assigned rigger can be in a safe location for the duration of the lift
  • Taglines must be held so the rigger can easily release the line if the load swings—This is important since it prevents the rigger from being thrown off-balance and into a more dangerous position
  • Wear the proper protective gloves when you handle taglines
  • You know the working-load limit of the tagline
  • Taglines are fit according to your company’s procedures/regulations
  • Taglines are attached at a spot where they can be easily removed
  • The load rotation can be controlled with taglines (if it’s rotating/swiveling uncontrollably).
When rigging with a tagline, do not
  • Use taglines if they’ll create any sort of safety hazard
  • Use taglines to control a lift during inclement/adverse weather conditions
  • Go near or beneath, or let another rigger go beneath a load to retrieve a tagline
  • Detach the tagline from the load until the crane operator and banksman position the load in its final location, with no load on the lifting gear
  • Loop the tagline around your wrist, or any other part of the body
  • Use taglines for routine back-loading of supply vessels
  • Temporarily or permanently attach, loop, twist or tie a tagline to adjacent structures or equipment in an attempt to control the load
  • Use a tagline if there’s not enough clearance-room for the rigger to move from any spots where the load could fall
  • Operating the tagline will cause a handler to be near a pinch point (A pinch point is any area where personnel risks having their extremities caught by a machine or equipment)
  • Allow taglines to fall into rotors
  • When ever possible, attach your hook to a load block to prevent twisting of the hoist line.

“More employees are injured in industry moving materials than while performing any other single function.”

“More employees are injured in industry moving materials than while performing any other single function. In everyday operations, workers handle, transport and store materials. They may do so by hand, manually-operated materials handling equipment, or by power-operated equipment,” says the U.S. Department of Labour/OSHA Training Institute.

This is why it’s important to eliminate risk whenever possible and ensure taglines provide more help than hazard to a lift—Remember when not to rig with taglines.

taglines controlling a load









In Canada, each province has their own specific Occupational Health & Safety Laws, which are usually broken down into:

  • Occupational Health & Safety Acts
  • Occupational Health & Safety Regulations/Codes
  • Standards
  • Industry Association Code of Practice

Be sure to check with regulations and standards in your province for further details on how to use taglines.


It’s important to note that taglines only work in tension. The handler should be able to hold the tagline at waist or shoulder-level—When the tagline must be held higher than this, it’s less effective it is at controlling the load.

Sometimes, if the rope’s not long-enough, the handler’s instinct will be to pull the rope down, and end up pulling down on the load. This makes the tagline non-effective, and creates a more likely scenario that the load will fall on the handler.

Yes, we discuss how taglines can create pinch points, however they can also help prevent them in some cases. Sometimes a load can twist around the crane that’s lifting it, and cause the load to bounce off nearby equipment or other parts of the crane—this can create pinch points, so taglines can be an effective way to control this.


Taglines provide extra security for positioning and landing difficult loads, particular in inclement weather—However, rigger’s should exercise caution before using taglines extraneously.

Using taglines when unnecessary can sometimes create more hazards on-site, like producing pinch points or obstacles that could injure workers—This is why a rigging plan is especially important before conducting any lift , to ensure taglines are the right securing equipment for the application at-hand.

Taglines should be used to control block rotation, secure the load’s landing or when inclement weather will cause the load to swing uncontrollably—But don’t use them if they create more hazardous conditions for the handlers, rigger’s and any other personnel on-site. Remember, preventing injury is the priority of any lift—Safety should always be #1.