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What is Shock Load?

There are a lot of technical terms in the rigging field (ex. Newtons, force, shock, impulse, load) that can be confusing to those without a working knowledge of physics or mechanics. And it is extremely critical to understand rigging terminology for those in the field, since a tiny misunderstanding can prove to be fatal. One such of these key terms is “shock load.” If you confused the shock load rating of a swivel hook with its working load, you will likely have a serious accident on your hands.

Without getting too much into physics, shock loading occurs when a load is quickly jerked in any direction or if it is allowed to free-fall before the rigging catches it. Rapid acceleration increases the force put on the rigging system, and if the acceleration is too severe, it can overload the capacity of the system.

For instance, let’s say you are lowering a heavy piece of equipment weighing ¾ of a ton, and all the components of your rigging system have a working load of 1 ton. Since working load denotes how much the equipment can lift without any fear of failure, you might think that you are more than covered in this situation. But, if there is slack in the line which allows the equipment to free-fall for 10 feet, the rapid deceleration when the object is caught by the rigging system applies an extreme shock, which could vastly exceed the working load. Thus, the shock load could break your system and send the object hurling towards the ground.

That is why it is extremely important to understand the capabilities of all your equipment and how to use everything safely. An object even ¼ of the weight that your system can handle could overstress it if you don’t perform the job safely and correctly. And even if the shock load doesn’t break any of your rigging equipment when it is applied, that doesn’t mean you are in the clear – the stress will certainly have damaged the equipment, so it could fail in future safe operations.

Florida Wire & Rigging can help you select the right equipment for your job. We can also tell you how to use everything by showing you proper techniques. For even more in-depth training, check out the dates for our next Rigging and Fall Protection classes where you will be fully prepared in safe practices for your job site. If you want to learn more about what we can do for you, give us a call today at 800-432-2269.