Riggers erect hoisting tackle, assemble and erect derricks or sheer legs for construction purposes and install and maintain steel cables and ropes. They also assist in erecting chimneystacks, large buildings, heavy machinery, etc.

Before objects are handled, riggers calculate their weight and ascertain the best way of securing and moving them. Riggers are responsible for the inspection, lubrication and maintenance of all types of lifting tackle, including cranes, derricks, driving winders, jacks, hoists and manually operated lifting equipment. They need to have a sound knowledge of scaffolding, platforms and tripods. Riggers can also perform groundwork such as the clearing of tracks after a railway accident, or installing or moving heavy machinery.

They play important roles in all branches of heavy industry. They may work in workshops, underground in mines, on ground level or hundreds of metres up in the air. This job can often be very dangerous. Riggers are seldom stationary while working. They are continually moving about, climbing and working in all possible positions and locations.

Personal Requirements

  • at least 16 years old
  • mentally and physically sound and healthy
  • possess endurance and stamina
  • not be afraid of heights
  • responsible and safety conscious
  • able to work quickly and efficiently
  • willing to do heavy physical work
  • willing to move around a lot and work in different positions


  • building industry
  • heavy engineering concerns
  • government undertakings
  • metal industries
  • railways undertakings
  • explosives and allied industries
  • mines
  • such organisations as: Sasol, Transnet, Eskom, Mittal Steel

Getting Started

  • try to obtain vacation or part-time work in a heavy industry company
  • arrange to speak to a rigger about this type of career.
  •  contact the Department of Labour about learnership possibilities in your area


Boston City Campus and Business College does not offer a programme that leads directly to this occupation. Please take a look at the related occupations below to see whether any of these appeal to you. Alternately, please send an email to taryn@boston.co.za and a Student Advisor will call you back.

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