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Guidelines For Tag lines

With large complex lifts – using a planned tag line procedure makes the lift go very smoothly without anybody getting nervous or upset. One person should be able to control the complete tag line operation by just using hand signals to direct the other tag line tenders and in doing so will be able to maintain about the same tension on each tag line.

Tag lines can help keep a load under control – but remember, your weight is no match against a load that has started to swing and develop momentum!


There are no written rules that tell us how many tag lines should be used for lifted loads. As a rule of thumb – use as many as needed to adequately control the load.

Tag lines will…

  • keep you out of harm’s way when guiding a suspended load into position
  • put distance between yourself and the load in the event the load moves unexpectedly
  • keep the load square and away from the crane boom during lifting operations
  • stabilizes the load and prevents rotation and swinging out of control

Tag line should…

  • be made of a fiber material and non-conductive
  • be long enough to reach the ground from the highest point of the lift
  • be free of knots or defects in the rope (NO spliced together ropes)
  • be larger than ¼” diameter – a large rope is easier to hold on to

When tending tag lines…

  • never loop the line around your hand, arm, or body
  • always wear gloves (rope burns, better grip, etc.)
  • make sure YOUR travel path is clear (you will be watching the load, rather than where you are going)


Learn More: Rigging Equipment

Download: LGH Dynamic Load Testing




OSHA 1926.1408(b)(2) “If tag lines are used, they must be non-conductive”

OSHA 1926.1417(w) “A tag or restraint line must be used if necessary to prevent rotation of the load t hat would be hazardous”

Klinke, Jerry. Rigging Handbook. 5th ed., ACRA Enterprises, Inc., 2016.



Matt Kral

Matt Kral

A graduate of Lewis University’s award-winning journalism team in 2010 as both section editor and copy editor, current active member of the Lifting Gear Hire sales force. Matt Kral brings his experience in the heavy equipment rental industry and insight into what information is desired in the field to this blog to provide relevant content to the customers of the largest lifting equipment rental company in the United States.

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