what is a rigger?

As a rigger, you specialise in lifting and moving heavy materials and equipment around the work site. You work with other professionals to ensure the slings are secured on the equipment to be lifted and hooked onto the cranes correctly. After loading the slings, you direct the crane operator using hand signals or radio. You guide the crane operators on the best time to lift or move the loads. The role is physically demanding since you secure the loads onto the crane's hooking. You also spend a lot of time on your feet and constantly look overhead to ensure the equipment moves carefully in tight spaces.

Riggers are indispensable in industrial and large-scale building projects. For instance, you work in construction sites to assist with moving heavy equipment or setting up scaffolding. Specialised riggers can work in oil and gas companies, factories and mining industries. Some tools you use to move equipment and materials include rigging gears, cables, winches and pulleys. That means you require extensive training in assembling, aligning and strengthening structures using rigging gears.

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average rigger salary

As a rigger, your average remuneration in Australia is $90,000 per year. Depending on your qualifications and experience, your earnings are higher or lower. When you have minimal qualifications, you start with a salary of $80,000 annually. Entry-level positions usually have lower remuneration, but it is a great way to build your skills and gain experience. You will likely enjoy a higher salary with increased experience or specialisation. The highest-paid riggers take home over $100,000 yearly.

what factors influence the earnings of a rigger?

Aside from experience and qualifications, the industry you work in also influences your salary. When you work in a construction company, you rely on basic rigging skills to set up the scaffolding and lift heavy objects. However, working for mining companies or in the oil and gas industries requires specialised skills and expertise. The additional specialisation attracts a higher remuneration.

The size of the company also affects your earning potential. Working for a small company attracts a lower salary due to their limited resources. Besides, small companies handle smaller projects with limited funding. Working in a large company improves your salary prospects due to the large projects and unlimited resources available. The complexity of the tasks also requires additional specialisation.

Want to know what you will earn as a rigger? Check out what you are worth with our salary checker.


types of riggers

Riggers are multi-skilled professionals engaged across various sectors, including the mining and resources industry. As a rigger, you can specialise in distinct roles such as dockside riggers, scaffolders and steel fixers. Dockside riggers are responsible for assembling and installing rigging equipment. Their tasks involve handling wires and ropes, creating safety products like chains or hose restraints, and crafting cable stockings for pipes, cargo netting and high-pressure hoses.

Scaffolders, on the other hand, establish secure operational environments by setting up steel pipes and clam bases. They lay the groundwork for steel structures and disassemble scaffolding post-construction.

Steel fixers operate within construction sites, ensuring proper placement of prefabricated steel mesh and bars. Collaborating with other professionals, they play a pivotal role in ensuring the structural stability and robustness of large-scale construction projects.

A photo of a man and a woman working as electricians
A photo of a man and a woman working as electricians

working as a rigger

If you are comfortable handling heavy weights and heights, becoming a rigger could be the right role for you. Here are the tasks, responsibilities and work environments of riggers.


education and skills

Becoming a rigger necessitates specific educational qualifications and additional requirements. To enter the field, you require a Certificate III in rigging from a registered training organisation, achievable through an apprenticeship or traineeship. Some training organisations offer part-time studies, which take one to two years to complete. For those entering the construction sector, pursuing a short course with a registered training organisation (RTO) to acquire a Construction Induction Card (White Card) is essential.
In addition to educational qualifications, obtaining appropriate licences is crucial. While you can get a basic rigging or dogging licence, some advanced tasks require additional licences. Get Working at Heights, High-Risk Work and Working in Confined Spaces licences. Some employers may also require police checks and drug or alcohol testing.

rigger skills and competencies

To become a successful rigger, you require the following skills and characteristics:

  • communication skills: as a rigger, you require good verbal communication skills. Your communication abilities help you give clear instructions to other professionals at the worksite. Your ability to read and comprehend operation manuals improves your competency. Having writing skills is also important in creating incident reports.
  • knowledge in equipment maintenance: as a rigger, you use heavy equipment that requires constant maintenance. Your technical knowledge in heavy machinery helps you understand the workings of the machinery and the maintenance required for smooth functioning. Technical knowledge also helps you understand blueprints, drawings and models.
  • attention to detail: as a rigger, you have numerous responsibilities that require close attention to detail. When you are detail-oriented, you ensure that safety requirements are adhered to during rigging. Your skills also help you make sure rigging is done properly for the correct movement of items.
  • organisation skills: your organisation skills are necessary for planning your daily routine and ensuring loads are moved on time according to construction requirements. With strong organisational skills, you delegate and schedule tasks to meet deadlines.
  • teamwork skills: as a rigger, you work with various professionals, which requires strong teamwork skills. You need collaboration skills to work with team members on construction projects. Your teamwork skills encourage collaboration and speed up processes.

FAQs about working as a rigger

Here, you will find the answers to the most frequently asked questions about the profession of a rigger

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