The first step to lifting sling safety is choosing the right sling material. But the biggest impact on safety and performance comes down to how you use—or abuse—your sling. Here are a few dos and don'ts to keep in mind when using your lifting sling.
DO Follow Safe Hoisting and Rigging Practices
Workers involved in hoisting and rigging operations should follow OSHA and ANSI/AMSE guidelines for safety. They must also receive appropriate safety training, which should cover safe lifting techniques, sling and hitch types, sling capacity determination, equipment care and maintenance, and load weight and center of gravity determination. Please consult OSHA Standard 1910.184 and ASME B30.9 – 2018 for more information on safe practices for sling use. You can also refer to the Web Sling and Tie Down Association (WSTDA) Web Sling and Roundsling Standards.
DO Pay Attention to Sling Ratings
All slings are rated for their maximum load capacity. OSHA and the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) require that slings be tagged with the rated capacity of the sling under different configurations. The lifting capacity is determined in part by the material the sling is made of and the diameter of the sling, and in part by the way it is attached to the load. In particular, the angle at which the sling is used will significantly impact its overall lifting capacity. Maximum lifting capacity is greatest when the sling angle is 90°. The sharper the angle of the sling to the load, the more lifting capacity is reduced. A sling calculator can help you determine the appropriate sling length and lifting capacity for your load and hitch style.
DO Use Proper Protection for Slings
Loads with sharp edges and corners can cut or abrade slings, especially slings made of synthetic materials. At the same time, slings can cause damage to loads that are easily scratched or crushed. Sling protectors—which may consist of sleeves, pads or shields—are used to protect both the sling and the load. Using appropriate protective products will increase sling longevity and prevent damage to the load.
DO Inspect Slings Frequently
Slings should be visually inspected before and after every use to ensure that they have not been damaged. OSHA requires periodic formal inspections for all slings, which must be conducted annually for slings under normal service and more frequently for slings used in more rugged conditions. Lift-All offers proof-testing of slings purchased through Pantero and can provide required inspection documentation for OSHA.
DON'T Use a Sling That is Damaged
Cuts, abrasions and fatigue damage significantly reduce the load capacity of the sling and increase the chances that a sling will fail during the lift. Slings that show signs of wear or damage must be taken out of circulation immediately. One exception is the colored roundsling, which has a protective tubular jacket over the load-bearing core. Minor damage to the jacket will not impact the load capacity of the sling; as long as the core fibers are intact, the sling can continue to be used.
DON'T Use Slings in the Wrong Environment
Temperature, chemical exposure and other environmental factors will all impact sling performance and longevity. Make sure the sling material that you select is appropriate for the environment in which it will be used. Synthetic materials should not be used in high-temperature environments (more than 195°F). If you are working with acids, alkalines, organic solvents, bleaches or oils, check the manufacturer's specifications to ensure that the sling material is compatible with these exposures. Moisture and sun exposure matter, too; synthetic materials are susceptible to degradation with prolonged UV exposure, while wire rope and chain slings may corrode in damp conditions.
DON'T Abuse Your Sling
Sling failure often results from misuse or abuse, such as dragging the sling on the ground, tying knots in the sling, using slings at an excessive angle, failing to protect slings from sharp edges, or allowing sling legs to become kinked. Chemical exposure can also damage slings. Take proper care of your sling, so it can take care of you!
DON'T Use a Sling Without a Tag
OSHA requires that slings have a visible tag with the sling rating and manufacturer's information. If the tag is missing, don't use the sling. You don't want to guess at a sling's rating. A missing tag may also be an indicator of other damage to the sling.
DO Get More Sling Safety Help from Pantero
Pantero carries high-quality web slings, colored roundslings and chain slings from Lift-All. We can help you choose the right sling for your application and find the answers to your sling safety questions. Contact us to learn more!