What kinds of dangers should you look for?

This guide will help employers and employees to identify the following unsafe conditions:

  • a sling or fastening not suitable for the load being lifted and the environment in which the load is being lifted;
  • worn slings and fasteners or showing signs of damage such as cracks, bends, kinks, cuts, gouges and chafed fibers;
  • improper storage and misuse such as leaving loads on a sling or dragging slings over rough floors.

In addition, this guide will help employers and employees identify and avoid unsafe working practices, such as:

  • moving with slings or walking under suspended loads; and
  • using improperly repaired or refurbished fasteners or slings and fasteners that must be withdrawn from use.


There are several types of slings, including: alloy steel chain slings, wire rope slings, metal mesh, natural fiber rope, synthetic fiber rope, synthetic mesh, and synthetic round slings. Each type of sling has its advantages and disadvantages.

When selecting the best sling for a given task, there are many factors that come into play, such as: size, strength, flexibility and weight, as well as suitability for the working environment, the shape of the load and the environmental conditions in which the sling will be used.

Alloy steel chain slings

Alloy steel chains are often used due to their strength, abrasion resistance and the ability to adapt to the shape of the loads.


New slings are marked by the manufacturer to provide information about:

  • size,
  • angle,
  • nominal load,
  • length.

Additionally, the slings may contain the following markings:

  • number of legs,
  • individual identification of the sling (i.e. serial number) and
  • manufacturer's name or trademark.


A qualified person should be appointed to carry out daily checks on slings, fasteners, and fittings for damage or defects.

This person additionally carries out periodic inspections, if justified by the operating conditions, determined on the basis of:

Qualified person: a person who, through possession of a recognised degree or certificate or professional standing in a relevant field or who, through extensive knowledge, training and experience, has successfully demonstrated the ability to solve problems related to the issue and the work.

  • The frequency of use of the sling,
  • The intensity of the service conditions,
  • The nature of the lifts performed and
  • Experience gained during the service life of slings used under similar conditions.

The alloy steel chain slings must be inspected for specific checks at intervals not exceeding 12 months. Good instructions to follow include:

  • Annual checks for normal use,
  • Monthly to quarterly checks in case of heavy use and
  • Checks according to the recommendations of a qualified person in the event of special and infrequent use.

A system should be developed to ensure that such checks are carried out. A record system such as diaries or an inspection date on a label attached to the sling can be used for this purpose.

The slings and fasteners should be thoroughly checked for:

  • Consumption,
  • Defective welds,
  • Cracks, bends, folds, cuts, gouges, discoloration due to excessive heat,
  • Excessive pitting or corrosion
  • Hook opening,
  • Missing or illegible sling markings and
  • Other questionable factors for the continued safe use of the sling.

If any of the above-mentioned defect or damage is present, the sling or fastening must be withdrawn from use immediately.

Repair / Regeneration:

Do not use worn or damaged stainless steel slings or chain fasteners. They need to be disposed of or repaired. Use damaged slings only if they have been repaired, reconditioned and have passed the resistance tests performed by the sling manufacturer or a qualified person using the following criteria:

  • Make sure that the slings and fasteners comply with the original strength requirements,
  • Mark these slings and fixings to identify the repairman;
  • Cracked, broken or bent connections should be replaced rather than repaired.
  • Do not use mechanical joints or links repaired with non-alloy steel to repair breaks in alloy steel chain.

Operating Practices:

Do not use alloy steel chain slings with loads exceeding the rated capacity. Follow other safe operating practices including:

The choice of the sling

  • For slings with multiple legs used for asymmetrical loads, ensure that a qualified person has performed an analysis to prevent overloading of either tendon.
  • Do not use a component unless its shape and size are appropriate to ensure that it is correctly positioned on the hook or lifting device.

Staff warning

  • Personnel should stay clear of the areas between the sling and load, and the sling and crane or lifting hook,
  • Personnel should never be in the line of the tensioned legs of the sling or next to them,
  • Personnel must not stand or walk under suspended loads and
  • Personnel should not move with a sling or load unless the load has been specifically designed and tested for the carriage of personnel.
  • Store slings in a place where they will not be exposed to mechanical damage, corrosion, humidity, extreme temperatures or kinks.
  • If the slings are exposed to extreme temperatures, follow the instructions of the sling manufacturer or a qualified person.

Techniques for working with ropes

  • Make sure that the slings are coupled so that the load is checked.
  • Make sure sharp edges in contact with slings are insulated with material that is strong enough to secure the sling.
  • Make sure that personnel is available during lifting, with or without a load, in the event of possible catching.
  • Make sure that the load is balanced in the basket attachment to prevent it from slipping.
  • When using the basket attachment, make sure that the slinging rods embrace or support the load on the sides above the center of gravity so that the load remains under control.
  • Make sure that when securing the block, the locking point is only on the body of the sling and not on the attachment.
  • Make sure that, when mounting the block, the block angle of less than 120 ° is not used without reducing the nominal capacity,
  • Make sure that the slings are not restricted, tangled or pinched by the load, hook or any other fixings,
  • Make sure that the load applied to the hook is centered on the base (cup) of the hook to prevent point load on the hook, unless the hook is designed for a point load.
  • Do not shorten or lengthen the sling by tying or twisting it.
  • Do not leave loads on the sling,
  • Do not pull the sling from under the load when the load is attached to the sling,
  • Do not drag the slings across the floor or rough surfaces,
  • Avoid heavy loads and
  • Avoid twisting or kinking.

Resistance test

Before using the sling for the first time, make sure that each component of the new, repaired or refurbished alloy steel chain sling has been tested for resistance by the sling manufacturer or a qualified person.

Resistance test certificates should be kept and made available for review.

Environmental influence:

Do not use alloy steel chain slings that have been heated above 538 ° C. They should be withdrawn from use.

Alloy steel chain slings exposed to temperatures above 205 ° C have a limited rated load.

If the chain slings are to be used in temperatures below -40 ° C, the chain manufacturer must be consulted.

Chemically active environments can affect the strength of the alloy steel chain slings. Consult the manufacturer before using the sling in such an environment.