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Lifting Slings: Instructions and Recommendations of Use

By: Dawnerz

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Time to read 8 min

Did you know that improper use of lifting slings is a leading cause of accidents and injuries in the workplace? Understanding the correct methods and best practices for using lifting slings is vital to ensure the safety of both workers and the loads being lifted. Whether you are using polyester, nylon, or metal slings, following proper instructions and recommendations is essential for efficient and secure lifting operations.

Types of Lifting Slings

Lifting slings come in various types, each designed to meet specific lifting requirements and operational conditions. The choice of sling type plays a crucial role in ensuring safe and efficient lifting operations. Here are some common types of lifting slings:

Webbing Lifting Slings

Webbing lifting slings are made of sturdy woven fabric, usually in nylon and polyester, and are known for their flexibility and strength. These slings are often used in applications where load surface protection is critical, as they have a soft surface that minimizes damage to delicate or fragile loads. Webbing slings are lightweight, easy to handle, and have excellent resistance to chemicals, making them suitable for various industries.

Nylon and Polyester Lifting Slings

Polyester lifting slings are widely used in industrial settings due to their exceptional strength and durability. These slings offer a high weight-bearing capacity and have excellent resistance to abrasion, UV radiation, and chemicals. Polyester slings are also lightweight and flexible, making them easy to handle and manipulate during lifting operations


Nylon lifting slings are known for their superior strength and elasticity. These slings have a high shock-absorption capacity, making them ideal for heavy loads that need to be lifted or transported. Nylon slings are resistant to mildew, oil, and grease, ensuring their longevity even in harsh working environments

Round Slings

Round lifting slings , also known as endless slings, are extremely versatile and efficient in various lifting applications. These slings consist of a continuous loop of polyester or nylon material, ensuring even load distribution and preventing damage to the load. Round slings are highly flexible and adapt to the shape of the load, providing excellent grip and stability during lifting operations.


When selecting the appropriate lifting sling, consider factors such as the load weight, shape, nature, and environmental conditions. It is crucial to match the sling type to the specific lifting requirements and equipment available to ensure safe and efficient lifting operations.

Crane Lifting Slings

Crane lifting slings are specifically designed for use with cranes and other lifting devices. These slings can handle substantial loads and offer excellent control and stability during lifting operations. Crane slings are available in various configurations, including single-leg, double-leg, and quadruple-leg slings, depending on the lifting requirements.

How to Use Lifting Slings Safely

When it comes to using lifting slings, safety should always be the top priority. Following the manufacturer's instructions for proper use is crucial to ensure that the slings perform as intended and minimize the risk of accidents. Here are some essential guidelines to keep in mind:


Inspect before use: Before each use, thoroughly inspect the slings to check for any defects or signs of wear and tear. Make sure they are properly labeled and in good condition.


Load distribution: When placing the slings over the load, ensure that the load is evenly distributed to prevent any imbalances or overloading. This helps maintain stability and reduces the risk of accidents during lifting operations.


Secure the sling: It is important to secure the sling properly to prevent the load from falling during lifting. Use appropriate securing techniques, such as properly fastening hooks or shackles, and ensure that they are adequately attached to both the sling and the lifting device.


Avoid actions that can damage slings: Dragging loads across rough surfaces or leaving loads suspended for extended periods can cause damage to the slings. Always handle slings with care and avoid actions that could compromise their integrity.


Working load limit: Never exceed the working load limit specified by the manufacturer for the particular lifting sling. Overloading the sling can fail and lead to serious accidents.


Avoid using damaged slings: If a sling shows any signs of damage or has reached the end of its service life, it should not be used. Using damaged slings can put operators at risk and compromise the safety of the lifting operation.


By following these instructions for use and taking appropriate safety precautions ,operators can ensure the safe and effective use of lifting slings, promoting a secure working environment and avoiding potential hazards.

How to Store and Clean Lifting Slings

Proper storage and cleaning are essential for maintaining the safety and longevity of lifting slings. By following a few guidelines, you can ensure that your slings remain in optimal condition, ready for use when needed.

Store your lifting slings in a cool and clean environment, away from humidity, direct sunlight, and chemicals. These factors can degrade the materials and compromise the strength of the slings.

Avoid drying slings near heat sources, as excessive heat can damage the fibers or cause them to lose their strength.

When not in use, make sure to properly coil or fold the slings to prevent tangling or unnecessary strain on the fibers.

Regular cleaning is important to remove dirt, debris, and any substances that may have come into contact with the slings during use. Before cleaning, refer to the manufacturer's guidelines for specific cleaning procedures. Different materials may have different cleaning requirements.

If the slings have been exposed to acids or alkalis, rinse them thoroughly with water or neutralize them using appropriate solutions. This helps prevent any chemical reactions that could weaken the slings.

Use mild detergent and warm water to clean the slings. Gently scrub the surfaces to remove any dirt or contaminants. Avoid using harsh chemicals or abrasive cleaners, as they can damage the slings.

After cleaning, rinse the slings with clean water to remove any residue from the detergent.

Allow the slings to dry naturally, away from direct sunlight or heat sources. Do not hang wet slings over sharp edges or corners, as this can cause damage to the fibers.

By implementing proper storage practices and regularly cleaning your lifting slings, you can ensure their longevity and maintain their integrity for safe and efficient lifting operations.

How to Maintain and Inspect Web Lifting SLings

Lifting slings play a crucial role in ensuring the safety and efficiency of lifting operations. To ensure their continued reliability, it is important to conduct regular inspections and maintenance . Regular inspections should be performed by competent individuals as part of mandatory periodic audits . These audits are essential in verifying that the lifting slings are in proper working condition and identifying any potential issues that may compromise their performance.


We have a featured blog outling the OSHA, WSTDA, and ASME guidelines which you can read.

Specific Considerations for Different Sling Configurations

When it comes to lifting slings, different configurations are utilized based on the specific lifting requirements and load control. Understanding these configurations is crucial for ensuring safe and efficient lifting operations.


Vertical Configuration

The vertical configuration is the most common and straightforward type of sling configuration. In this setup, one end of the sling connects to the lifting device, such as a crane or hoist, while the other end connects to the load being lifted. The vertical configuration is ideal for lifting loads in a straight line.


Basket Configuration

In a basket configuration , the load is lifted using two legs of the sling. The sling is looped or wrapped around the load, with both ends connecting to the lifting device. The load is evenly distributed between the two legs, providing enhanced stability and improved load control. The basket configuration is suitable for lifting wide or bulky loads that require balance and support.


Choker Configuration

The choker configuration involves wrapping the sling around the load and connecting its ends to the lifting device. This configuration allows the sling to grip the load securely, preventing it from slipping or shifting during lifting. The choker configuration is commonly used when lifting cylindrical objects or loads with irregular shapes.

Sling hitch types

Each sling configuration has its advantages and limitations. It is important to consider factors such as load characteristics, weight distribution, and operational conditions when selecting the appropriate sling configuration. By understanding and utilizing the right configuration for each lifting task, operators can ensure safe and efficient lifting operations with minimal risks.

Conclusion

When it comes to using lifting slings safely, there are several key factors to consider. First and foremost, operators must carefully evaluate the type of sling that best suits their needs, taking into account factors such as load requirements and operational conditions. By selecting the appropriate sling, operators can ensure optimal safety and performance during lifting operations.


Following the manufacturer's instructions for use is of utmost importance. These instructions provide valuable guidance on how to properly handle and secure the slings, as well as any specific precautions to be taken. Adhering to these instructions not only ensures the safety of the operators but also helps extend the lifespan of the slings.


Proper storage, regular inspections, and maintenance are crucial for maximizing the safety and longevity of lifting slings. Storing slings in a cool, clean environment away from harsh conditions helps prevent damage and deterioration. Regular inspections by competent individuals, as part of mandatory audits, are essential for identifying any potential issues and addressing them promptly. Routine maintenance and repairs, carried out by qualified professionals, further contribute to the overall safety and effectiveness of the equipment.


By following best practices and guidelines, operators can minimize the risks associated with lifting operations and ensure the safe and efficient use of lifting slings. By prioritizing safety and implementing proper procedures, operators not only protect themselves and their team but also optimize the performance and longevity of their lifting equipment, making each operation a success.

FAQs

What is a lifting sling?

A lifting sling is a removable accessory that connects a lifting device, such as a crane, to a load to be lifted.

What types of materials are lifting slings made of?

Lifting slings can be made of textile materials such as polyester and nylon, as well as rope, metal cable, or chain.

How do I choose the right type of lifting sling?

The appropriate lifting sling depends on factors like the weight, shape, and nature of the load, as well as the lifting method and available equipment.

What precautions should I take when using lifting slings?

Follow the manufacturer's instructions, inspect the slings before use, ensure even load distribution , secure the slings properly, and avoid actions that could damage the slings.

How should I store and clean my lifting slings?

Store the slings in a cool, clean place away from humidity, sunlight, and chemicals. Follow the manufacturer's guidelines for cleaning procedures

How often should I inspect and maintain my lifting slings?

Regular inspections by competent individuals as part of mandatory periodic audits are essential. Repairs should only be carried out by the manufacturer or a qualified third party.

What are the different sling configurations and when should they be used?

The different sling configurations include vertical, basket, and choker configurations. Each configuration is used depending on the lifting requirements and load control.

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