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Synthetic Web Sling Safety Bulletin

By: Dawnerz


Time to read 7 min

Synthetic Web Sling Safety Bulletin


This bulletin contains crucial safety information regarding the use of synthetic web slings. However, it is NOT comprehensive and does NOT cover all aspects of handling, lifting, and manipulating materials and loads safely. The use of slings is just one component of a lifting system, and it is YOUR responsibility to assess all potential risks before using any rigging device or product. Failure to do so may lead to SERIOUS INJURY or even DEATH due to sling failure and/or loss of load.

The following points highlight some important safety issues. 

1. To ensure safe and proper usage, all users of this sling must undergo thorough training in the selection, including its limitations, use, and inspection. It is crucial to be aware of the potential hazards to personnel, environmental effects, and rigging practices associated with this sling. Furthermore, users must possess knowledge of and strictly adhere to all relevant standards and regulations governing its use.

2. Prior to each use, thoroughly examine the sling for any signs of damage. In the event that the sling is found to be damaged, it is of utmost importance to IMMEDIATELY cease its usage and remove it from service. Failure to comply with this warning may result in severe injury or even death.

3. Protect sling from damage. Protect sling to avoid damage. Failure to use proper sling protection AT ALL TIMES may result in sling failure and serious injury or death.

4. Do not exceed sling's rated capacity. Failure to comply may result in serious injury or death. Always take into account the impact of sling angle and tension factors on the sling's capacity. Under no circumstances should slings be overloaded.

5. Do not stand on, under or near a load with the sling under tension. An unplanned release of tension could result in the load dropping and/or striking personnel with deadly recoil force. Be alert in the "danger zone" (any area under or near the load, in-line with or near slings under tension).

6. Proper maintenance and storage of slings is critical. Slings must be protected from UV light degradation, heat, chemicals, environmental factors, and mechanical damage. Always store slings off the floor and away from grit and other particles that could compromise their effectiveness. Failure to follow these instructions could result in serious injury or death.

1. All Sling Users Must be Trained

In order to guarantee the safe and appropriate use of this sling, it is mandatory for all users to undergo comprehensive training. This training will cover various aspects such as the selection process, including understanding the limitations of the sling, its proper use, and regular inspection procedures. It is of utmost importance for users to be fully aware of the potential hazards that may arise for personnel, as well as the potential environmental effects and rigging practices associated with this particular sling.

Additionally, users must possess a thorough understanding of and strictly adhere to all relevant standards and regulations that govern the use of this sling. It is essential to follow the guidelines outlined in WSTDA WS-1, OSHA 1910.184, and AMSE B30.9 standards at all times. By doing so, users can ensure the safe and effective use of this sling.

If you have any doubts about your training or qualifications, it is important to consult with a suitable person at your workplace, such as your supervisor or management. It is crucial that you do not operate any lifting or rigging equipment until you have received the correct advice and obtained copies of the necessary certifications.

2. Slings Must Be Regularly Inspected

To ensure the safety and integrity of web slings, it is important to conduct a thorough inspection on a daily basis. Here are the steps to follow: Carefully examine the entire length of the web sling for any cuts, tears, abrasions, or other visible damag and pay close attention to the stitching and seams, as they can indicate signs of wear and tear.

Make sure that all labels, tags, and markings on the web sling are present and legible. Check for important information such as the capacity, manufacturer, and inspection date. If your web sling has any attached hardware, such as hooks or shackles, examine them for any damage or deformation. Ensure that the hardware is properly secured and functional. Check for any foreign substances like oil, grease, or chemicals that could compromise the integrity of the sling. If contamination is found, clean or replace the sling as necessary. Verify that the web sling's rated capacity is suitable for the intended load. Also, ensure that the angle of use complies with safe working practices.

Keep records of daily inspections, noting any issues identified and the corrective actions taken. Document the date of the inspection and the person responsible for conducting it. In addition to the daily inspections, there are specific guidelines to follow for frequent inspections

Under normal service conditions, a designated person should perform a visual inspection for damage each day or shift before using the web sling. In severe service conditions, a visual inspection for damage should be conducted before each use.

Always follow the manufacturer's recommendations for inspection frequency. If the manufacturer suggests a higher rate of inspection, such as before each use, adhere to those guidelines

3. Protect Sling From Damage

It is important to always avoid the following actions when using slings

  • Dropping or dragging slings on the ground, floor, or over abrasive surfaces.
  • Pulling slings from under loads when the load is resting on the sling. If possible, place blocks under the load instead.
  • Shortening or adjusting slings using methods that are not approved by the sling manufacturer or a qualified person.
  • Twisting, kinking, or knotting the sling.
  • Exposing slings to damaging chemicals.
  • Exposing slings to sources of heat damage or weld spatter.
  • Using slings or allowing them to be exposed to temperatures above 194°F (90°C) or below -40°F (-40°C).
  • "Tip loading" a sling on a hook instead of centering it in the base or "bowl" of the hook.
  • Using hooks, shackles, or other hardware that have edges or surfaces that could damage the sling.
  • Running or driving over slings with a vehicle or other equipment.

It is important to provide sufficient protection for synthetic slings in order to prevent damage and ensure their effectiveness. Tension and compression between the sling, connection points, and the load can cause abrasion, cutting, or other forms of damage. Even surfaces that are not highly abrasive or sharp can still lead to sling failure. Therefore, it is crucial to ALWAYS PROTECT synthetic web slings from being cut or damaged by corners, edges, protrusions, or abrasive surfaces. This protection should be suitable for the intended purpose of the sling.

The main objective is to maintain the sling's ability to securely lift the load while avoiding contact with surfaces that could cause damage or abrasion. A qualified individual should be responsible for selecting the appropriate method of protection based on the specific types of damage the slings are likely to encounter.

4. Do Not Exceed The Slings Rated Capacity

Exceeding the rated capacity of a sling can have severe consequences. Slings are designed to safely lift loads within their specified weight limits. These weight limits are determined by the manufacturer and are based on factors such as the material strength, construction, and design of the sling. 

When a sling is overloaded, it is subjected to forces that it may not be able to withstand. This can lead to the sling breaking or failing, causing the load to fall. The sudden release of a heavy load can cause serious injuries or fatalities to workers or bystanders in the vicinity. The sling angle and tension factors also play a crucial role in determining the safe working load limit of a sling. As the angle between the sling and the vertical line increases, the tension on the sling increases as well. This means that the rated capacity of the sling decreases as the angle becomes more acute. It is important to take this into account when calculating the safe working load of a sling. Overloading a sling should never be done under any circumstances.

Even if a load seems manageable or the sling appears to be in good condition, exceeding the rated capacity is a dangerous practice that can have catastrophic consequences. It is essential to always follow the manufacturer's guidelines and ensure that the load being lifted is within the safe working load of the sling.

5. Do Not Stand On, Under, Or Near A Load

Standing on, under, or near a load when the sling is under tension poses a significant risk to individuals in the vicinity. The tension in the sling holds the load in place, but any sudden release of that tension can result in the load dropping unexpectedly.

This sudden drop can generate a dangerous recoil force, which can cause severe injuries or even be fatal. To ensure safety, it is essential to maintain constant vigilance and remain alert in what is known as the "danger zone." The danger zone encompasses any area located under or near the load, as well as in-line with or near the slings that are under tension. This means that individuals should avoid standing directly beneath the load or in close proximity to it.

By avoiding the danger zone, individuals can minimize the risk of being struck by a falling load or being subjected to the powerful recoil force that can occur. It is crucial to understand that even seemingly small loads can cause significant harm if they are dropped or released unexpectedly.

6. Sling Maintenance and Storage

It is important to protect slings from various forms of damage, including UV light degradation, heat, chemicals, environmental factors, and mechanical damage. To prevent such damage, it is recommended to follow these guidelines:

Store slings in a cool, dry, and dark location to shield them from UV light degradation and heat damage.

Ensure that the storage area is free from any potential sources of environmental, chemical, or mechanical damage. This includes avoiding contact with weld spatter, splinters from grinding or machining, and heat sources.

Avoid scrubbing or washing web slings, as this can lead to mechanical or chemical damage and a loss of strength. If slings become wet, allow them to dry thoroughly before storing them.