Chain Sling Safety

Posted by Melissa Hall in #YHSafetyTips, Oct 24, 2018

Chains are commonly used for material handling slings due to their strength and ability to adapt to fit the shape of the load. It is imperative that you care for chains properly, as any misuse can cause damage to the chain, leading to chain failure and injuries.

Inspecting Chains for Signs of Wear

Chains should be visually inspected before every use, paying close attention to any stretching, wear that exceeds the manufacturer’s allowance, and nicks or gouges. If any signs of wear are found, you should discontinue use of this chain.

In standard number 1926.251(b)(5) OSHA highlights that “whenever wear at any point of any chain link exceeds that shown in Table H-1 (below), the assembly shall be removed from service.”

Table H-1: Maximum Allowable Wear At Any Point of Link

Chain Size (Inches) Maximum Allowable Wear (Inches)
1/4 3/64
3/8 5/64
1/2 7/64
5/8 9/64
3/4 5/32
7/8 11/64
1 3/16
1 1/8 7/32
1 1/4 1/4
1 3/8 9/32
1 1/2 5/16
1 3/4 11/32

In addition to a visual inspection before every use, chains should be inspected at least once every 12 months. OSHA’s standard 1926.251(b)(6)(i) explains that inspection frequency may vary.

“A thorough periodic inspection of alloy steel chain slings in use shall be made on a regular basis, to be determined on the basis of (A) frequency of sling use; (B) severity of service conditions; (C) nature of lifts being made; and (D) experience gained on the service life of slings used in similar circumstances. Such inspections shall in no event be at intervals greater than once every 12 months.”

OSHA also requires in standard 1926.251(b)(6)(ii) that “the employer shall make and maintain a record of the most recent month in which each alloy steel chain sling was thoroughly inspected and shall make such record available for examination.”

For accurate record tracking, these inspection tags should include:

  • Load capacity
  • Date of last inspection
  • Type of material

Maintenance of Chain Slings

Prior to each inspection, chain slings should be cleaned to remove dirt or oil that could be hiding damage. Chain sings operators should inspect the total length of the sling, and look for stretching, binding, wear, nicks or gouges. If a sling has stretched to a length of greater than 3% longer than the original length it is no longer safe to use.

If nicks or gouges are found, they must be filed smooth, measured with calipers and compared with the manufacturer’s minimum allowable safe dimensions. If the measurement is borderline, the sling should be not be used. Employees should never try to repair the welded components of a chain sling.

After using a chain sling, the sling should be cleaned, checked for any damage that occurred during use, and hung on a rack or wall in a clean, dry, ventilated space.

Our Chain Slings

Other Varieties of Slings

Wire Rope Slings
Web Lifting Slings

Read more about proper handling of all varieties of slings in our previous blog post about Sling Safety

If you haven’t read last week’s blog on Proper Lighting in Warehouses, read it here.

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