After working with Overhead Cranes & Rigging for over 25 years, I have noticed an issue about sling inspection that is very troubling.  A large percentage of American manufacturing employees have a clear misunderstanding of the requirement and frequency of sling inspections according to OSHA 1910.184.  Unfortunately, some individuals don’t even know there is an OSHA law requiring an inspection. Many crane operators or maintenance employees will use whatever sling they can find to get the job done and have no idea how important it is to not only use the correct sling for the job, but to also make sure it is inspected prior to use.

OSHA 1910.184 is the OSHA general industry regulation that covers all slings used in General Industry applications, and ASME B30.9 is the industry accepted standard for Slings. OSHA and ASME agree on many things. Two of the most important of them are “SLINGS SHALL BE INSPECTED PRIOR TO USE!”   and “THOROUGH PERIODIC INSPECTIONS SHALL BE MADE”.

OSHA 1910.184(e)(3)(i) states:
In addition to the inspection required by paragraph (d) of this section, 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 1910.184(d) states:
Inspections.  Each day before being used, the sling and all fastenings and attachments SHALL be inspected for damage or defects by a competent person designated by the employer.  Additional inspections SHALL be performed during sling use. Where service conditions warrant.  Damaged or defective slings SHALL be immediately removed from service.

I believe a big portion of American manufacturing employees are confused or have never been trained on OSHA 1910.184 paragraph (d). There seems to be confusion in the industry concerning Slings and Rigging and the need for a Pre-Use inspection.  Some employees and managers have a misconception that slings only need to be inspected once a year. This indeed is due to a lack of training.  There is a lot of sling damage and abuse that can occur daily, let alone annually.

As stated above with OSHA 1910.184(d) it is imperative that slings be inspected BEFORE USE!  When individuals use worn or damaged slings there is an exponential risk for a sling failure that could result in serious injury or death.  Most people do not understand that when a sling is being used it will not give them a warning prior to its failure. The warning comes when performing the Pre-use inspection!

Here at Qualified Crane Training & Consulting LLC, we pride ourselves on training individuals on the proper interpretation of industry regulations and the proper way to inspect rigging equipment prior to use. Training is the key in raising awareness to help minimize the dangerous risk factors with Overhead Cranes & Rigging.

Kevin Rhodes Technical Trainer for Qualified Crane Training and Consulting LLC
Qualified Crane Training and Consulting LLC is a provider of training and consultative services for the Overhead and Mobile Crane industries
OSHA 1910.184 N in the materials handling and storage section of the Occupational safety and health general industry standards for the United States of America. This standard covers Slings.
ASME B30.9 covers Slings