Chain and Sling Safety

Chains, slings and hooks are used to connect the lifting device (crane, hoist or forklift) and the load itself. A substandard or faulty chain or sling can injure or kill a person instantly. It is critical that chains and slings conform to specifications at all times.

Inspection Checkpoints and Safety Tips

  • NEVER stand directly underneath a load- You cannot always trust that the sling or chain will support a load.
  • NEVER modify or improperly use chains, slings, or hooks; use them only for their intended purpose.
  • Always fasten the sling or chain to a rigid, fixed point on the load. In some cases, temporary eye hooks may be fastened to the load.
  • While hoisting and carrying a load, always try to ensure it is centered. This will help minimize an awkward center of gravity or shift of the load which could increase strain on the chain or sling.
  • Always ensure hooks have a clasp to avoid inadvertent slipping of the hook.
  • Inspect the condition of the chains and slings for link damage, cracking, separation, fraying, etc. Some slings are designed so that any exposed red material means the sling should be replaced.
  • Understand the rated load for the chain, sling, or hook. Hooks are usually stamped accordingly.
  • If you cannot read the rated tag on a sling, take the sling out of service.
  • If the chain does not have an affixed tag, remove it from service to be inspected and tagged.
  • Make sure there is a routine inspection for preventative maintenance for the chains and slings.

Questions for discussion:

  • What are the maximum loads carried by slings and chains in your work area?
  • Have workers been taught safe practices and are those practices used?
  • What are the main reasons chains, slings and hooks get damaged in your work area?
  • What can be done to reduce these problems?