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Common Causes of Sling Failures

Crane deliveries on construction sites often require the use of soft slings. However, if used incorrectly they can cause life-threatening or fatal injuries.

Safety Issues Associated with Incorrect Soft Sling Use

While soft slings are appropriate in certain applications, they have limitations too. A common cause of soft sling failure is, lifting loads with a small radius edge. Although rounded, these edges can easily cut through the soft sling when under a load. Similarly, a sling may also be cut by an obstruction when under a load.

 How to Control the Risks When Lifting Loads?

Sling Selection

When selecting a sling, consider the following:

  • What’s the nature of the load?
  • Is there potential for slings to be damaged by the load’s edges or surfaces?
  • Is there enough space for load to be lifted?
  • Is there potential for external obstructions to cause damage to the slings?
  • What are the working conditions around the sling use? (eg. heat, chemicals, dirt/dust)
  • What’s the working load limit of the slings?

Cut Protection

Identify circumstances where a soft sling may come into contact with sharp edges. Provide a protective sleeve or pad between the sling and the edges of the load to avoid damaging the sling.

Regular Inspections

Soft slings should be inspected before each use and should also undergo a thorough inspection every three months.

Storage and Handling

Always store soft slings in a clean and dry location away from direct sunlight and chemicals. Do not drag them along the ground as this will cause damage to the synthetic fibres. Follow manufacturer’s manual for cleaning instructions.

Further information on the use and care of soft slings:

Australian Standard AS 4497:2018 Roundslings—Synthetic fibre

Australian Standard AS 1353.2-1997 Flat synthetic-webbing slings Part 2: Care and use


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