Safe Use of Soft Slings

Synthetic slings have been a topic of several past bulletins and WorkSafe Victoria recently published a safety alert on the use of soft slings

Like all tools in the rigging box arsenal, soft slings need to be used correctly to ensure lifts are completed safely. 


This first begins with the inspection of the sling before use.  Single use slings are often pre-slung on a load and may not meet the minimum design factor of 8:1 called out in Australian Standards.  Slings are colour coded, but that does not mean a missing label is okay.  If the label is missing, take the sling out of service.  From there, visually inspect the sling for damage to the cover, end fittings, stitching, or significant colour change from UV.  Finally, feel the sling for lumps or thinning areas with the outer cover. 


Besides the weight of the load, how you want to sling the load will determine the capacity requirements of the sling.
The white protective sleave on the sling provides edge protection.  Edge protection is not only used against abrasion, but also increases the corner radius of the load putting pressure on the sling. 

The radius of the load (R) needs to be 3 X the thickness (t) of the sling.  H-Beam, I-Beam, and Angular structural steel profiles DO NOT meet this requirement without additional edge protection.


Now that the slings have been selected and load secured, the arrangement at the hook needs to be considered. Consider:


For more information, CICA members have free access to the following standards that relate to soft slings:


Rigging equipment providers, Bullivants and Nobles, have produced quick reference guides that can be accessed from your phone to assist with the selection of the right equipment and slinging arrangement.   Soft Sling manufacturer, SpanSet, has a sling load capacity calculator.


There are other helpful resources available for download from here.