When it comes to working a construction job, you can never be too safe. In the construction industry, falls are the leading cause of death and proper fall protection is still the most frequent Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OHSA) violation. Bottom line, in the construction industry, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
When it comes to lifting heavy loads on a construction site, slings are most often used. There are many types of slings available for use, but chain slings are among the most common. Chain slings offer durability and are versatile, able to lift everything from building materials to concrete slabs to piping. Many companies will offer many varieties of adjustable chain slings and alloy steel chain slings including single-leg slings, two-leg slings, three-leg slings and four-leg slings.
Now that chain slings have been discussed, its also important to look at other types of slings including wire slings and fiber rope and synthetic web slings to name a few:
- Wire slings: These slings are made up of individual wires which are twisted to form strands. The strands are then twisted and wire rope is formed. Wire slings can offer a great deal of strength and resistant to heat. It’s important however, that wire slings must be flexible enough to bend and able to withstand being bent numerous times if they are used on the job. Repeated use can cause cracks in the rope, which can lead to fatigue of the whole thing. Construction sites what use wire rope slings should inspect them every day before they are used. Failure to do so could potentially result in equipment failure and serious injury.
- Fiber rope/synthetic web slings: These work best on sites where work is temporary (think painting jobs or fast construction jobs). If you’re trying to lift delicate equipment, expensive loads or fragile parts, fiber rope and synthetic web is a good bet. Take care though to avoid putting fiber ropes in contact with any sort of acid.
Synthetic ropes are often made of materials like polyester and offer many benefits including strength, safety, long life and convenience. Depending on what a particular rope is made out of, you’ll want to follow the manufacturing instructions. As with fiber rope, you also want to keep an eye out for worn or broken stitching, acid burns and melting of any part of the rope.
- Four-leg slings: These slings can improve the working load limit on a construction site, when compared to single, double and three-leg setups. If you’ve got a large, rectangular-shaped load for example, four-leg slings can be very useful. Using a four-leg sling in this situation negates having to increase the size of the chain you’re using to accommodate the heavier load.
Four-leg slings are also affordable and can offer workers more flexibility if they’re trying to move loads of irregular shapes. This is because they are adjustable and allow for better balance to keep the odd-shaped load from shifting.
Working with slings of many kinds offer construction workers a chance to exercise safe lifting practices, by taking into account the weight, size and center of gravity of whatever needs to be lifted. By using slings and other equipment like safety straps correctly, accidents will decrease and workers can feel safer on the job.