In almost any industry, the handling of materials is one of the most important tasks. Without the right material handling equipment, important tools and materials cannot be moved and utilized. This is why, in the material handling industry, slings are one of the most important pieces of equipment. They help make it possible to pick up and transport materials from one place to the next. Unfortunately, loads are often too heavy for the slings to properly support them, which leads to workplace injuries and deaths. The same is true when operators are not properly trained or fail to abide by the safety rules when using a sling. To help increase sling safety at work, make sure your employees are following these five tips:
1. Select the Right Slings
The first step in ensuring the safety of your materials and your workers is to make certain that the right slings are being selected for the job. Workers need to take several factors into consideration when determining the sling that they need to use for a specific job, including the type of load, size of load and various environmental conditions at the site.
2. Make Sure to Lubricate Rope Slings.
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the sling's service life can be increased with proper lubrication in the field. Ultimately, the frequency of lubrication will depend on how and how often the sling is being used. For example, if you are constantly using the sling for heavy loads, then lubrication will be required much more frequently than if you were only using the sling for light loads or only using it infrequently.
3. Slings Should Be Cleaned Before Use.
Before workers use a sling, they should clean it thoroughly. It isn't uncommon for slings to accumulate dust, dirt and oil – all of which can hide damage. The same should be done by workers following the use of the sling before it is put up for later use. If a sling has any sign of damage, even a small amount, including damaged rope strands and broken wires, the sling should not be used or stored. This helps to prevent unnecessary injury due to a damaged sling.
4. Discard Defective Slings.
When a sling shows signs of excessive wear and tear or defects, it should be discarded immediately. Workers should inspect the slings for any broken wires, displacement or damage to end fittings (collars, hooks, rings and links), kinking or distortion, and severe corrosion.
5. Always Check for Tension.
When workers are using the sling to lift loads, especially larger loads, it is crucial that they check for tension. This can be done by lifting the load only several inches, then stopping and inspecting the load and sling for proper balance.
When your worksite requires the use of material handling equipment, you must make sure that the materials can be transported correctly and that your workers are safe. The five aforementioned tips, along with sling safety guidance from OSHA, will help ensure that is possible. Contact a company like Tri State Surplus Co for more information about material handling equipment.