inspection of lifting gear

for example: this section should be related to any type of lifting equipment.

legal requirements

supply of new equipment

all new chain slings supplied within cen member states fully comply with essential health and safety requirements of the machinery safety directive 89/392/eec and amending directives 91/368/eec and 93/68/eec.

each country is bound to implement these directives with national legislation e.g. in the republic of ireland the applicable regulations are the supply of machinery regulations 1992 and amendment in 1994, which fully applied from 1st january 1995 ????

use of new equipment

once a sling has been first put into service with a cen member state, different eu directives apply to its subsequent use.

these are the use of work equipment directive and its amending directive 95/63/eec.  member states are bound to implement this directive with national regulations by 5th december 1998 and in the republic of ireland these are s.i. number ????? of 1999, safety, health & welfare at work (general applications) (amendment) regulations, 1999 and in the united kingdom these are the lifting operations and lifting equipment regulations (loler) which are part of the provision & use of work equipment regulations (puwer) relevant to lifting equipment.

inspection of equipment


chain slings should be checked before each period of use and the sling withdrawn for service and referred to a competent person if any of the following are observed. 

  • identification tag or marking missing or illegible.
  • distortion of the links, connectors or hooks.
  • stretch in any of the chain links.
  • wear in the chain, especially between adjoining links.  the mean diameter at any point should be no less than 90% of the nominal chain diameter.
  • cuts, nicks, gouges, cracks, excessive corrosion, heat discoloration or any other defects.
  • signs of any increase in the throat opening of hooks.  this should not exceed 10% of the nominal value or be such as to allow the safety latch, if fitted, to become disengaged. 

thorough examination

it is a requirement of the new european standard for grade 8 chain slings that a thorough examination should be carried out by a competent person at intervals not exceeding twelve months.  this maximum interval may be less where legal requirements differ throughout the european union.  for example in ireland and the uk the majority of industry sectors apply a maximum interval of six months.

  • where slings are in constant use, or the conditions of use are severe, it is advisable to carry out more regular examinations.
  • never attempt on-site repair of slings.
  • lhs will carry out the examination and any necessary repair, and provide a suitable record for you to enter in your register of lifting equipment (see c.l.a.s.s. inspection & certification service).

before first use

  • no sling should be put into use until a valid manufacturers certificate and ec declaration of conformity is to hand.
  • check that the sling is precisely as ordered and that all chain and components are marked and grade 8.
  • check that all identification references and working load limits marked on the sling correspond with the information on the manufacturers certificate.
  • enter details of the sling in the register of lifting equipment.
  • ensure that personnel who are to use the sling have received appropriate instruction and training.  an instruction leaflet “safe use of chain slings” should be supplied with each new sling.

before each use

before each use a sling should be subject to inspection with a visual check on the condition of the chain sling to identify obvious damage or deterioration which might affect its fitness for use.  withdraw the sling from service if in any doubt. 

limitations on use

due to risk of embrittlement, slings should not be used in acid or caustic solutions nor in heavily acidic or caustic laden atmospheres.  in uncertain conditions consult your distributor.

slings must not be heat-treated, galvanised, plated, coated or subject to any process involving heating or pickling. each of these processes can have dangerous effects and will invalidate the manufacturers certificate. 

slings may be used at temperatures down to –40°c with no reduction in the working load limit. the use of chain slings within the permissible temperature range in the table below does not require any permanent reduction in working load limit when the chain sling is returned to normal temperatures. a sling accidentally exposed to temperatures in excess of the maximum permissible should be withdrawn from service immediately and returned to the distributor for thorough examination.

reduction in
working load limit
-40°c to 200°c 
200°c to 300°c  
300°c to 400°c 
above 400°c
do not use


when using slings in exceptionally hazardous conditions, the degree of hazard should be assessed by a competent person and the working load limit adjusted accordingly.  examples are the lifting of persons and lifting of potentially dangerous loads such as molten metals, corrosive materials or fissile material and including certain offshore activities. 

in use

never exceed the working load limit (wll) marked on the sling.

strictly observe the marked restriction on the angle of the sling legs.

take into consideration the cumulative effect of de-rating depending on the method of slinging to ensure that the chain sling selected has a working load limit (wll) equal to or greater than the mass to be lifted.

ensure that the master link articulates freely on the hook of the crane or other lifting appliance.

the crane hook should be positioned over the centre of gravity of the load and the sling rigged from that point, using shortening clutches for leg adjustment where necessary.

make sure that the load is free to move and is not bolted or held down in any way.  check also that there are no obstacles to making the lift.

do not leave a suspended load unattended.

when a chain is used in choke hitch i.e. with the sling legs passed around the load and hooked or linked back onto the chain the working load limit (wll) of the chain sling should be no more than 80% of that marked.

the working load limits stated in en 818-4 have been determined on the basis that the loading of the chain sling is symmetrical.  this is when the sling legs are symmetrically (i.e. equally) disposed in plan and all have the same angle to the vertical.  for unequally loaded chain slings the lift should be referred to a competent person to establish a safe rating for the chain sling.  alternatively in the case of asymmetric loading, the chain sling should be rated at half the marked wll.

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