OSH Answers Fact Sheets
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What types of fibres are used to make rope slings?
- Natural such as abaca (Manila) fibre.
- Synthetic, including: nylon, polyester, polypropylene, Kevlar.
What are the characteristics of natural fibre rope slings?
Natural fibres are:
- Non abrasive.
- Can be easily cut and have a low resistance to abrasion.
- Are damaged by long exposure to humidity, sun light and ultraviolet radiation.
- Poor resistance to acids and alkalis.
What are the characteristics of synthetic fibre rope slings?
Synthetic fibres are:
- Higher strengths than Manila rope.
- Resistant to humidity and mildew.
- Depending on the material used, the slings can be damaged by exposure to acids (e.g., nylon slings) or bases (e.g., polyester slings).
- Stronger than the natural fibre slings.
- Light weight.
- Good resistance to abrasion.
For more information about the characteristics of the synthetic slings visit Synthetic Web Slings page.
What to look for when inspecting natural and synthetic fibre rope slings?
Inspect the slings each day before use. Remove the sling from service if you notice any of the following defects:
- Absence of sling identification.
- Excessive wear and abrasions.
- Broken or cut fibres.
- Powdered fibre between strands.
- Discoloration and/or rotting.
- Excessive dirt in the interior of the rope.
- Damaged hardware (cracked, corroded, distorted, broken, etc.).
- Loss of flexibility, kinks, distortion.
How should you use fibre rope slings safely?
- Select the correct sling and hitching type for the job.
- Make sure that the ropes are not twisted.
- Do not use when slings present any of the above listed defects.
- Use safe operating slinging practice described in Slinging on Overhead Crane Hooks.
How should you care for fibre rope slings?
- Clean fibre slings with clear water and allow to dry naturally.
- Store the rope slings by hanging them from hooks.
- Store the slings away from exposure to sun, in a dry and not contaminated environment.
What should you avoid when using natural and synthetic fibre slings?
- Do not wrap a rope sling at a smaller diameter than that recommended by the manufacturer.
- Do not use the fibre rope slings in contact to lift loads at temperatures higher than 82.2°C (180°F).
- Do not use fibre rope slings at temperatures lower than -7°C (20°F).
- Follow the manufacturer’s recommendation for use of rope slings outside the recommended temperature or if ropes have been frozen.
- Do not expose rope slings to chemicals.
- Do not splice ropes by making knots.
- Do not use repaired fibre ropes.
Although every effort is made to ensure the accuracy, currency and completeness of the information, CCOHS does not guarantee, warrant, represent or undertake that the information provided is correct, accurate or current. CCOHS is not liable for any loss, claim, or demand arising directly or indirectly from any use or reliance upon the information.