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Materials Handling - Slinging on Overhead Crane Hooks

How should you sling a load onto a crane hook?

  • Make sure you have the required training, qualifications, or certification as determined by your jurisdiction to operate the crane.
  • Visually inspect the crane before use.
  • Determine the weight of the load to be lifted.
  • Select the right sling for each job using the manufacturer's tables. A slinger must be familiar with these tables showing the safe capacities of slings. (A slinger or rigger is the person who hooks loads onto cranes using various types of slings.)
  • Inspect each item of lifting equipment before and after lifts.
  • Tag defective slings and dispose of damaged ones.
  • Make clear signals according to standard signals. Refer to Materials Handling - Crane and Hoist Hand Signals for examples.
  • Signal the crane operator from only the one slinger who is in charge of lift. The only exception is a stop signal.
  • Protect slings from damage by sharp edges with corner saddles, padding, or wooden blocks.
  • Warn all people to get out of the load area before starting the lift.
  • Protect your hands and fingers: when slack is being taken out of a sling, keep them from between the sling and load so they will not be trapped and crushed. Step away before the lift is made.
  • Make sure a load is high enough to clear all objects before signaling for the crane to move.
  • Walk ahead of the moving load and warn people to keep clear. Use guide ropes to prevent rotation or other uncontrolled motion.
  • Hook unused sling legs to the sling ring.
  • Set down loads on blocking – never directly on a sling.
  • When not in use, hang slings on racks or store according to manufacturer's directions.

What should you avoid when slinging a load?

  • Do not exceed the capacities of slings, fixtures and cranes.
  • Do not twist or tie knots in slings or use bolts, nails or pieces of wire to shorten slings.
  • Do not splice together broken slings.
  • Do not ride on hooks or loads.
  • Do not allow workers to walk or work under a load.
  • Do not lift a load over a worker.
  • Do not attempt to pull or push loads to a spot that is not under the hoist.
  • Do not drag slings. Avoid pulling slings out from under loads by crane.
  • Do not leave unused slings, accessories, or blocking lying on the floor.
  • Do not carry a load by inserting the point of the hook into a link of the chain.
  • Do not hammer a sling into place.
  • Do not leave loose materials on a load.
  • Do not use slings that are stretched, broken, or defective.
  • Do not leave suspended loads unattended.
  • Do not expose slings to temperatures beyond the range recommended by the manufacturer.

Document last updated on April 8, 2019

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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.