Materials Handling - Slinging on Overhead Crane Hooks

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How should you sling a load onto a crane hook?

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  • 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?

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  • 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.

  • Fact sheet last revised: 2019-04-08