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Miscellaneous Log and Lumber Processing > Ropes, Cables, Slings, and Chains

Sawmill workers often use ropes, chains, or similar devices to position or handle logs. These create additional hazards for the workers and can make a dangerous process even more dangerous. OSHA requires that certain measures, listed below, be taken to address these types of hazards.

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Ropes, Cables, Slings and Chains Top


Workers may be injured by loads that fall or become unstable due to the unsafe usage of ropes, cables, slings, or chains. Excessive wear or damage to the ropes or fittings may cause a failure that results in workers being crushed by the load.

Ropes, cables, slings, and chains must be used in accordance with safe use practices recommended by the manufacturer. 1910.265(c)(24)(i)

Do not use an open hook in rigging to lift any load where there is hazard from relieving the tension on the hook from the load, or the hook catching or fouling. 1910.265(c)(24)(ii)

Work by qualified persons. Installation, inspection, maintenance, repair, and testing of ropes, cables, slings, and chains must be done by qualified persons. 1910.265(c)(24)(iii)

Proper storage must be provided for slings while not in use. 1910.265(c)(24)(iv)

Wire rope or cable must be inspected when installed and once each week thereafter, when in use. It shall be removed from hoisting or load-carrying service when kinked or when one of the following conditions exists: 1910.265(c)(24)(v)(a)

When three broken wires are found in one lay of 6 by 6 wire rope. 1910.265(c)(24)(v)(a)

When six broken wires are found in one lay of 6 by 19 wire rope. 1910.265(c)(24)(v)(a)(2)

When nine broken wires are found in one lay of 6 by 37 wire rope. 1910.265(c)(24)(v)(a)(3)

When eight broken wires are found in one lay of 8 by 19 wire rope. 1910.265(c)(24)(v)(a)(4)

When marked corrosion appears. 1910.265(c)(24)(v)(a)(5)

Wire rope of a type not described herein must be removed from service when 4 percent of the total number of wires are found to be broken in one lay. 1910.265(c)(24)(v)(a)(6)

Wire rope removed from service due to defects needs to be plainly marked or identified as being unfit for further use on cranes, hoists, and other load-carrying devices. 1910.265(c)(24)(v)(b)

The ratio between the rope diameter and the drum, block, sheave, or pulley tread diameter needs to allow the rope to adjust itself to the bend without excessive wear, deformation, or injury. The safe value of drums, blocks, sheaves, or pulleys may not be reduced when replacing such items unless compensating changes are made for rope used and for safe loading limits. 1910.265(c)(24)(v)(c)

Drums, sheaves, and pulleys need to be smooth and free from surface defects liable to injure rope. Drums, sheaves, or pulleys having eccentric bores or cracked hubs, spokes, or flanges must be removed from service. 1910.265(c)(24)(vi)

Connections, fittings, fastenings, and other parts used in connection with ropes and cables must be of good quality, the proper size and strength and must be installed in accordance with the manufacturer's recommendations. 1910.265(c)(24)(vii)

Socketing, splicing, and seizing of cables must be performed by qualified persons.  1910.265(c)(24)(viii)(a)

All eye splices must be made in an approved manner and wire rope thimbles of proper size must be fitted in the eye, except that in slings the use of thimbles may be optional. 1910.265(c)(24)(viii)(b)

Wire rope clips attached with U-bolts must have the bolts on the dead or short end of the rope. The U-bolt nuts need to be retightened immediately after initial load carrying use and at frequent intervals thereafter. 1910.265(c)(24)(viii)(c)

When a wedge socket-type fastening is used, the dead or short end of the cable must be clipped with a U-bolt or otherwise made secure against loosening. 1910.265(c)(24)(viii)(d)

Hooks, shackles, rings, pad eyes, and other fittings that show excessive wear or that have been bent, twisted, or otherwise damaged must be removed from service. 1910.265(c)(24)(viii)(e)

Running lines of hoisting equipment located within 6 feet 6 inches of the ground or working level must be boxed off or otherwise guarded, or the operating area needs to be restricted. 1910.265(c)(24)(viii)(f)

There may not be less than two full wraps of hoisting cable on the drum of cranes and hoists at all times of operation. 1910.265(c)(24)(viii)(g)

Drums need to have a flange at each end to prevent the cable from slipping off. 1910.265(c)(24)(viii)(h)

Bottom sheaves must be protected by close fitting guards to prevent cable from jumping the sheave. 1910.265(c)(24)(viii)(i)

The reeving of a rope must be arranged to minimize chafing or abrading while in use. 1910.265(c)(24)(viii)(j)

Chains used in load carrying service must be inspected before initial use and weekly thereafter. 1910.265(c)(24)(ix)(a)

Chain needs to be normalized or annealed periodically as recommended by the manufacturer. 1910.265(c)(24)(ix)(b)

If any three-foot length of chain is found to have stretched one-third the length of a link, it must be discarded. 1910.265(c)(24)(ix)(c)

Bolts or nails may not be placed between two links to shorten or join chains. 1910.265(c)(24)(ix)(d)

Broken chains may not be spliced by inserting a bolt between two links with the head of the bolt and nut sustaining the load, or by passing one link through another and inserting a bolt or nail to hold it. 1910.265(c)(24)(ix)(e)

Frozen fiber rope may not be used in load carrying service. 1910.265(c)(24)(x)(a)

Fiber rope that has been subjected to acid or excessive heat may not be used for load carrying purposes. 1910.265(c)(24)(x)(b)

Fiber rope must be protected from abrasion by padding where it is fastened or drawn over square corners or sharp or rough surfaces. 1910.265(c)(24)(x)(c)


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