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General Requirements Shipbuilding Ship Repair Shipbreaking Barge Cleaning

Materials Handling (including Gear and Equipment for Rigging) Ropes, Chains, and Slings


Ropes, chains, and slings are attached to loads that are being lifted or moved. Failure of this equipment can cause the load to fall, injuring workers.

The following topics are addressed below:
Note: Confined space entry is one of the leading hazards associated with barge cleaning. Review the Shipbreaking: Confined/Enclosed Spaces and Other Dangerous Atmospheres chapter for information on how to protect workers from this hazard.


Natural (Manila) and Synthetic Rope and Slings
Figure 1: Spliced eye in natural fiber rope connecting an oval ring Figure 1: Spliced eye in natural fiber rope connecting an oval ring.

Potential Hazards:

Failure of slings due to abrasion, cuts, overloading, improper storage and use, environmental conditions and chemical deterioration may result in serious accidents.


Requirements and Example Solutions:
Note: Only fiber rope slings made from new rope must be used. Use of repaired or reconditioned fiber rope slings is prohibited. [29 CFR 1910.184(h)(6)]

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Synthetic Web Slings
Figure 2: Capacity marking tag (white) on reinforced synthetic web sling
Figure 2: Capacity marking tag (white) on reinforced synthetic web sling.


Potential Hazards:

Failure of slings due to broken stitching, perforations, burns, abrasion, cuts, overloading, improper storage and use, environmental conditions and chemical deterioration may result in serious accidents.


Requirements and Example Solutions:
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Wire Rope and Wire-Rope Slings
Figure 3: Ends of wire rope sling covered with compression fittings
Figure 3: Ends of wire rope sling covered with compression fittings.

Figure 4: Correct way to apply U-bolts to form an eye in wire rope
Figure 4: Correct way to apply U-bolts to form an eye in wire rope.

Figure 5: Illustrations of damaged wire rope
Figure 5: Illustrations of damaged wire rope.

Figure 6: Inspection of chain slings
Figure 6: Inspection of chain slings.

Figure 7: Diagram showing types of wire rope damage
Figure 7: Diagram showing types of wire rope damage.

Potential Hazards:

Failure of slings due to broken wires, kinking, crushing, bird caging, overloading, improper storage and use and environmental conditions may result in serious accidents.


Requirements and Example Solutions:
  • The safe working load of wire rope and wire rope slings must not be exceeded. [29 CFR 1915.112(b)(1)]
    • Wire-rope slings do not require identification tags.
    • To determine the rating, the size and type of rope must be known.
  • Protruding ends of strands in splices on slings and bridles must be covered or blunted. [29 CFR 1915.112(b)(2)]
  • Where U-bolt wire rope clips are used to form eyes:
    • Number and and spacing of clips must be in accordance with Table G-6 of 29 CFR 1915.118. [29 CFR 1915.112(b)(3)]
    • The U-bolt must be applied so that the "U" section is in contact with the dead end of the rope. [29 CFR 1915.112(b)(3)]
      • "Never saddle a dead horse." -- Rigging Industry common phrase.
  • Wire rope must not be secured by knots. [29 CFR 1915.112(b)(4)]
  • Safe operating temperatures must not be exceeded. [29 CFR 1910.184(f)(3)]
  • Wire rope slings must be immediately removed from service if any of the following conditions are present: (See Figure 6.)
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Chains and Chain Slings
Figure 8: Chain slings used to attach vessel section to crane's wire-rope slings
Figure 8: Chain slings used to attach vessel section to crane's wire-rope slings.

Figure 9: Proper use and connection of chain and wire-rope slings with shackles
Figure 9: Proper use and connection of chain and wire-rope slings with shackles.

Figure 10: Wire rope sling inspection tag Figure 10: Wire rope sling inspection tag.


Potential Hazards:

Failure of chains and chain slings are typically due to overloading, sharp edges, environmental deterioration, and exposure to heat (for example, from electrical arc, welding, and cutting torches). Use of damaged chains and chain slings may result in serious accidents.


Requirements and Example Solutions:
Additional Resources:
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