GUIDANCE ON SAFE SLING USE
OSHA has not updated its sling standards to recognize newer types of slings or slings made from newer materials. Pursuant to the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSH Act), employers must comply with hazard-specific safety and health standards as issued and enforced either by OSHA or by an OSHA-approved State Plan. In addition, Section 5(a)(1) of the OSH Act, the General Duty Clause, requires employers to provide their employees with a workplace free from recognized, serious hazards that are not addressed by an OSHA standard. Employers can be cited for violating the General Duty Clause if there is a recognized hazard and they do not take reasonable steps to prevent or correct the hazard. Failure to implement an OSHA recommendation is not, in itself, a violation of the General Duty Clause. Citations can be based only on standards, regulations, or the General Duty Clause.
This Guidance on Safe Sling Use is advisory in nature and informational in content and is intended to provide information on the safe use of slings. It is not a standard or a regulation, and it creates no new legal obligations. Nor does it alter the existing compliance obligations set forth in the relevant OSHA standards. (See, however, the discussion of OSHA's de minimis policy in this document under the heading What OSHA Standards Apply?)