OSHA requirements are set by statute, standards and regulations. Our interpretation letters explain these requirements and how they apply to particular circumstances, but they cannot create additional employer obligations. This letter constitutes OSHA's interpretation of the requirements discussed. Note that our enforcement guidance may be affected by changes to OSHA rules. Also, from time to time we update our guidance in response to new information. To keep apprised of such developments, you can consult OSHA's website at https://www.osha.gov.

March 18, 1994

Mr. Michael G. Wyckoff
United Technologies--USBI
Chief, Operations Engineering
Mechanical Section, Mail Code USB-OE
P.O. Box 21212
Kennedy Space Center, Florida 32815

Dear Mr. Wyckoff:

Thank you for your inquiry of January 4, requesting clarification of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standards at 29 CFR 1910.184(f)(5) which gives removal from service criteria for wire rope slings. We apologize for the delay in response.

The OSHA standards at 29 CFR 1910.184(f)(5)(i) and 29 CFR 1910.184(f)(5)(ii) require wire rope slings to be removed from service immediately when the following conditions are found:

(i) Ten randomly distributed broken wires in one rope lay, or five broken wires in one strand in one rope lay.

(ii) Wear and scraping of one-third the original diameter of outside individual wires.

Compliance with 29 CFR 1910.184(f)(5)(i) is determined by inspection of the rope sling.

The following method may be used to determine whether the wire rope sling must be removed from service as required by 29 CFR 1910.184(f)(5)(ii). The outside individual wires are not separated from the wire rope to make them available for measuring. To measure the wear or scraping of one-third the original diameter must be measured with a micrometer at the worn or scraped area and compared to the original diameter of whole wire rope. If the difference of this measurement is equal to, or more than, one-third the original diameter of an individual outside wire, the wire rope sling must be removed from service.

OSHA will allow a wire rope to be left in service with respect to a pass/fail gage measurement if the difference between the original diameter of the whole wire rope and a pass/fail gage OD failed measurement is less than one-third the original diameter of the outside individual wire.

Slings and all fastenings and attachments must be inspected for damage or defects each day before being used by a competent person designated by employer. Where service conditions warrant, additional inspections must be performed during sling use. Damaged or defective slings must be immediately removed from service.

We appreciate your interest in employee safety and health. If we can be or further assistance, please do not hesitate to contact us.


H. Berrien Zettler, Director
Directorate of Compliance programs