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 31, 2010

Letter # 20070702-7826:

Re: Padded slings/wire rope during steel erection.

Question: Must wire rope slings be padded or protected during steel erection activities?

Answer: There are two construction standard provisions that are relevant to this question. In 29 CFR 1926 Subpart R, section 1926.753(c)(2) states:

A qualified rigger (a rigger who is also a qualified person) shall inspect the rigging prior to each shift in accordance with §1926.251. [Emphasis added].

29 CFR 1926.251(c)(9) addresses the need for padding/protection when using wire rope slings; it states:

Slings shall be padded or protected from the sharp edges of their loads.

The qualified rigger must therefore ensure that where wire rope rigging is used in steel erection activities, it is padded or protected from sharp edges of loads in accordance with section 251(c)(9). For example, during steel erection activities, whenever wire rope slings are used on steel members that have sharp edges, they must be padded or protected.

Bill Parsons, Acting Director
Directorate of Construction