Alloy Chain Sling Inspection

July 29, 2016


When called upon to perform a chain sling inspection, there are many points that need to be considered during the inspection.  Below are several pointers to assist in the performance of that inspection.  Keep in mind that OSHA requires at least an annual inspection of all slings and records must be kept on this as well as for all slings.

-You should have plenty of light to assure good visibility and sufficient room to lay out the chain or be able to hang the chain for measuring the length of the chain’s reach (from bearing point to bearing point.)  Two people would make this process easier to measure and mark the records accordingly.

-In accordance with OSHA, there must be a permanently attached tag identifying the chain sling as to size, grade, reach, WLL.  In addition you may need the sling card record to identify the style (SGG, SOS, CO etc.) if not also shown on the tag.   If no tag is on the assembly, it is considered out of service since there is no method of identifying it as to what it is supposed to be.  It may have been modified and not re-tagged or may have had a ‘field repair’ to keep in service.  Either way, it is no longer a valid sling without the tag.

-Once you have found the chain sling tag, measure the chain sling to assure the size/grade and reach are all per the tag’s information.  If not, then the chain sling should be removed from service.  If the information is per the tag’s markings, then continue to do a conditional inspection.  Assure the chain and fittings are adequate for the size/grade of chain.

-Look for any twisted, bent, nicked, gouged or deformed links.  Be sure there are no signs of excessive wear on the outside of the links (as if having been dragged for prolonged periods of time) or on the inside of the links where each link joins the next link as this is a major point of hinge wear for all chain.  Also be sure to check for signs of exposure to heat, caustic solutions and weld spatter as these can all effect alloy chain and fittings.  All the fittings should move/hinge freely and should not have difficulty in moving as needed.  Stretched/elongated links indicate an overload has occurred.  This would be a cause for removal as well.  Inspections of the fittings are also critical as they are fully engaged with the chain and its overall function.  Many of the same elements apply to these as are used for the chain inspection.

-Twist or bent fittings, nicks, cracks, cuts/gouges, excess wear, deformations, distortion, heat exposure and illegible markings are all cause for potential failure and reasonable grounds for removal from service.  While OSHA has some ‘wiggle room’ for hook distortions, we feel ANY bent fittings are grounds for removal from service…SOMETHING caused that hook to twist or open and it was most likely an overload…would you want to stand near a loaded sling with a bent hook?  We wouldn’t either.

Again these are just highlights for sling inspections.  OSHA states that:

“The thorough inspection of alloy steel chain slings shall be performed by a competent person designated by the employer, and shall include a through inspection for wear, defective welds, deformation and increase in length.  Where such defects or deterioration are present, the sling shall be immediately removed from service.”