Many businesses rely on moving heavy, bulky materials and equipment. This is where specialized tools for lifting come in handy. Material handling is an integral part of several industries, making safety protocols just as essential to those industries. Mishandling equipment can cost businesses time and money, but most importantly, it can be deadly. Human error and mishandling is the most common cause of injury and damage in the workplace.
Common Lifting Equipment
The most common lifting equipment used in workshops, warehouses, and factories are cranes, derricks, hoists, conveyors, and powered industrial trucks.
Slings are typically considered the most common material utilized for handling equipment. Hoists, cranes, and derricks all rely on slings to suspend loads. It’s imperative to understand safe sling operations and OSHA regulations to reduce risks to employees, products, and property.
First and foremost, it is imperative to have a good crane operator. A good crane operator can save lives and money and substantially extend the working life of the machine. An operator must always demonstrate intelligence, common sense, and care. Operators must choose tools based on the job’s specifics, so the operator is responsible for selecting the workplace’s type, size, and conditions. The operator must also inspect slings visually before each use to ensure effectiveness.
There are various types of slings, each utilized for different uses and different jobs. Slings can be broken into the following categories:
- Metal mesh
- Wire rope
- Natural fiber rope
- Synthetic web
- Synthetic fiber rope
The slings categories can be divided into three groups: chain, fiber rope web, and wire rope/mesh. Each group has specific characteristics, which come with advantages and disadvantages. To select the appropriate sling for your particular job or project, consider the following factors:
- Environmental conditions
- Fragility of materials
- Common weight of loads
- Operation temperature
Chains are typically utilized because they have high strengths compared to other options. Chains easily conform to the specific shape of the loads. Chains are also perfect if the load being lifted has a high temperature. The disadvantage of chains is that it is essential to avoid sudden shocks. The sudden shocks can cause significant damage.
Steel chains should be inspected before use for signs of stretching, nicks, gouges, and excessive wear to ensure safety. These are telltale signs that the sling is in a compromised state.
Wire ropes are also extremely popular slings. Wire ropes are made up of several different wires that are wrapped and twisted to form strong strands. Depending on the specific characteristics necessary for the job, different types of cores are built into the rope. For example, a fiber core inside wire rope is typically more flexible but less resistant to environmental corrosion. Wire rope strand cores are strong and can withstand higher heat.
Fiber Ropes and Synthetic Webs
Fiber ropes and synthetic webs are usually used for temporary work. Worksites typically include construction, marine operations, and painting jobs. They also work great for expensive loads with highly finished parts, delicate equipment, or fragile parts. However, fiber ropes can quickly deteriorate when exposed to caustics or acids. Synthetic material’s unique characteristics should be considered, and the manufacturer’s instructions should be followed.
Pick the Right Rigging Supplies
Picking the right rigging supplies is imperative to the safety and material handling. It is the critical first step to ensure workers, materials, equipment, and facilities are safe. At Silver State Wire Rope and Rigging, safety is our top priority. Contact us today to find out which rigging supplies are best for your project.