Contributed by Bob Kozickie, Technical Sales Support Manager

Alloy steel chain slings are the most durable products used for lifting and rigging. So, why do alloy chain slings fail? Every year we read and hear stories of catastrophic chain sling breaks. When these failures happen, the broken sling components are then sent back to the sling manufacturer or an independent third party for detailed examination, testing, and laboratory analysis. The resulting failure analysis report frequently comes back to one of a short list of conclusions. We will take a look at some of the most common reasons that these incidents occur.

The first reason to look at why a chain sling failure occurs is due to failure to inspect. OSHA 1910.184 states that alloy steel chain slings shall be inspected on a daily basis by a competent person as designated by the employer. Employers are also required to have a documented written inspection for every alloy chain sling at intervals not greater than once every 12 months. These records must also be made available for examination. Chain sling inspections may be required to be inspected on a more frequent basis depending on frequency of use, the severity of service conditions, and the nature of lifts being made. Inspections detect sling component areas where the criteria for removal are noted. Alloy chain slings that have remained in service for extended period of time without being thoroughly inspected are most susceptible to failure.

Ensuring that a Lift Plan, Risk Assessment, and Load Control are followed will significantly reduce the possibility of a chain sling failure. A qualified or certified rigger knows the specific information they need to have in order to properly and safely lift their loads. The key facts are the weight of the load, number and locations of the attachment poi