Understanding and Safely Using Soft Lifting Equipment: A Comprehensive Guide

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The foundation of safe and effective lifting operations lies in the selection of the right lifting equipment. The two broad categories of lifting equipment, namely hard and soft, each have their unique attributes and applicability. This article emphasizes soft lifting equipment, elaborating on its characteristics, utility, specific types, and safety considerations.

Understanding Soft Lifting Equipment

Soft lifting equipment, designed to handle delicate goods without causing damage, plays a crucial role in various lifting scenarios. This equipment is especially adept at securely gripping loads during lifting operations and exhibits a remarkable degree of flexibility in attachment methods. 

Round slings, webbing slings, and eye-eye webbing slings exemplify the versatility of soft lifting equipment, and they can operate independently or alongside Grade 80 and Grade 100 hard lifting equipment.

An essential aspect of soft lifting devices is the adherence to harmonized standards under the European Machinery Directive, ensuring quality and safety. This compliance is evident in the color-coding system for denoting the maximum working load limit (WLL), simplifying equipment selection, and ensuring optimal load management.

Detailed Overview of Specific Soft Lifting Equipment

Round slings, integral to soft lifting equipment, come in two variants: with or without a side seam. Side-seamed slings offer stiffness that facilitates loading operations, such as sliding under a pallet. On the other hand, seamless slings have a softer texture that allows broader contact surfaces.

CE-marked lifting slings carry a mark of quality and safety. The CE marking certifies that the equipment meets the European Machinery Directive, ensuring its reliability in lifting operations.

Moreover, lifting slings marked with EN 1492-1 or -2 conform to these European norms. They not only adhere to stringent testing and quality requirements but also come with a color-coding system for easy identification of WLL.

Guidelines for Using Soft Lifting Equipment

Safety is paramount when using soft lifting equipment. Users should ensure that the equipment doesn’t suffer abrasion from sharp edges, avoid sudden jerks that can induce frictional damage, and verify that the lifting equipment’s inner radius is at least equal to the width of the webbing.

An understanding of the WLL is essential. The WLL is the maximum load that the lifting device can safely lift, suspend, or lower. The specific application of the sling can increase or decrease this limit, emphasizing the need for an accurate calculation.

Signs for Replacement of Soft Lifting Equipment

Equipment inspection and timely replacement contribute significantly to safety. For round slings, a comprehensive examination to check for internal irregularities, protective fabric damage, or illegible labels is necessary. Any observed damage calls for immediate replacement.

Webbing slings and eye-eye webbing slings require checks on seam integrity and label legibility. Equipment showing signs of wear on eye protection, edge damage, or transverse damage to the webbing should be discarded.

Guidelines for Safe Lifting

Forankra’s guidelines for safe lifting serve as a valuable resource for users. They highlight important factors to ensure safe lifting scenarios. It’s crucial to remember that every piece of lifting equipment comes with its unique set of operating instructions. Understanding and adhering to these measures play a critical role in maintaining a safe working environment.