In the lifting and rigging industry, ensuring the safety and longevity of equipment is paramount. Synthetic slings, known for their versatility and strength, are crucial in various lifting operations. However, their proper maintenance and regular inspection are vital to guarantee safety and optimal performance. This guide will delve into our Know How outlining the best practices for maintaining and inspecting synthetic slings to ensure their reliability and longevity.

Understanding Synthetic Slings
Synthetic slings are constructed from nylon, polyester, or polypropylene, offering remarkable flexibility and strength. Despite their durability, these slings require proactive maintenance and periodic inspection to mitigate potential wear, tear, and environmental risks. 

Maintenance Practices

Cleaning: Start by cleaning the slings after each use. Remove dirt, debris, or chemical residue that might compromise their integrity. Use mild soap, water and a damp sponge to clean the sling gently, then allow it to air dry. Every 4-6 months you can wash your slings in a washing machine. The water temperature should be no more than 40°C, and a mild, soapy detergent will be ideal. After washing, allow the sling to dry naturally in a warm environment (room temperature) away from direct sunlight before use.

Regular Inspections: Perform regular visual inspections before each use. Look for signs of wear, cuts, abrasions, burns or any other damage that might compromise the sling's strength. Pay attention to stitching, edges and load-bearing areas. Australian standards AS 4997:2018 (Synthetic round slings) and AS1353.1 (Webslings) state that periodic inspections SHALL be performed no less than every three months by a competent person.

Storage: When not used, slings should be stored in clean, dry and well-ventilated conditions, away from direct sunlight, moisture, fumes, chemicals or extreme temperatures. Hanging them on a rack or placing them on a pallet can prevent damage from prolonged contact with the ground. Slings that have become wet during the washing process or as a result of cleaning should be hung up and allowed to dry naturally before further use.

Avoiding Chemical Exposure: Synthetic slings can be susceptible to damage from chemicals, acids or other corrosive substances. Avoid contact with such materials to maintain the sling's strength and integrity.

 Inspection Procedures

Visual Inspection: Conduct a thorough visual examination of the entire sling, checking for any visible damage or irregularities. If any damage is detected, remove the sling from service immediately.

Tactile Inspection: Run your fingers along the sling's surface to detect any snags, abrasions or inconsistencies that may not be visible. Pay attention to changes in texture or stiffness.

Measurement Inspection: Use callipers or a tape measure to check the sling's width, ensuring it matches its original specifications. Any significant deviation could indicate damage or wear.

Manufacturer Guidelines: Always follow the manufacturer's guidelines for inspection frequency and retirement criteria. Understand the recommended lifespan of the sling and adhere to it.

Synthetic slings are invaluable in lifting and rigging operations, but proper maintenance ensures safety and reliability. Implementing routine maintenance practices and adhering to stringent inspection procedures optimises the lifespan and performance of synthetic slings, contributing to a safer work environment.

Qualified personnel should conduct these inspections, and slings showing signs of wear or damage should be removed from service immediately. Remember, the safety of your lifting operations depends on the condition of your equipment, and maintaining synthetic slings is a crucial aspect of a secure working environment.

Contact CERTEX Lifting to arrange your synthetic sling inspections!

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