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The Pro Rigger: ASME B30.9 Slings - Documented Inspections

By: Mike Parnell
Tel: 360-225-1100
Email Mr. Parnell

Website: iti.com/

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I keep running into folks who have questions about the ASME requirement for "documented" sling inspections. Most alarming to me is that a misconception has arisen that has caused some facility owners to simply "retire" their synthetic web slings and synthetic roundslings in order to avoid having to perform a falsely assumed "documented" inspection; e.g. single record for each single sling.

The easy thing to remember is that the "repairable" slings are those that must have a documented inspection at least every 12 months. There are two sling types that fall into the truly "repairable" category; alloy chain slings and metal mesh slings. These two sling types are required to have serial numbers on their identification, making them easier to trace during inspection events and repair activities.

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The other four sling types (wire rope slings, synthetic rope slings, synthetic web slings and synthetic roundslings) also must have a periodic (annual) inspection; however recording the event of the inspection is all that is necessary to meet the guideline. This recording method can be something as simple as a notation on the sling tag, an entry into the rigging "maintenance log", an entry in the facility "maintenance log", or as accounted for by employee time/task cards. The employer can make a note in their file that says something like, "On this date xx/xx/xx, Bill Jones and Sherrie Smith inspected all of the web slings on our property. Out of 320 web slings inspected they rejected 18 because of damage. The other slings remained in service." There are no requirements for these 4 sling types to have unique serial numbers, so their traceability is impossible. Thus, individual records for the four types of slings in this category are not required.

1) According to both the 2006 and 2010 ASME B30.9 revisions, individual records were and still are required for the following two sling types:

Alloy Chain Slings

2006 version

9-1.9.3 Periodic Inspection(d) A written record of the most recent periodic inspection shall be maintained and shall include the condition of the sling.

2010 version

9-1.9.3 Periodic Inspection(d) A written record of the most recent periodic inspection shall be maintained and shall include the condition of the sling.

Metal Mesh Slings

2006 version

9-3.9.3 Periodic Inspection(d) A written record of the most recent periodic inspection shall be maintained and shall include the condition of the sling.

2010 version

9-3.9.3 Periodic Inspection(d) A written record of the most recent periodic inspection shall be maintained and shall include the condition of the sling.

2) In the 2006 and 2010 revisions of ASME B30.9 individual records were not and are not currently required for the four sling types listed below. Note that the "periodic inspection" is what's documented, not the individual sling inspection.

Wire Rope Slings

2006 version

9-2.9.3 Periodic Inspection(d) A written record of the most recent periodic inspection shall be maintained.

2010 version

9-2.9.3 Periodic Inspection

(d) Documentation that the most recent periodic inspection was performed and shall be maintained.

(e) Inspection records of individual slings are not required.

Synthetic Rope Slings

2006 version

9-4.9.3 Periodic Inspection(d) A written record of the most recent periodic inspection shall be maintained.

2010 version

9-4.9.3 Periodic Inspection

(d) Documentation that the most recent periodic inspection was performed and shall be maintained.

(e) Inspection records of individual slings are not required.

Synthetic Webbing Slings

2006 version

9-5.9.3 Periodic Inspection(d) A written record of the most recent periodic inspection shall be maintained.

2010 version

9-5.9.3 Periodic Inspection

(d) Documentation that the most recent periodic inspection was performed and shall be maintained.

(e) Inspection records of individual slings are not required.

Synthetic Roundslings

2006 version

9-6.9.3 Periodic Inspection(d) A written record of the most recent periodic inspection shall be maintained.

2010 version

9-6.9.3 Periodic Inspection

(d) Documentation that the most recent periodic inspection was performed and shall be maintained.

(e) Inspection records of individual slings are not required.

The wording has changed slightly from the 2006 version to the 2010 issue of B30.9, however the guidance has not changed. I hope this helps employers avoid wasting money by throwing out perfectly good slings.

A final comment about repairable slings. If you have read the ASME B30.9 Slings volume, you may have noticed that there is an allowance for repairing synthetic web slings. In 33 years I have heard of this happening one time. Two 4-ply slings were initially rigged to lift a yacht and while tensioning the rigging, an outer layer of one sling was severely chaffed. The sling owner sent it back to the original manufacturer and they sewed another layer onto the sling, proof tested it, labeled it accordingly and returned it. The sling had "approximately" the same "elasticity" which helped ensure that all plies would accept loading in the lifting process. It was a risk that the sling manufacturer accepted. In most cases, manufacturers won't attempt the repair of a web sling because impacted dirt and grit will break a sewing needle; also there is a huge difference in the elastic range of used webbing versus new. A repair of this type could run $200 plus proof testing and relabeling which might cost $75. At the end of the day, the sling's true "strength" is in question, and it might cost much more than the sling is worth. And don't forget, that this sling type is not required to be serial numbered unless requested by the purchaser, so traceability is nearly impossible. A traceable serial number provides "file" information like: the webbing manufacturer, the thread manufacturer, the sewer's name, the date of fabrication, etc. ITI does not recommend the repair of synthetic web slings. Too much can go wrong, and it will likely never achieve a true 5:1 design factor after the repair, even though the manufacturer has proof tested it.


Mike Parnell, CEO of Industrial Training International, has over 33 years of experience in the Crane & Rigging Industry. His background includes the design and implementation of crane and rigging operations and training activities, rigging design, OSHA-based inspection programs, accident investigation, development of custom load-moving techniques and training tools, and the development of customized test services. He currently serves as a board member of the Association of Crane & Rigging Professionals, Vice Chair of ASME B30 Main Committee, and Chair of ASME P30 Lift Planning Committee.

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