Brad recently asked the following question in response to a blog post The Low-Down on Chain Tie-Downs:
“I wrote to my distributor and inquired about chain tags. Their representative replied that all they had in stock were CHAIN TAGS even though they listed CHAIN and SLING tags made by CM.
They sent me their part number for what I think is a sling tag. Is it okay to use that tag for my Grade 100 chains that I’m using as tie downs? They are not slings, just chains. As I understand it, my Grade 100 chains have to be labeled to prevent a Grade 30 rating by roadside inspectors. Your advice would be appreciated!”
Henry Brozyna, our Technical Instructor responds:
Thanks for reaching out to us on your question about chain ID tags.
When you contacted your distributor, they automatically assumed that the tag you requested was for a sling (either Grade 80 or 100), which is what prompted them to send you a sling tag. Slings must always be tagged; tie-downs do not.
Inspectors rely on the embossing on the chain to indicate the grade of that tie-down as well as to determine its working load limit. The standard states, that if the embossing is not legible, then the inspector will use the minimum grade for that chain size, which will be Grade 30.
For example: A driver knows his chains are Grade 80. He is using the appropriate number of tie-downs to properly secure the load. At roadside inspection, if the inspector cannot find any legible embossing on the chain, he will apply the Grade 30 rating. With that, the tie-downs can no longer be used. Now, the load does not have sufficient tie-downs to safely secure it during transport.
As for tags, the standard does not require them on tie-down chain, and it would be left to the discretion of the inspector to determine if it’s an acceptable substitution.
Why take the risk? The grade should be legible on the chain if it is being used. If the embossed grade is worn down, the chain should be replaced.