Author: Henry Brozyna

Henry Brozyna is a Product Trainer specializing in Rigging & Load Securement for Columbus McKinnon Corporation.
Chain Sling Wear and Stretch: Are They the Same?

Chain Sling Wear and Stretch: Are They the Same?

chain sling wearFrédéric, a mechanical engineer for the auxiliary equipment unit of a Canadian public utility company and recent safety webinar attendee, asked the following question about chain sling wear:

“You said a sling should be removed from service if it stretches. But, you also said that 10% of wear is permissible. Does this mean that a stretch of 5 to 10% should be ok, because wear will make the sling stretch (the reach will increase)?”

Henry Brozyna, CMCO trainer and safety webinar presenter, answers:

Chain sling wear and stretch are two different things and both will make the sling length increase. So, it is sometimes difficult to differentiate between the two.

chain sling wear
An example of unacceptable chain wear
chain sling wear
An example of stretched/elongated chain

Wear will show itself at the bearing points of the links and can exhibit itself in the bearing points of the chain as a groove. A certain amount of wear is permissible and that will happen over time. Check with the manufacturer to see how much wear they allow.

Stretch or elongation are clear signs of overloading.  As such, ASME B30.9 Slings lists stretched chain links or components as one of the reasons a chain sling shall be removed from service. The word “shall” in a standard resolves any doubt.  No stretch or elongation is allowable. 

Want to learn more? View our recent safety webinar!

Additional Reference:

Understanding the Difference Between Chain Grades and How They’re Used

Henry Brozyna
Henry Brozyna is a Product Trainer specializing in Rigging & Load Securement for Columbus McKinnon Corporation.
When Your Chain Sling Tag is Missing

When Your Chain Sling Tag is Missing

chain sling tagNorris, a CMCO distributor sales representative, and recent safety webinar attendee, asked the following question about chain sling inspection:

If the tag is missing upon inspection, can the chain sling be retagged for service without knowing the original sling length?

Henry Brozyna, CMCO trainer and safety webinar presenter, answers:

No. If the chain sling tag is missing, there is no way an inspector can verify the true length of the sling, which is required for checking to ensure the sling has not been elongated.

When the frequent or pre-use inspections are being done by the rigger, it should have been communicated that the tag was in bad shape. This way, a new tag could have been made available while the original one was still in place.

Want to learn more? View our recent safety webinar!

Additional reference:  Missing Chain Sling ID Tags: Who is to Blame?

Henry Brozyna
Henry Brozyna is a Product Trainer specializing in Rigging & Load Securement for Columbus McKinnon Corporation.
Shackle Inspection Checklist: Six Items to Inspect Before Use

Shackle Inspection Checklist: Six Items to Inspect Before Use

Improper use or care of shackles can result in serious accidents that not only injure employees but damage property as well. To avoid this, shackle inspection is critical. In accordance with ASME B30.26, shackles should be visually inspected before every use.

If any of these six conditions are apparent during shackle inspection, the shackle should be discarded and replaced.

Condition 1:

Any part of the shackle is worn more than 10 percent of the original dimensions. If this happens, it typically means that the physical size of the shackle is smaller, therefore it cannot handle the rated load and becomes dangerous to use.

shackle inspection
Example of a Worn Shackle

Condition 2:

The shackle has excessive pitting, corrosion, nicks or gouges. If a shackle has excessive pitting, that is usually a sign of corrosion. When this happens, material is being lost and the shackle dimensionally becomes smaller. Therefore, it cannot handle its rated capacity. Similarly, nicks and gouges are an intrusion on the original dimensions of the shackle and create a stress raiser on the shackle. Material is moved or removed from the shackle, making it smaller in size and unable to handle the rated load.

Condition 3:

Load bearing components are bent, twisted, distorted, stretched, elongated, cracked or broken.

shackle inspection
Example of a Bent Shackle

Condition 4:

Indication of heat damage. When shackles are manufactured, they go through a heat treatment process. Therefore, being exposed to heat in the field can reverse that process and weaken the shackle. Heat damage can be difficult to see, but there are a few key items to look for:

  • Blue or straw discoloration of the shackle material
  • Weld spatter. When weld spatter lands on the shackle, the heat from that molten dot of metal is immediately transferred to the shackle, changing the properties of that shackle.

Condition 5:

Missing or illegible manufacturer’s name or trademark, working load limit or size. Every CM shackle is forged with the CM logo, its body or diameter size, trace code, USA, “Forged” and its specified working load limit. These markings should be visible on the shackle.

Condition 6:

Load pins are bent or have visibly damaged threads. When load pins are bent, the pin has gone past its elastic limit. If the product continues to be used, there is a higher chance of a dropped load, which can injure operators and cause property damage. Damaged threads mean that the pin is not making 100% engagement with the shackle. This can lead to a failure of the shackle.

For more information on shackle inspection and safe shackle use, check out the following:

Nine Important Rules to Follow When Using Shackles
Shackle Markings, Materials, and Appropriate Standards
New CM Shackle Markings and Pins Lead to Improved Operator Safety
Customer Concerns over Recommended Shackle Pin Length

Henry Brozyna
Henry Brozyna is a Product Trainer specializing in Rigging & Load Securement for Columbus McKinnon Corporation.
Load Securement: Don’t Take it for Granted

Load Securement: Don’t Take it for Granted

load securementIn many cases, the importance of tying down a load on or in a truck is underestimated. It’s interesting to talk to trucking people and find out that they are very in tune with what is expected of them with regards to the vehicle they drive and the maintenance of that vehicle. But when it comes to tie downs and load securement, they usually fall short.

Securing loads in and on trucks is very important – not just to the driver, but to their customer and most importantly the general public.

Good tie downs go a long way to ensure cargo being hauled on a truck stays on the truck.

A pre-use inspection of the tie downs must be done to ensure the working load limit (WLL) of that tie down is intact. All tie downs have markings to indicate what grade they are or they will be marked with a working load limit. The higher the grade, the stronger the product – as you typically see with chain. Grade 30 is the lowest grade and is not as strong as say, grade 70 or grade 80.

During a roadside inspection by law enforcement, they will look for these markings. If they cannot find any, they will automatically rate the tie down as grade 30, the lowest option. This derating may cause him/her to take you and your vehicle out of service due to lack of adequate tie downs. Therefore, it may be helpful to conduct a pre-use inspection, per the manufacturer’s specifications, to ensure the proper type and number of chain tie downs is used.

Straps need attention too.

The condition of synthetic straps is one of the most overlooked load securement items. When straps are purchased, the manufacturer assigns a working load limit. That WLL is for straps that are intact and undamaged. This is where a pre-use inspection is needed. Straps that have damage in excess of the manufacturer’s specifications must be removed from service.

Take time to check your load securement equipment.

All too often we are in a hurry to get from one place to another. This is usually when we take chances and cut corners. This is also the time that an accident is most likely to happen. It is important to take extra time to make sure the equipment you want to use is in good condition and meets the requirements for use as a load securement device.

Want to learn more? View our Safety Webinar on “Selecting & Using Tie Downs & Binders.”

Henry Brozyna
Henry Brozyna is a Product Trainer specializing in Rigging & Load Securement for Columbus McKinnon Corporation.
Understanding the Difference between Chain Grades and How They’re Used

Understanding the Difference between Chain Grades and How They’re Used

chain grades
Chain has been around for over a thousand years. It is one of the most versatile and reliable ways to lift, tension and tie down materials in a variety of applications. In the past, people would use any type of chain to lift something, tie down a load or tow a vehicle. Proper inspection, safety procedures and general standards of practice for chain were lacking.

In recent years, due to safety concerns and regulations, the industry has begun to differentiate between various materials and grades of chain and the specific applications they should be used for. ASTM (American Society of Testing & Materials), ASME (American Society of Mechanical Engineers) and OSHA (Occupational Safety & Health Administration) began to publish safety standards and regulations for the manufacturing, testing, use, inspection and repair of chain.

Chain Grades

One of the safety measures implemented was to place chain in Grades based on the ultimate breaking strength of that chain. This number is what we see today G30, G43, G70, G80 & G100 and the common chain grades. The number after each letter is N/mm2. For example, G80 means that the maximum stress on the chain at ultimate strength is 800 newtons per millimeter squared.

Working Load Limit (WLL) of Chain

The other safety measure was identifying which types of chain are appropriate and strong enough for overhead lifting. Anytime we move or lift a load it is dangerous. Moving a load along the ground has the advantage that the ground is supporting the load. We have to overcome the coefficient of friction to move the load. The chain’s working load limit does not have to match the weight of the load. It needs to be able to handle the tension applied, which is based on the surface that it is being moved over plus some fraction of the weight of the load. This can be calculated using formulas.

If we lift that same load off the ground, we now have to overcome gravity. The chain’s working load limit will have to be of sufficient strength to support the weight of the load plus any additional forces imposed by angles and hitch type(s) used.

Which Chain Grade Should Be Used for Which Type of Application?

Alloy Chain Grade 80 or Grade 100 should be used for overhead lifting. ASTM states that alloy chain shall be able to elongate a minimum of 20% before fracture (7.3.5). To ensure that alloy chain consistently meets this requirement, ASTM requires the use of certain alloying elements in the manufacturing of the steel for alloy steel chain. These alloys can vary from company to company, but some key requirements are specified by ASTM. The alloy properties also improve the wear and tear that the chain will experience.  Note that when chain is in use, no amount of stretch is allowed.

Carbon Grade 70 chain is a “heat treated” carbon steel chain that has no alloying elements added to the steel. This chain will elongate before breaking but does not have the properties needed for overhead lifting; therefore, Grade 70 chain is not intended for overhead lifting. This chain is designed for use as a tie down chain or lashing for transportation. Grade 70 chain has a gold chromate finish to help resist corrosion from continuous exposure to the elements and the rigors of highway use, such as road salts in the winter.

When any type of overhead lifting is required, use only alloy chain slings unless specified by the manufacturer.

The preferred chain for load securement is Grade 70, but any grade of chain can be used for tie downs or tensioning. You have to know your tensions in order to select the proper chain. Refer to load securement safety standards FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration), CVSA (Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance), WSTDA (Web Sling Tie down Association) or the state regulations for more information.

Training is key in knowing how to properly size and use any type of chain for any application. Learn more about Columbus McKinnon training programs.

Watch our Safety Webinar on Load Securement.

Henry Brozyna
Henry Brozyna is a Product Trainer specializing in Rigging & Load Securement for Columbus McKinnon Corporation.
OSHA update: Facts about Current Sling Regulations

OSHA update: Facts about Current Sling Regulations

February 19, 2015  Today, we are posting updates to this blog article on sling regulations originally posted in 2011. This article continues to be one of our most visited, and we feel it our duty to keep this very important safety information up to date.

sling regulationssling regulations

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has the following regulations for slings:

  • 1910.184 (general industry)
  • 1915.122
  • 1915.113
  • 1915.118 (for shipyard employment)
  • 1926.251 (construction)

Effective June 8, 2011, all slings, chain, synthetic & wire rope, are required to have identification tags/labels permanently attached to them. This sling regulation applies to slings sold and used in the United States.

Historically, companies did not require wire rope slings to have permanently affixed identification tags/labels on them; it was not required per OSHA 1910.184. This has since changed. Tags/labels are now required.

Also, original load capacity tables found in the OSHA standards were based on information found in ASME B30.9 dating back to 1971.  New tables reflect the current industry standards for working load limits for slings, chain, and synthetic or wire rope.

Changes include:

  • All load charts for slings have been updated to current industry standards.
  • All slings, regardless if made of chain, wire rope or synthetic, must be marked with a tag/label. Now only properly tagged/labeled slings can be used.
  • Slings with detached tags/labels must be removed from service until new tags/labels can be permanently reattached.

To view the OSHA changes made in 2011 in its entirety or to download a copy click here.

For information on rigging training, please click here

Henry Brozyna
Henry Brozyna is a Product Trainer specializing in Rigging & Load Securement for Columbus McKinnon Corporation.
Advantages of Lifting with Chain Slings vs. Synthetic Slings

Advantages of Lifting with Chain Slings vs. Synthetic Slings

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Overhead Lifting Slings are generally used in conjunction with a crane, powered hoist, manual or lever hoist or some type of lifting device. There are numerous types of materials used for building overhead lifting slings – each with specific advantages and disadvantages – including:

  • Chain
  • Wire rope
  • Synthetics
  • Metal mesh.

Understand the Application Before You Spec a Sling
Before you select a sling it is important to fully understand the application and gather specific information on how the sling will be used. When choosing a sling, you must know the weight, center of gravity, number of attachment points for a balanced lift, sling angles, reach, upper and lower fittings and ambient conditions. Communicate or obtain as much background information as you can about the load being lifted, then decide what type of sling works best. This will help ensure you choose the right sling material and configuration for the task at hand.

Alloy Steel Chain: Recommended by ASME, NACM & OHSA
When using chain slings, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), the National Association of Chain Manufacturers (NACM), and the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) recommend only the use of alloy steel chain for overhead lifting. Grades 63, 80 and 100 are the alloy steel chains used throughout the industry. They contain elements that give them their unique strength, abrasion resistance, durability and toughness. Per ASTM Standards, alloy chain slings must have the ability to elongate at least 20% when overloaded in order to have a visual indicator to the rigger that the sling is overloaded. Once any stretch is discovered, the chain sling must be removed from service. Synthetics do not have any such indicators as standard.

Advantages of Chain slings versus Synthetic slings

Durability:

  • Resists impact, cuts and abrasions
  • Resistant to chemicals and UV radiation
  • Can be used in oily or dirty environments
  • Can be used at higher temperatures range -40oF thru 400oF with not reduction of WLL (synthetic slings can be used in temperatures no higher than 194oF)
  • Minimum elongation when lifting or tensioning
  • Long service life compared to synthetic slings

Versatility:

  • Easily adjustable (synthetic slings cannot be adjusted and therefore are often used incorrectly)
  • Can be constructed in the field

Inspection & Maintenance:

  • Easy to inspect
  • Completely reparable (cannot repair load bearing fibers in synthetic slings)

139 Years of Chain & Forging Know-How
Columbus McKinnon’s chain manufacturing roots date back to the 1800’s. We hold patents for chain and chain link design as well as the chain manufacturing processes, which help ensure our chain is the strongest and most reliable chain on the market today. We also invented the first alloy chain in 1933 – the forerunner to our industry-changing Herc-Alloy® 800 and 100 chains. In addition to chain, we also manufacture a variety of dual-rated hooks, links, sub-assemblies and other attachments that complement our chain offering.

For additional information on the safe and proper use of chain slings, check out our Safety Webinar on Chain Sling Inspection.

Henry Brozyna
Henry Brozyna is a Product Trainer specializing in Rigging & Load Securement for Columbus McKinnon Corporation.
The Low-down on Chain Tie-Downs

The Low-down on Chain Tie-Downs

Chain Tie-Downs
Chain has been used by people to pull, fasten and pick things up for over 2000 years. The form of chain has not changed much over the years, whereas the manufacturing of chain has. With the modern advances in metallurgy and manufacturing techniques, chain is a much better quality today. During these advances we have come to realize that we can control the quality of chain. Even though all chain has the basic same shape it does not mean all chain has the same properties. For example, we have several grades of chain; 30, 43, 70, 80 & 100. Each grade has different properties.

Understanding the Different Grades of Chain

Grade 80 & 100 chains are manufactured with alloys that allow them to stretch or elongate. This visible deformation alerts the operator that the chain must be removed from service. Alloy chains are designed for overhead lifting. The lower grades (30, 43 & 70) are carbon chain designed for pulling, agricultural & load securement applications. These grades are not designed for overhead lifting.

Determining a Chain’s Grade, Size and WLL

The best way to know what grade of chain you have is to look on the links themselves. Each chain link should be embossed with the grade, size & manufacturer’s name. All manufactured chain should have these markings, which will allow the user to determine the working load limit (WLL) of the chain.
WLL charts are available from the US D.O.T. or the chain manufacturer. Columbus McKinnon offers an online WLL calculator here.

Chain Tie-Downs

Using Chain as Tie-Downs

The one thing all of these chains have in common is that all can be used as tie-downs. The majority of chain used for tie-downs is Grade 70, also known as transport chain. It is easily recognized because of the gold colored plating which distinguishes it from other chains; however, we recommend that the operator verify the grade by its embossed identification.

A Typical Application for Chain Tie-Downs

Let’s say Phil picks up a load and uses the tie-downs he has had on his truck for years. When he purchased them new they were Grade 70, 3/8” chain with a WLL of 6,600lbs. Over time the plating has worn off and the embossing has become illegible, but Phil knows what the tie-downs are. So Phil finishes securing his load and starts down the highway. He drives for a few hundred miles and pulls into a truck inspection station, confident he has the proper size and number of tie-downs for the load he is carrying.

The inspection is going well until the inspector starts looking at the load and the securement. The markings on the chain are not legible so he uses the Grade 30 WLL rating for 3/8” chain. This is less than half of what Grade 70 3/8” chain is rated for. Phil argues that the chains are Grade 70 but the inspector can only go by what he has in front of him and has to grade them as Grade 30. Citing it as a lower grade chain reduces the WLL below what is required for Phil’s load.

According to Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) 393.108d, if the marks are not visible or not legible the inspector will consider this tie-down to be the lowest grade (Grade 30). This reduction in grade can result in taking you out of service and possibly a citation.

When it’s all said and done, let’s be safe.

Make sure that the tie-downs you are using are the proper size and grade for your load, are clearly identified as such, and are not damaged or deformed. After all the tie-downs do not belong to your customer, they belong to you. If you’re not sure whether to use 4 or 5 tie-downs, use 5 — the worst case scenario is that you’ll have more rather than less.

It’s Always Good to Get Trained

Whether you’re a road-hardened veteran or new to the industry, we encourage you to get properly trained on how to use & inspect load securement equipment, and stay up to date on regulations and requirements. As an additional resource, check out our Load Securement Safety Webinar.

Henry Brozyna
Henry Brozyna is a Product Trainer specializing in Rigging & Load Securement for Columbus McKinnon Corporation.
Wrap-up from the Recent WSTDA Meeting

Wrap-up from the Recent WSTDA Meeting

wstda-logo1 I recently attended the spring meeting of the WSTDA, (Web Sling Tie Down Association) in Fort Myers, FL. The meeting was comprised of web sling & tie down manufacturers, distributors & end users, a typical cross-section of its membership. Here are some of the highlights:

WSTDA Performs its Own Testing

One of the interesting things about the WSTDA is they will conduct their own testing. Samples are anonymously supplied to the testing committee, marked X, Y, Z & set up for testing. The results are shared by the committee with the membership at these meetings. The important thing about the results is that they guide the committees in formulating an industry recommendation. These recommendations are very important because the FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration) can use them to potentially sideline a truck for improper tie downs or OSHA can use them to cite a company for improper use of a sling. There are currently a number of these types of tests taking place; we anticipate that the results will be distributed at a future meeting.

Role of the WSTDA Committee

Over the years materials and the way things are done have changed. Therefore, some of the previous recommendations that WSTDA has made need to be updated. This is another issue that the various committees take on –  the updating of WSTDA’s recommendations.

Synthetic slings are being used more & more and are being asked to lift ever-increasing capacities. This is why this organization is so very important. The WSTDA, based on their testing results, will print recommendations that other organizations, such as ASME, CVSA & FMCSA will reference.

Newly-Developed Load Binders Used With Chain Tie Downs Standard Released

The WSTDA is pleased to announce the recent publication of its newly-developed Recommended Standard Specification for Load Binders Used With Chain Tie Downs. The standard applies to load binders designed to accommodate chain tie downs for the purpose of securing cargo. This standard recommends construction as well as identification and marking of these load binders. In addition, it gives important practical advice on use, maintenance and inspection of these binders.

The WSTDA is a non-profit, technical association dedicated to the development and promotion of voluntary recommended standards and associated reference materials. Members of the WSTDA include manufacturers and suppliers of synthetic web slings and tie downs, polyester roundslings, synthetic webbing, fibers, thread and related components.

For more information, contact WSTDA at (443) 640-1070 or www.wstda.com

Henry Brozyna
Henry Brozyna is a Product Trainer specializing in Rigging & Load Securement for Columbus McKinnon Corporation.
Shouldered Eyebolts for Material Handling

Shouldered Eyebolts for Material Handling

Eye bolt Eyebolts are safe to use if used properly.

I have seen the misuse of eyebolts in every walk of life –  industrial, recreational & residential – and it is frightening. I have seen eyebolts used in rigging applications, carrying large loads, being used incorrectly; they are sometimes used on pick-up trucks as attachments for safety chains on trailers.

Very easily acquired, most eyebolts can be purchased at local hardware stores. Often overlooked is the working load limit (WLL) and the angle at which the eyebolt will be loaded. This will be the angle at which the load will exert tension on the eyebolt in relationship to the threaded shaft.

The angle is very critical.

During a true straight vertical pull inline with the threaded shaft, there is no reduction in WLL. Once you start to deviate from “True Vertical” (see chart below) the WLL decreases dramatically.
Eyebolts

The other item that people neglect is the orientation of the eye itself to the line of tension.

The eye needs to be in the line of pull. Whatever sling medium you use, the sling leg needs to be parallel to the eye of the eyebolt.

When installing an eyebolt in a tapped hole be sure that the thread engagement is at least 1-1/2 times the bolt diameter of the eyebolt. Also, when using shouldered eyebolts, make certain that the shoulder is in complete contact with the surface being lifted. Non-shouldered eyebolts are NOT to be used for angular lifts (Ref. ASME B30.26)

Hoist rings are an alternative to eyebolts in that hoist rings can swivel 360o without losing any working load limit, allowing the bail of the hoist ring to be in line with the line of tension. Check back in a couple of weeks for a follow-up post on hoist rings!

eyebolts
eyebolts
eyebolts

Want to learn more? View our recent safety webinar:
Safe Use of Lift Points: Eyebolts, Swivel Hoist Rings & Clamps.”

Henry Brozyna
Henry Brozyna is a Product Trainer specializing in Rigging & Load Securement for Columbus McKinnon Corporation.