As we continue to pioneer the advancement of industry best practices below-the-hook, Danny Bishop reiterates the importance of pre-use inspection.

Most riggers are aware of the need to inspect their slings and rigging hardware every day, before and during their use, which is sometimes called the in-service or frequent inspection. And riggers are normally aware of the need for a thorough inspection, which is sometimes called the periodic inspection, that is required by many standards a minimum of once per year.

However, there is a critical inspection that is often overlooked or ignored by many companies in the various material handling industries, called the initial inspection.

What is the initial inspection?

Using language paraphrased from the ASME B30.26 Rigging Hardware and ASME B30.9 sling standard, it is an inspection done by a designated person before use of any new, altered, modified, or repaired sling or rigging hardware.

Think about it, if you ordered new slings or rigging hardware, wouldn’t you want to ensure you received the right product, with the required product identification on the sling or rigging hardware, and make sure it has no defects? You’d also want to ensure it functions properly before you make it a permanent part of your rigging inventory or release it for use in the field.

If the product was altered, modified, or repaired (assuming the manufacturer allows such alterations), ASME states that a qualified person must first inspect the sling or rigging hardware to verify it does not constitute a hazard when used.

To take the subject even farther, I would also recommend companies require an initial inspection be performed whenever slings or rigging gear are relocated from one job site to another. Don’t assume that someone at the last job site inspected the rigging equipment after its last use. You don’t want to risk putting defective equipment back into service.

Consider: what if the sling was overloaded and damaged during its last use? What if the shackle’s working load limit is no longer valid due to wear, modification, cracks, nicks, or sharp gouges? It’s dangerous to assume your coworkers shipped you equipment in pristine condition. Take an extra couple of minutes to perform a visual inspection upon receipt. Lives and loads are at stake!

What are you looking for in this initial inspection?

It is not the purpose of this article to address what the rejection criteria would be for every type of sling or rigging hardware that is available for sale. However, it is safe to say that you would be looking for obvious defects; wrong equipment for the job; equipment that does not match what was ordered; unauthorized modifications; slings or hardware that are not properly identified, such as missing tags, missing capacity or rated load identification, name or trademark of manufacturer; etc.…

It’s a chilling thought that ongoing oversights in this area suggest that there are slings and rigging hardware in use right now, perhaps even on your site, that may not be fit for service.

In closing let me throw out a few “did you know” type of questions.

Did you know?

  • Written records of the initial inspection are required per B30.9 for alloy chain and metal mesh slings? And the inspection record must include the condition of each individual sling? Written records are not required when conducting the initial inspection for wire rope and synthetic slings.
  • OSHA 1926.1412 (b)(1) also addresses the need for an Initial Inspection on the crane load hook after a repair or adjustment of equipment.
  • Lifting Equipment Engineers Association (LEEA), a well-respected organization located in the UK, in their Code of Practice for the Safe Use of Lifting Equipment, Section, provides very useful information on the requirements for the inspection of lifting equipment before it is used for the first time.

This is a mere overview of the importance of, and requirement for, initial inspection. See OSHA and ASME or your applicable standard in your area of the world for full details.

Rig safe!
– Danny

Danny’s Rigging Den is a blog series written by Danny Bishop, Crosby’s corporate director of value added training.